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*Check out my two features on Atlanta Blackstar’s Blerds series, “Using Afrofuturism to Power New Modes of Tech,” and The Root’s My Thing Is series, “Maybe My Weird Version of Blackness Isn’t That Weird.”
*Newswise’s “Science Fiction Through Lens of Racial Inclusiveness: Prestigious grant will fund exploration of ethnic futurisms at UCR in 2015-16:” “The University of California, Riverside will expand that universe with a yearlong exploration of ethnic futurisms that have been largely overlooked or marginalized until recently, a program of events funded by a prestigious $175,000 Sawyer Seminar grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
“Alternative Futurisms,” which will launch in September 2015, will bring together African American, Latino, Native American, and Asian American scholars, artists and writers to examine the colonial roots and legacies of science fiction and the power of speculative fiction as a tool for social change.”
*Listen to Africa Writes 2014 – Imagining Future Africa: Sci Fi, Innovation & Technology panel discussion featuring ” Ivor W. Hartmann, writer, editor, publisher and visual artist; Tade Thompson, writer, psychiatrist and clinical director for Adult Mental Health at St James Hospital, Portsmouth; and Geoff Ryman, writer and senior lecturer at the Centre for New Writing, University of Manchester. Moderated by Emma Dabiri, PhD researcher at Goldsmiths University and teaching fellow at SOAS.”
*Afropunk’s “FEATURE: ‘Juniper Leaves‘ fantasy book features Black kinky-haired queer nerd:“”AFROPUNK contributor Jaz Joyner is self-publishing a fantasy book featuring a Black kinky-haired queer nerd as the main character. She tells us: “After a year of reaching out to agents and publishing firms with the continuous response that the book ‘sounds good but may not be marketable,’ I decided to take matters into my own hands and self publish.”
Click here if you’d like to support the project (Kickstarter campaign).”
*Huffpost’s “Sci-Fi Artist Saya Woolfalk Creates A Hallucinatory Human Mandala From Dancers:” “The artist, whose father is African American and white and whose mother is Japanese, conjures mythical utopias to explore ideas of race, sexuality, difference, hybridization, cooperation and creativity. Her multimedia works summon viewers on a multicolored trip through mythical research, bunk biology and bizarre costumes, exposing cultural rituals as the fantastical occurrences they have been all along.
Her 2012 exhibition “The Empathics” introduced viewers to a bizarre breed of women who, after encountering genetically unusual buried remains, begin experiencing psychedelic visions that transform them into part plant, part animal hybrids.
This uncanny species, dubbed the Empathics, are an extremely porous culture, literally absorbing their cultural influences and physically mutating as a result. When searching for an iconography suitable for her mythical breed, Woolfalk incorporated the mandala, a nest of squares and circles that, to many, represent the cosmos.
“For Buddhist practitioners however,” the Asian Art Museum explains, “mandalas are not just images to view, but worlds to enter — after recreating the image in their mind’s eye, meditators imaginatively enter its realm.”
*Black Girls Code received $190,000 from Google for their Initiative, “which will teach 75 black and Latina teens how to build a mobile app in one day.” Awesome!