Erin Washington thinks a lot about lineages as a descendant and as a future ancestor. As an artist and educator based in Atlanta, Erin recognizes her relatives who participated in the Montgomery bus boycott and supported her creative ambitions by taking her to auditions. She also recognizes her spiritual, creative ancestors like Audre Lorde who paved the way for later generations of Black artists and thinkers.
At Fractured Atlas, we think a lot about the structures that govern our interactions with one another; the structures that determine who gets decision-making power in a group, and who is accountable to whom.
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Change is hard, including institutional change. And it’s especially in the arts and nonprofit worlds. There is risk aversion, inertia, and the fact that racism and capitalist brutality are features and not bugs.
Before I really entered the workforce, I assumed that the people I worked with would all be my best, most lifelong friends. Without realizing it, I had assumed that my coworkers would begin to form my core social group as I got older. That hasn’t actually happened to me, but I know why I thought it would.
For organizations and institutions that are on the long, and never-ending path towards anti-racism, there are a lot of fronts to work on. To increase equity, diversity, and inclusion, workplaces can and should consider everything from hiring to working conditions to benefits to meeting structures, and more.
Since 2014, Wikitongues has worked to preserve languages at risk of extinction and to revitalize languages that are falling out of use and out of prominence all over the world. The team behind Wikitongues affirms linguistic sovereignty as our global cultural right.
It’s not that we don’t know what the problems are with institutions like nonprofits, companies, museums, and more. The longer we are involved with them, it’s not hard to see which ones are too white and which have too much power concentrated at the top. It’s easy to see which institutions function based on burnout and underpaying entry-level employees, employ toxic communication strategies and leave staff with no room for growth.
As this year comes to a close, we’re reflecting on the writing we’ve shared and the conversations we’ve had on the blog. We’ve shared resources that we’ve read and our own journey towards becoming a more anti-racist organization through strategies like caucusing over the years. This year, BLM protests in the wake of George Floyd’s murder sparked a new urgency to these conversations and wider interest in having them (especially in the arts).
Right now, many workplaces are reckoning with ways that systemic racism shows up in their industry and in their work cultures. Companies and organizations made big statements over the summer about becoming more anti-racist and some are still dedicated to doing that work. We’re doing that at Fractured Atlas, too. One of the ways that Fractured Atlas has upped the ante on our own dedication to anti-racism in the arts and in workplace design is by offering consulting to other workplaces
Language in "These Unprecedented Times” The protests ignited by George Floyd’s murder are still going strong as the public demands changes to the systems of the past that have perpetuated injustices. Artists have played a large role in this movement. This isn’t new. Artists have always been integral to social justice movements. From Emory Douglas’ drawings that are now widely associated with the Black Panther Party to the three queer Chinese American performance artists (Kitty Tsui, Merle Woo, and Canyon Sam) that started the Unbound Feet Collective moving Asian American feminism forward. Artists can affect great change.