Participation in Art and Education: Arts, Dying & Grief

Tuesday 12 December 2023, 15:30 - 17:30 hrs.
AHK Culture Club
Kattenburgerstraat 5
1018 JA Amsterdam

Beeld: Links: Camille Sapara Burton, Foto: Jane Lam @lapchingphotos; Rechts: Staci Bu Shea

Sprekers: Staci Bu Shea & Camille Sapara Barton
This lecture will be English spoken

Part 1 – Camille Sapara Barton
"In the Western world, grief is currently a taboo—something hidden, isolated and privatized from public space. However, in many indigenous and cultural contexts in the “global south” collective, embodied rituals are used to tend grief regularly. Given the collective loss and uncertainty we have faced since the pandemic, it is important to find ways to tend to grief so that we can be present with our emotions, reduce stagnation and cultivate the capacity to share our gifts with the world, to support the web of life. The Dagara elders Malidoma Somé and Sobonfu Somé shared a framework for tending to grief that can be supportive in these times. The Dagara approach, and their own lived experience of grief, inspired Camille Sapara Barton to write The GEN Grief Toolkit and Tending Grief: Embodied Rituals for Holding Our Sorrow and Growing Cultures of Care in Community (2024). Given that artists are tasked with representing the landscape of society, it is beneficial on a personal and professional level to engage with grief tending."

Camille Sapara Barton is a Social Imagineer who operates as a catalyst for social change, dedicated to creating networks of care and liveable futures. They work as an artist, facilitator, consultant and curator across the realms of embodied social justice, grief, pleasure and drug policy.

Rooted in Black feminism, ecology and harm reduction, Camille uses creativity, alongside embodied practices, to create culture change in fields ranging from psychedelic assisted therapy to arts education.

In 2022, Camille launched The GEN Grief Toolkit - a collection of embodied grief rituals to support personal and community grief work. They are currently based in Amsterdam, where they recently finished working as the Director of Ecologies of Transformation; a temporary masters programme at Sandberg Institute, researching how art making and embodiment can create social change.

Part 2 – Staci Bu Shea
For this presentation, Staci Bu Shea shares about their long term project Dying Livingly, a heightened period of study within the first few years of Bu Shea's holistic death care practice. The project manifests in a forthcoming publication (Sternberg Press, 2024) as a series of propositions and encounters, yearning and undone, in service to an aesthetic and poetic experience of living life led by death. Dying Livingly focuses on the material cultures and sociality of end of life spaces and reaches toward a future of compassionate, community-centered death care.

Staci Bu Shea (b. Miami, 1988) is a curator, writer, and holistic death care worker based in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Broadly, Bu Shea focuses on aesthetic and poetic practices of social reproduction and care work, as well as its manifestations in interpersonal relationships and daily life, community organizing and institutional practice. Their debut publication Dying Livingly is released with Sternberg Press in 2024. They currently teach at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague. Bu Shea was curator at Casco Art Institute: Working for the Commons (Utrecht, 2017-2022). With Carmel Curtis, they co-curated Barbara Hammer: Evidentiary Bodies at Leslie Lohman Museum of Art (New York City, 2017). Bu Shea holds an MA from the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College (2016).