Our fifth annual Albuquerque Cultural Conference, “Crossing Borders: Personal, Regional, International,” will convene on September 28-30, 2012, at Harwood Art Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
As we confront modern life’s economic and ecological strains, we need to continually redefine the borders that make up our personal, physical and cultural landscapes. What can we do to change our world as cultural workers performers, activists and interpreters? We think the answer lies in remapping the way we impact our communities, our region, and our nation.
For instance, in the Southwest, events of the last several years–restriction of immigration and curtailing the education of Mexican Americans in the public schools–highlight a long-standing problem: who “belongs” in this country and what kind of civilization do “we” think we are?
We’ve said this before: “We can work on turning the culture around, promoting free and full expression, involving everyone in community life, dealing with stress and trauma that diminishes us daily, finding personal and social resilience, improving our social and educational environment, making the spoken arts a public forum again, and recapturing our historical cultures as well.”
This year we’re embracing these challenges with heightened intensity. We’re focusing on current events, including the attempts of Arizona politicians to shut down Mexican American Studies in Tucson. We’ve already participated in Librotraficante, the “smuggling” of books back into the hands of the students there.
In broader ways as well, we’ll “reoccupy” the social and cultural landscape around us–taking back what’s ours in the first place, through community action, the revival of the public arts, the protection of labor rights and democracy, the pursuit of environmental justice, and individual contributions to the common good. We’ll revisit the role of political reformers in the heartland and artists who have contributed to social and cultural awareness.
Finally, we’ll look at the hospitality and mutual understanding that should exist among cultures for the betterment of all. As much as borders remain, they need to be better understood in social and cultural terms: pride in who we are combined with freedom of expression.
Our conference membership includes educators, organizers, performers, and authors such as Margaret Randall, Roberto “Cintli” Rodriguez, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Margo Tamez, Michelle Otero, Kamala Platt, Michael Henson, and Anya Achtenberg. We expect others: In past years, artists and performers have included Joy Harjo, Linda Hogan, and Simon Ortiz. We hope you can join us for a dedicated weekend of sharing all our ideas for more meaningful cultural and community work.
Join us! Come to the Albuquerque Cultural Conference to help us confront the challenges ahead. Learn more about the Conference and our performers and presenters and what Conference goers are saying about the upcoming events and contribute to our pre-conference discussion.