#critlib 2017-09-18: spatial justice

Archive of the September 18 2017 #critlib chat on spatial justice, moderated by @a_meeksie & @vin_alyssa. For more info about #critlib, including past and future chats, visit http://critlib.org/

  1. Join #ARLISriss and #critlib on Monday, September 18 at 8pm Central Time for a Twitter chat on spatial justice  http://critlib.org/spatial-justice/ 
  2. A note abt tonight's #critlib chat: In addition to storify, the chat will be archived on the ARLIS learning portal:  https://www.arlisna.org/career-resources/arlis-na-learning-portal 
  3. Introductions
  4. If you'd like to chat anonymously, you can submit your responses here:  http://goo.gl/8wyNps . They’ll be posted by @CritLib_anon #Critlib
  5. New to #critlib chats? First off, thanks for joining! So we can keep track, please use A1, A2, etc. prefixes when responding to questions.
  6. Welcome to tonight’s #critlib chat about spatial justice. Let’s start with intros!
  7. Follow along with @vin_alyssa and I! We are the moderators for tonight's #critlib chat. Feel free to respond anonymously:  https://twitter.com/vin_alyssa/status/909944475593691136 
  8. I'm Alyssa (hello!), an academic librarian in Chicago. #critlib
  9. I'm Amanda, an art/english/WGS/etc. subject liaison at an academic institution in Arizona #critlib. Welcome to tonight's chat!
  10. Hi #critlib mlis student at queens college & ex lib page in public library
  11. 🙋‍♂️ Hi #critlib I'm Max, academic librarian in Virginia. Mostly lurking tonight.
  12. Hi #critlib, I'm the Digital Initiatives Librarian at Md. Institute College of Art 👋🏾
  13. Hi #critlib. Librarian at the University of Michigan. Following the convo as best I can 😊
  14. good evening #critlib, I'm Zoe (zoh-ee), adjunct community college librarian in Seattle, WA.
  15. Hi #critlib, it's me, an LIS PhD student... I am baking cookies, but will be keeping an eye on things. #alreadylate
  16. Hi #critlib joining in a little late - Information Literacy & Instructional Design Librarian at MICA.
  17. #critlib semi-lurking from MIT Libraries, urban studies & planning librarian so spatial justice is super relevant to my work!
  18. Just got home and coming to #Critlib late. I'm a librarian at a German cultural institute
  19. Q1. What is the function of public art and architecture where you work/live?
  20. Let's get started, shall we? Q1: What is the function of public art and architecture where you work/live? #critlib
  21. Q1 Follow up: Are monuments meant to be art? Do they have a other functions/purposes? #critlib
  22. A1: Arch. at work: buildings named for donors. Pub. art at work: promote conversation among students, faculty, community members #critlib
  23. A1. My lib has a permanent Mark Twain room. It functions to celebrate whiteness & ignore white supremacy in children's lit #critlib
  24. A1. The building where I work was historically a factory. Art is colorful abstract paintings, + some student projects. #critlib
  25. A1: I live in a town surrounded by native reservations, I do not see enough native public art/arch. This reinforces whiteness #critlib
  26. A1: To clarify, our public art *ideally* promotes conversation. But you have to feel welcome on a college campus to see it. #critlib
  27. A1 Lots of public art in Seattle! But only a small portion acknowledges indigenous peoples. #critlib  http://www.seattle.gov/arts/programs/public-art 
  28. A1 Chief Seattle sculpture recognizes the city's namesake but def glosses over the whole stolen land thing.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chief_Seattle_(sculpture)  #critlib
  29. #critlib A1. Some students researching monuments, might serve them better if I don't express opinions.
  30. A1. I took an excellent course in grad school (part 1, pre-library) on german collective memory and counter-monument. #critlib
  31. A bit late but interested in this convo. A1. The public lib system I work in has a branch named after a First Nations chief... #critlib
  32. ... but I only learned this through someone I worked with and the need for TRC training at libraries, including ours. #critlib
  33. don't think there is a plaque abt who he was (or that he was part of FN resistance) AND his name has been whitewashed #critlib.
  34. A1 we have a statue of our namesake, Goethe, which causes constant confusion about what our mission/focus area actually is #Critlib https://t.co/Spf061z8cU
    A1 we have a statue of our namesake, Goethe, which causes constant confusion about what our mission/focus area actually is #Critlib pic.twitter.com/Spf061z8cU
  35. Q2. What narratives/whose history is dominant in and around lib*/archives in your community?
  36. Q2: What narratives/whose history is dominant in and around lib*/archives in your community? #critlib
  37. Q2 Follow up: How does the community engage w those narratives/history? #critlib
  38. A2: despite there being lotsa rad stuff abt black power mvmts in our collections, you wouldn't know it from being in the space. #critlib
  39. A2 I learned last week that my college came to exist because of WWII, as a war prod facility. History of war/industry emphasized. #critlib
  40. A2 Rich white males dominate the mainstream narratives being told through libs/archives in this city, esp in a historical context #critlib
  41. A2. In #Buffalo there are ZERO statues of POC women. The city is 38% Black. Libs had zero exhibits highlighting POCs in 3+ yrs #critlib
  42. A2: We don't acknowledge stolen land in my city & most things are named after white donors:  http://www.flagstaff.az.gov/DocumentCenter/View/14245  #critlib
  43. A2 Our students' narratives dominate our space because their work is constantly on display. ♥️ working an art/design college #critlib
  44. A2: white male narratives still super prevalent in MIT spaces around campus; lib/archives are expanding the narratives in some ways #critlib
  45. I don't see much engagement, but I know that the BSU on my campus tried to have building's/room's names changed a few years ago #critlib  https://twitter.com/vin_alyssa/status/909949582481788929 
  46. A2 every campus I've been to names bldgs & spaces after donors/retired faculty--most of whom are white & wealthy. #critlib
  47. A2. Public art in my neighborhood: utility box portraits of Berkeley HS grads. Writers, activists, musicians, mostly white & black. #critlib
  48. #critlib our current exhibits are pretty cool (not super involved in either so I can brag, haha):  https://libraries.mit.edu/exhibits/  but change is slow
  49. A2. Along with the whiteness, their is the absence of any youth space in lib. No teen rm cuz admins r afraid of "gangs" #critlib
  50. A2. Our summer reading club program had a #canada150 theme that focused on celebrating Canada (+ not engaging w/ colonial history) #critlib
  51. A2. I think our spaces are often v white. Offer to "welcome" others in but might not structurally include them. #critlib
  52. Q3. If lib* take an antiracist approach to cultivating culturally responsive spaces, what do we need to examine first and why?
  53. Q3: If lib* take an antiracist approach to cultivating culturally responsive spaces, what do we need to examine first and why? #critlib
  54. A3: ourselves, absolutely; despite some progress at MIT there are so many ways we're not yet there #critlib
  55. A3: We have to look at who gets to participate in the cultivation of these spaces. #critlib
  56. A3 I think libs need to examine the assumed neutrality of whiteness in spaces-white is so often the default for every process, why? #critlib
  57. A3. Architecture! Neo-classical and neo-Gothic buildings as false histories of a pure white past.  http://www.wnyc.org/story/on-the-media-2017-09-15  #critlib
  58. A3 What are our campuses saying to the communities they are in and what are the parallels to our patrons of marginalized groups? #critlib
  59. A3: Stop naming bldngs after rich/white donors, learn & understand local history of PoC, hire PoC to create the art/arch! #critlib  https://twitter.com/A_meeksie/status/909951852120117248 
  60. A3 I'm thinking about how in many cases a white committee gets together to recognize other whites, curate white displays, etc. #critlib
  61. A3 (cont.): Often these convos happen in homogeneous committees, or it becomes something for POC staff, faculty, students to fix. #critlib
  62. A3. Who is already represented? Who makes decisions? Who is in the conversation? Who is framing the questions? #critlib  https://twitter.com/A_meeksie/status/909951852120117248 
  63. A3 What are our interactions & the way we move through our space, the way we use our space - saying to our patrons and community? #critlib
  64. A3 Also "it's the way it's always been done" is 👏🏾 not 👏🏾 okay 👏🏾 #critlib
  65. @CityThatReads love this--how do our spaces express our values? do they say what we want them to say? #critlib
  66. Really just want to use the 🎄emoji for A3 because we're approaching that time of year, & its analogous #critlib
  67. A3 also, what am I/are other white lib folks ignoring/looking past/not seeing in spaces? what's the "invisible" default? #critlib
  68. Q4. How can we can work to counteract & subvert oppressive spatial elements, such as monuments that function as microaggressions?
  69. Q4: How can we can work to counteract & subvert oppressive spatial elements, such as monuments that function as microaggressions? #critlib
  70. Q4 follow up: How can we prevent minimization/erasure of marginalized ppl’s narratives/contributions thru our work in lib/archives? #critlib
  71. #critlib A4. Outnumber them, if possible. Add displays that tell the stories that are left out.
  72. #critlib for me this manifests e.g. in the (v white) art we have in the libraries (which we're working on...but it's taken a while...)
  73. A4 Sharing a response from a membership organization is not the answer. Not naming whiteness is not the answer. #critlib
  74. Re: how do we cultivate spaces that allow folks to feel comfortable, and represented. #critlib
  75. A4 I keep coming back to Germany. Look to examples of places where folks have thought through these questions more than we have. #critlib
  76. A4 on campus, I think it's necessary to talk about history of the campus/library & how it does or doesn't represent current values. #critlib
  77. A4: We can do the work to research/work w community to document narratives often overlooked/reserved for bottom shelf of history. #critlib  https://twitter.com/vin_alyssa/status/909954200066543617 
  78. A4 I went to Oberlin & many students walk AROUND the arch at commencement bc they don't like what it represents. active resistance. #critlib
  79. A4 Do what we tell students to do in instruction: think about what's missing. What's not there. What aren't you finding. #critlib
  80. A4 while lib staff remains so white I think a lot is letting patrons/community have freer rein to reinterpret/reinscribe space #critlib
  81. A4 interesting-looks like Oberlin changed the route after I graduated, partly due to controversy.  https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/04/28/bypassing-controversy  #critlib
  82. A4: Support artists and activists who want to work to counteract these structures and monuments #critlib
  83. A4 this is actually a really interesting example bc Oberlin lets the arch remain standing but no longer centers it in the ceremony #critlib
  84. A4 I also really like the idea of adding to existing art/spaces to counteract & disrupt the narrative. #critlib
  85. A4. Invite community conversations. @LevineMuseum in Charlotte, NC is a good model for these. #critlib
  86. A4. Have conversations about these monuments. Don't let them be neutral, passive.They never were. #critlib
  87. A4. Better yet, don't just remove racist ass statues. Smash them! #DoItLikeDurham #critlib
  88. @vin_alyssa A4: Actively search for marginalized ppl’s stories/contributions in your field/local history. Don't rely on 1 source for the facts #critlib
  89. Q5. What barriers might we encounter in trying to do this work in our profession & how can we overcome those barriers?
  90. Q5: What barriers might we encounter in trying to do this work in our profession & how can we overcome those barriers? #critlib
  91. A5: Apathy, donor politics (for buildings, collections, etc.), white fear. #critlib
  92. #critlib A5. Assumptions that libraries should or can be neutral.
  93. A5 I think many librarians feel like they don't fully control the lib's spaces & don't want to invite admin attn to these issues. #critlib
  94. @zoh_zoh I think about this a lot, and it's partially why I often organize between institutional spaces. #critlib
  95. A5 getting pushback for not being "nice." I try to use my white privilege to be pushy for the cause of justice #critlib
  96. A5 "oh, you don't like that endowed classroom named after a white supremacist? we'll just take it & use it for something else, thx" #critlib
  97. A5: Fear of "offending"/"alienating", push back, lack of understanding beyond own experience--to name a few, ALL tied to whiteness #critlib
  98. A5. In addition to white supremacist libs, the hierarchy prevents staff from engaging. & support staff are usually most POC & queer #critlib
  99. A5: To overcome, keep working. Must say that often, as I too easily stay quiet. Systems cannot dismantle quietly or easily #critlib
  100. A5 Being dismissed because I'm a WOC in a predominantly white field. #critlib
  101. A5. All the mistakes white allies inevitably make, and finding ways to work through them w/o repeated burden to POC. #critlib
  102. A5 like so many things, I'm afraid we'll never see real progress with this until we see more diversity in library leadership. #critlib
  103. A5 if libraries are perpetually run by white women & white men who make most decisions, how can we undo all this shit? #critlib
  104. A5: If you're white, now is not the time to turn away from these issues. It never was. We have to face it head on, not bury heads #critlib
  105. Can't keep up with responses, thanks to this head cold. But I'll catch up tomorrow! Thanks for sharing, everyone. #critlib
  106. A5: It's incredibly important to acknowledge short comings & LISTEN to PoC affected by these spatial injustice. The first time. #critlib
  107. A5. I think prof is 30% unionized. What if we were 100% union? What risks would we make? #critlib
  108. A5 Seconding @CityThatReads's ORGANIZE & for white ppl, make spaces 4 ppl of color in yr organizing. its not hard! #artandfeminism #critlib
  109. A5 Funding sources coming from people/organizations with a vested interest in maintaining white supremacy #critlib  https://twitter.com/a_meeksie/status/909956518832889858 
  110. Conclusions
  111. As we get close to our 60 mins, let's mix in #critpitch time. Anyone have writings/events/readings/other things to share? #critlib
  112. Thank you all so much for participating in tonight's #critlib chat! I can tell folks got fired up about this and I hope we can keep at it
  113. If anyone would like to volunteer to Storify this chat, please let us know! #critpitch #critlib
  114. Echo-ing @A_meeksie and her thanks. Here's to continuing the conversation! #critlib
  115. Thanks so much to @A_meeksie @vin_alyssa & all the #critlib folks who showed up to chat about spatial justice.
  116. Sorry I was late to the discussion! Loved this #critlib topic. Working in an inflexible rigid space has made me want better library spaces
  117. First #critlib conversation, came late and catching up on what was said. Came away with lots to think about
  118. Totally missed the #critlib discussion, but I'll be reading back through everything!
  119. Looks like I missed a good #critlib tonight. Will enjoy lurking through the tweets.
  120. Catching up on yesterday's #critlib & what a great conversation!