Art Sustainability Activism Series Panel - Archives of the Future

Thursday, October 6, 4 p.m.
Bromery Center for the Arts Lobby

Art Sustainability Activism: Archives of the Future is an interdisciplinary series devoted to illuminating ecological crises through the lens of science and art. Archives of the Future marks the fourth annual collaboration between the Fine Arts Center, MFA for Poets and Writers, and the School of Earth & Sustainability and includes readings, panels, discussions, and community engagement.  

Join us at the panel for this meeting of minds working at the intersection of climate change, literature, and social justice. Panelists include Larisa FastHorse and Michael John Garcés, Abigail Chabitnoy, with climate expert Julie Brigham-Grette and Emmalie Dropkin moderating.




Larissa FastHorse photo by Kevin Michael Campbell Larissa FastHorse
Larissa FastHorse of the Sicangu (see-CHAHN-ghoo) Lakota Nation is a 2020 MacArthur Fellow, award winning writer and choreographer, and co-founder of Indigenous Direction, the nation’s leading consulting company for Indigenous arts and audiences.  Her satirical comedy, The Thanksgiving Play, is one of the top ten most produced plays in America this season. She is the first Native American playwright in the history of American theater on that list.

Over the past several years Larissa has created a nationally recognized trilogy of community engaged plays with Cornerstone Theater Company. The first was Urban Rez, a work that emerged through collaboration with community members and explored the battle for tribal recognition and land. The second project, Native Nation, was the largest Indigenous theater production in the history of American theater with over 400 Native artists involved in the productions in association with ASU Gammage. Her current project, The L/D/Nakota Project is set in Larissa’s homelands of South Dakota. Her radical inclusion process with Indigenous tribes has been honored with prestigious national arts funding.

Larissa is currently in development as the creator for projects with Apple TV, Taylor Made Productions, Echo Lake, and another NBC project. Her many honors include the PEN/Laura Pels Theater Award for an American Playwright and the NEA Distinguished New Play Development Grant. She lives in Santa Monica with her husband, the sculptor Edd Hogan.


Michael John Garcés photo by Kevin Michael Campbell Michael John Garcés
Michael has been a Cornerstone ensemble member since 2006 and has directed plays for the company including Native Nation and Urban Rez. He has also written, developed, and directed works for Cornerstone and other theaters, among them Consequence, out of story circles with students, teachers, administrators and parents in South Kern County and Los Illegals, created in residence with day laborers and domestic workers.

His full-length plays include south, THE WEB, points of departure, customs and Acts of Mercy; as well as a solo performance, agua ardiente which ran Off-Broadway at The American Place Theatre as part of "Dreaming in Cuban.”

Michael is a recipient of the 2020 Doris Duke Artist Award, the Princess Grace Statue, and the Alan Schneider Director Award, among others and is a proud alumnus of New Dramatists. He serves as executive vice president of the executive board of SDC, the theatrical union for stage directors and choreographers.

Abigail Chabitnoy Abigail Chabitnoy
Poet Abigail Chabitnoy’s stunning new work, In the Current Where Drowning Is Beautiful, is a meditation on water, land, women, and violent environmental changes as they affect both the natural world and human migration. In praise, poet Lisa Olstein wrote of her new book, “This remarkable book undertakes a kind of geological exploration of the hidden-in-plain-sight strata making up the world around us and our lives within it." Abigail is a Koniag descendant and member of the Tangirnaq (Tah-NEER-nik) Native Village in Kodiak, Alaska. She is newly an Assistant Professor in the UMass MFA for Poets and Writers.

Julie Brigham-Grette Julie Brigham-Grette
Julie Brigham-Grette, a professor in the UMass Department of Geosciences, is a glacial geologist who has been conducting research in the Arctic for 40 years, including nine field seasons in remote parts of northeast Russia. Most of her research program is aimed at documenting the global context of paleoenvironmental change across “Beringia”, also known as the Bering Land Bridge, stretching across the western Arctic from Alaska and the Yukon into northeast Russia including the adjacent seas.

Her research interests and experience span the broad spectrum of arctic marine and terrestrial paleoclimate records dealing with the Late Cenozoic to recent evolution of the Arctic climate. She most recently co-led the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program at Lake El’gygytgyn (El-guh-git-gin) in northeast Russia collecting a record of Arctic change over the past 3.6 million years, with both international and local collaborators. She has also been involved in the development of sea ice proxies and the sea ice history of the Bering Strait Region of the western Arctic. Most recently she has turned to public engagement, using science to inform policy on coastal management challenges with rising sea levels


Emmalie DropkinEmmalie Dropkin
Emmalie Dropkin is a fiction writer, teacher, and activist. Her work blends speculative and literary traditions to explore human responses to the climate emergency and has appeared in The Massachusetts Review, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Electric Lit,  and the Kaaterskill Basin Literary Journal. Emmalie is coeditor of Strange Attractors: Lives Changed by Chance, released in 2019 by the University of Massachusetts Press. She has taught creative writing and composition through the lens of the environmental humanities, and she serves as a VIDA Gender Count Coordinator for VIDA: Women in Literary Arts and a coordinator for Extinction Rebellion Western Massachusetts. By day she is the Director of Data, Planning, and Evaluation for Head Start and Early Learning Programs at Community Action Pioneer Valley. She lives in western Massachusetts with a dog and a cat who have finally learned to get along. 

Emmalie received the 2018 LeeAnne Smith White Prize for lyric writing on topics including “place, landscape, the environment, and issues of identity,” was nominated for the 2016 PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers, and was awarded a fellowship to the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley.

Before pursuing graduate work in creative writing, Emmalie worked in federal policy and advocacy for early childhood education and taught elementary and middle school special education in the Baltimore City Public Schools. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from UMass Amherst, a Certificate in Mind, Brain, and Teaching from Johns Hopkins University, an MA in Leadership and Teaching from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland, and a BA in English with a Creative Writing Concentration from Amherst College.

Emmalie is represented by Danya Kukafka of Trellis Literary Management.