In support of diversity and inclusiveness on campus, NCSU Libraries is partnering with NC State’s MFA in Creative Writing program to host “Art United,” a writing and art workshop in spring 2018.
Funded by a Diversity Mini-Grant Program Award from the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity (OIED), the interdisciplinary workshop will be taught by emerging writers and MFA alums Tyree Daye and Leila Chatti—who have both studied and taught at NC State—and graphic memoirist and editor Kristen Radtke.
The workshop will take place on March 22 in the Fishbowl Forum at D. H. Hill Library, where the instructors will work with approximately 40 students, faculty and staff to produce a poetry and graphic nonfiction project addressing campus culture. Their work will be presented in a public gallery show on the evening of April 10 at 7 p.m. in the Teaching and Visualization Lab at the Hunt Library, and it will be shown throughout the spring on the digital gallery spaces at Hunt.
Students, faculty and staff can register at: go.ncsu.edu/artunited.
The idea for “Art United” began in fall 2016, when some NC State students reacted to a peaceful campus protest against police violence with racist comments in a GroupMe chat. Campus media coverage of the outing of those students brought up further questions about racial bias in coverage and opinion. Amid the discussions of campus diversity and inclusiveness that followed, NC State English professor and writer Belle Boggs heard frustrations and fears from her students — including their suffering micro-aggressions and overt prejudice, wishing they had more time to discuss these issues with peers and faculty, and feeling unsupported, unwelcome, and even unsafe.
Boggs felt her own frustration with the lack of social and instructional space to consider these issues and the lack of institutional and community support to create that space. She sees the workshop as providing a safe, creative space for students, faculty and staff to come together to reflect and make positive work, and is particularly excited that the instructors’ familiarity with NC State students and campus culture will facilitate that work.
The writers and artists are also enthusiastic. “I’m interested in an open-ended approach,” wrote Chatti, who is Muslim, when asked for perspective on teaching the workshop, “though I certainly remember my own experience with race/faith as a student, perhaps most heightened my second year after the shooting in Chapel Hill.”
“Being black at NC State—just as being black in America—requires you to walk two different paths at the same time,” wrote Daye.
Tyree Daye is a poet from Youngsville, North Carolina who received both his BA and MFA from NC State. He is winner of the 2017 APR/Honickman First Book Prize for his book River Hymns. Daye is a 2017 Ruth Lilly Fellowship Finalist and was a Cave Canem fellow and longtime member of the editorial staff at Raleigh Review. While an MFA student at NCSU, he co-founded Street Smarts and the Arts, an outreach poetry program for homeless and at-risk teenagers and young adults.
Leila Chatti was born in 1990 in Oakland, California. A Tunisian-American dual citizen, she has lived in the United States, Tunisia, and Southern France. She is the author of the chapbooks Ebb (New-Generation African Poets) and Tunsiya/Amrikiya, the 2017 Editors’ Selection from Bull City Press. She holds a B.A. from the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities at Michigan State University and an M.F.A. from NC State, where she was awarded the Academy of American Poets Prize. She currently serves as the Consulting Poetry Editor at the Raleigh Reviewand lives in Madison, Wisconsin, where she is the 2017-2018 Ron Wallace Poetry Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing and teaches creative writing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Kristen Radtke is the author of the graphic memoir Imagine Wanting Only This(Pantheon, 2017). She is the art director and New York editor of The Believermagazine, and previously served as the managing editor of Sarabande Books and the film and video editor of Triquarterly magazine. Her work has appeared in Oxford American, The New York Times Book Review, The New Yorker’s Page Turner, Virginia Quarterly Review, and many other places.