"From the Clemente Classroom: 100-Word Stories on Breathing While Black" Reading

Friday, April 22, 6-7:30pm | Free in gallery & Livestreamed

Students from the Bard College Clemente Course for the Humanities read from their class publication "From the Clemente Classroom: 100-Word Stories on Breathing While Black".

This collection of writing by students in the Bard College Clemente Course for the Humanities, Springfield came to be from an assignment in the Fall of 2021 Critical Thinking and Writing class. Pandemic restrictions required creative ways to engage with local cultural resources as part of the broader Clemente mission to support students learning how they are part of, relate to, and therefore can more fully participate in their communities. The assignment was to write a 100 word story in response to the “Breathing While Black” Digital Exhibition at the UMass Amherst Augusta Savage Gallery, which itself is part of the gallery’s 2020-21 theme Healing Bodies.

Clemente students took up the challenge to pen short responses to the exhibition with inspiring energy and passion, demonstrating the exhibit’s urgency in its dramatic expression of Black life through the pandemic and through the violence of systemic racism. The authors in this collection learned how to take their work through the full range of steps in the writing process, from generative writing, to revision, to copyediting and even recitation, all before they were printed in the publication you see before you. The diversity of voices, perspectives, styles, and aesthetic choices herein showcases the critical importance of the Clemente program as not only an education, but as a community of lifelong learners, writers, and cultural voices.

The call to write a response to the art exhibit, which then becomes its own artwork, helps us recognize how art belongs to all of us.

Anna-Claire Steffen
Instructor, Critical Thinking & Writing