Blog – Albuquerque Cultural Conference Wed, 15 Oct 2014 00:39:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Sustainability Resources Sat, 28 Sep 2013 09:06:01 +0000 For those of you interested in finding more resources around sustainability, either local to NM or nationally/internationally, here’s a good starting place. I’ve compiled several places I’ve worked with or learned about in the last five years into the following downloadable PDF.

Sustainability Resources

Here are the slide presentations from both the composting/gardening workshop hosted by Myra Reed and the upcycling/repurposing workshop hosted by yours truly. The PDF versions are the same slides found in the Visual Presentations with the same name.

Community Gardens Patio Composting Keyhole Gardens Presentation Seed2Need Schedule Community Gardens_Patio Composting_Keyhole Gardens FINAL_1

Community Gardens Patio Composting Keyhole Gardens PDF FINAL

Seed2Need Gardening Schedule

Sustainable Practices Workshop Part 1 Repurposing Presentation

Sustainable Practices Workshop Part 2 Upcycling Presentation

Sustainable Practices Workshop Part 1 Repurposing PDF

Sustainable Practices Workshop Part 2 Upcycling PDF

Please utilize these and share them with other people. Spread the info & educate others.


August 9, 2013 Planning Meeting Thu, 15 Aug 2013 18:11:46 +0000 Our first August meeting was especially productive. Although we look for more people to attend our meetings, our meeting Friday was especially lively with lots of ideas discussed. Shauna, Amanda, Leslie and John were there along with Christine Garcia and Erika Wurth. Erika agreed to read during the conference’s Saturday night performance and generously offered to bring a few of her books of poetry for sale with all the proceeds going to the conference. She believes Marianne Broyles will do the same and will contact her to confirm. Christine has agreed to be the liaison between the conference and UNM. She’ll approach instructors in a few departments to offer students extra credit for attending all or part of the conference panel discussions and subsequently writing reflections of their experiences. Instructors may have other ideas, of course, to involve their students in the conference weekend. Christine also knows UNM students who perform hip-hop and will ask them to be among the performers Saturday night. We’ll continue looking for ways to involve students in the conference by contacting other University instructors connected with our program.

We spent time discussing prices for the conference. It was generally agreed that students be asked a suggested donation of five dollars to attend a single day and ten dollars for the weekend, but not be required to pay. We considered offering group rates for classes attending as a whole (as with previous conferences, no one will be turned away). Regarding general admission, the consensus was to ask for donations of $25 for the entire weekend and $15 per day with a smaller donation for a panel. We will also advertise the option to volunteer for the conference, and perhaps for another community minded organization. The amount of time volunteered would dictate how much of the conference would be offered without payment. Shauna agreed to determine the best way to phrase all the price options. The cost of the Friday night performance remains at $10 with the price lowered at the door for those who can’t afford $10 (as in the past, no one will be turned away, but this is regarded as a paid event for the general public.)

It was agreed lunch would be a potluck. In keeping with the conference’s overall theme of la cultura, people will be asked to bring a dish with some significance to their family and/or community. Amanda agreed to oversee the potluck with assistance from Shauna, and will ask Flying Star to provide coffee and pastries for Saturday as she has for the past 3 years.

We discussed inviting storytellers to the conference as part of la cultura, but didn’t decide how they would participate. Having storytellers during the day for people to hear if they’re not interested in a panel or workshop would be great, but asking them to perform during the day rather than scheduling performances is disrespectful. We didn’t decide whether to include storytelling at the conference and how include them if invited.

John reported on the Friday night performance. The lineup of poets is set for the most part. We are planning three musical performances and are contacting musicians and a band for both Friday and Saturday nights. Akusua continues to develop the Saturday night performance at the Harwood. The format will include poetry and performances from invited performers followed by an open mic, intermission, and poetry and a second round of the same activity (attendees will sign up for open mic at the door upon entrance and at the intermission). She continues to contact poets and performers for the night and has an impressive lineup in the works.

June 21, 2013 Planning Meeting Fri, 12 Jul 2013 16:53:29 +0000 Our planning meeting in June looked a little different with new committee members attending. Kati O’Donnell, Akusua Akoto and Bill Nevins came and stimulated conversation about where the conference might be held–South Broadway Cultural Center, Harwood Art Center. Due to considerations of time, money, and familiarity with the Harwood, we decided to keep the conference there.

In keeping with the plan for our new Conference Schedule, we discussed preferring local panelists and performers to people outside the area. We briefly discussed the Saturday night performance, including music, venue, performers. Leslie and Akusua met later to discuss the performance, and John and Leslie asked Akusua to be in charge of the arrangements. Kati O’Donnell held our feet to the fire and made us think about “pathways to the core issues(s)” of each panel discussion. She also reminded us that interpreters must be included in the panel discussions (and workshops) if we want people living with the issues we plan to address in the panel discussions to attend the conference. She reminded us that people who don’t speak English or speak very little will have no reason to attend the conference.

We held several individual meetings outside the committee meeting, due in part to scheduling issues  with some of the participants. John met with Carlos to discuss performance arrangements. Both Leslie and John discussed aspects of organizing the conference with other participants on the telephone and in emails. John will soon meet with Irene and others to continue the discussion.

April 20, 2013 Planning Conference Notes Fri, 12 Jul 2013 15:20:52 +0000 Our Albuquerque Cultural Conference planning conference was held April 20, 2013.

Among the ideas discussed at the meeting, Levi Romero discussed la cultura, which he said includes food, land, water, and community issues along with what is generally considered “culture”—paintings, dance, music, theater and other performances. As a result we are providing time for conference goers to know each other, reducing the number of panels and allowing more time between panels, workshops, etc., and holding a pot luck dinner Saturday night so people can share a favorite dish followed by a poetry reading with music and performances.

Michele Welsing came from Los Angeles where she is Communications Director for the Southern California Library. She told us about programs at the Library including a book project written in part by members of gangs in the area. Michele encouraged us to look closely at our Conference mission and goals for the weekend. We also discussed briefly the topics for our 2013 Conference and how local and regional cultural and community groups would contribute.

Following our April 20 Albuquerque Cultural Conference meeting we’ve pulled together ideas for further planning. Here’s what we’ve come up with.

Title, place date of the conference: “Protecting, Preserving, Promoting Our Common Culture.” At Harwood Art Center, September 28-29, 2013.

Structure: This year we’re expanding our panel discussions by adding a workshop to follow each panel and including storytelling, music and food/meals in a much more meaningful manner.


  1. Sustainability of our common culture. Moderator to be determined. Workshop, Shauna Osborn.
  2. Education under siege. Moderator, Irene Vasquez. Workshop, Michele Welsing
  3. Artists and Activists. Moderator, Maria Gallegos. Workshop moderator to be determined.



ABQ Conference 2012 in my blog Sun, 07 Oct 2012 00:41:04 +0000 I’ve written about this year’s Albuquerque Cultural Conference in my blog A Burning Patience. The conference was pretty intense as usual (in a good way), and great as always to connect with friends I don’t see often, and to meet a few new friends.

My blogpost is here: if you want to take a look.


Education and Gentrification–Where Do We Go From Here? Tue, 02 Oct 2012 06:03:49 +0000 Talking about the educational institutions and their connections to the people they serve is always difficult. Problems stem from the role that the individuals play (or the ways that an individual has a connection) to those institutions. This is the same when discussing gentrification. How a person connects to the neighborhood/area mentioned brings problems to the discussion. The level of power and authority of a person, the investment (monetarily or emotionally) that someone has in the outcome, and the role a person feels they have to play in the discussion all make a difference in how the conversation begins. Not to mention what path the conversation takes once it starts.

Many of the current problems in New Mexico education stem from the division between community needs and what those local educational institutions are prepared (or allowed) to give them. I would argue this is a larger, systemic problem in education as well–not specific to NM. It is easier to point to local examples and practices in order to create a more robust picture of how these issues are systemic though. Much like when talking about gentrification. The process of gentrification is systemic as well, but it’s most easily noticeable when looking at the changes that have occurred in the neighborhoods you are familiar with and the changes brought particularly to your front door. This is not the only connection between gentrification and education though. The most glaring connection between these two topics is the role cultural hegemony should play in the conversations we have on both.

When we talk about educational institutions, education policy,  and education workers, we rarely mention the cultural hegemony that is a part of how each of these sections are assumed to work. We rarely mention the class and ethnic barriers that are a part of the foundation of institutional education as it functions today. That is, until stories like the axing of entire cultural educational programs show up in the news. If nothing else, we can thank the Tucson  Unified School District and Arizona law for bringing  these conversations to the forefront nationally.  [Of course, our conversations outside of Tucson are doing very little to help the students and teachers affected by these changes right now.  Our actions, on the other hand, can and do. Support their efforts in any way you can. That’s the difference between spouting theory and praxis.] And, more often than not, when smaller actions are taken (the banning of books by administration, the lack of availability of courses students/teachers have requested, or the refusal to renew the contracts of certain teachers because of their “radical” teaching methods) there are no news stories. You’ll be lucky if most of the members of that school district are even aware of what happened.

This is true of gentrification as well. We rarely talk about how cultural hegemony works within the process of gentrification, although the process itself is inherently one of cultural and social environment change. We talk about the local businesses that are affected when a large corporate store moves into an area, but we don’t talk about the cultural hegemony that large corporate store supports with its existence. Yes, you may be able to find piloncillo at the corporate store in the “ethnic foods” section. What about a good pan dulce? Not likely–unless they’ve hired a local person that has lived in the area for years in the bakery and given the baker the freedom to create the items they wish. We talk about the demolishing or renovations of older houses that is always a part of gentrification. We don’t talk about the diaspora a 60-year-old couple experience when they are forced to leave their home because they can no longer afford the property taxes in their area. Or the indignation a First Nations person may feel when told by the homeowner association they were forced to join (or their new neighbors along the block) that they cannot paint their home in tribal colors because it will decrease property values.

The process of gentrification also affects the educational conversation thoroughly.  The community that specific educational institutions serve changes due to gentrification. It may even displace the existing educational institutions for that area. The needs of community members, which should be forefront in any conversation about education, change with the community at large. This process often leaves many individuals and their needs lost in that traffic. Going beyond the individual, many educational institutions in New Mexico are lost in the process of educational policies and legislation written by individuals and governing bodies which have little knowledge about the communities those particular institutions serve.

The problem of explaining the reasons behind high dropout rates in poor local communities and poor states is the same problem of explaining the difficulties brought to local neighborhoods by developers bringing higher cost housing into the area. And depending on the authority and power you hold when speaking, the gender you embody during the conversation, the level of investment you have placed in the elements of the conversation, the ethnic and racial background you embody, and the role you are allowed to play in the overall space of the conversation, the conclusion of the conversation will change. The only irreparable damage you can do is by staying silent for too long.


Day 2 of Conference Mon, 01 Oct 2012 04:02:47 +0000 Today is the final day of this year’s conference. Lots of talk about education happening–with panels like Can Tuscon Happen Here?, Cosmopolitanism, Education for Freedom, and discussions about Poets in the Schools in the Slam panel around, it would be a hard topic to avoid. The institutions of education, new educational policies, controversies, community ed programs, and alternative education are being discussed from several different angles. While a distillation of opinions and these discussions would be highly desirable, after walking amongst conference attendees today I’d be hard pressed to find a consensus. I can safely say it’s a topic we all feel strongly about and most of us are working hard to strengthen and improve the educational opportunities available in our communities. I’m letting all this talk marinate–seeing what flavors become strongest. More later…

Day 1 of the conference Sun, 30 Sep 2012 16:00:52 +0000

Run to Phoenix-button

There was a lot of excitement in the air at the Harwood yesterday. Highlights for me included hearing Roberto Rodriguez talk about running with his students from Tucson to Phoenix in 115 degree weather to protest HB 2281, which bans ethnic studies in Arizona. This run inspired others, called barrio runs, that activists – adults and youth – have used to raise awareness about issues such as obesity and domestic violence. Roberto also shared a poster with an image that will stay with me for a long time. It shows a brown child being checked with a metal detector for weapons by a white police officer before a Tucson Unified School District board meeting. The officer is bending way over because the child he is frisking is so small.

It was interesting to hear panelists’ experiences over the decades with living near and crossing the border and how much it has changed. A tension presented itself between the desire to dissolve borders and the need to keep and respect them. A lot of the people who were talking about the situation in Tucson and the militarization of the Mexican-American border seemed to feel like the borders they come up against are artificial, legal constructs that are used as a strategy for oppression and dehumanization. Native panelists and participants, however, urged everyone to remember that borders are imperative for Native people struggling to keep their land, and that the law is a vital tool in the struggle. Panelist Antonia Darder in “Building a Culture of Resistance”  spoke to how critical this type of conversation is to the process of empowerment for oppressed people. She referred to Paolo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed and the relationship between action, reflection and dialogue. In particular, she reminded us that context is essential, and urged us to ask ourselves how we inadvertently forget the struggles of oppressed people. Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz reminded panelists and audience members to keep in mind the native context, and she suggested that the next conference focus on native issue.

It’s Sunday morning and people are starting to arrive for Day 2. Can Tucson happen here? To quote Sofia Martinez, it already has…

-Bronson Elliott

More to Learn Wed, 26 Sep 2012 23:20:22 +0000 We’ll be highlighting Albuquerque Cultural Conference poets and panelists in upcoming days. Learn more about poet and panelist Luis Rodriguez and panelist Antonia Darder in previous posts and check back to the blog to learn more about the activists, advocates and academics presenting at the 2012 Conference.

We’ll also be blogging from the Conference. Expect posts about poets and performances, and speakers and panels. Conference poets, presenters, and participants will also be posting their take on what’s happening over the week-end. If you can’t come to the Conference, join us through our blog. Let us know your reactions and responses to what’s being said here – join the conversations at the Conference. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.

Panelist Antonia Darder in Truthout Wed, 26 Sep 2012 22:41:10 +0000 Albuquerque Cultural Conference panelist, Antonia Darder, was interviewed this week for a piece with Antonia will be speaking Saturday afternoon with the Conference’s Panel Four: “Building a Culture of Resistance.”

The link below takes you to the truthout article.