Keynote Speakers

Image Credit: “Aquí y Allá” Mural by Michelle Angela Ortiz

Michelle Angela Ortiz

KEYNOTE ADDRESS: Amplifying Community Voices through Public Art
Michelle Angela Ortiz
Photo by Ryan Collerd, courtesy of The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage

Michelle Angela Ortiz is a visual artist/ skilled muralist/ community arts educator who uses her art as a vehicle to represent people and communities whose histories are often lost or co-opted. Through community arts practices, painting, and public art installations, she creates a safe space for dialogue around some of the most profound issues communities and individuals may face. Her work tells stories using richly crafted and emotive imagery to claim and transform spaces into a visual affirmation that reveals the strength and spirit of the community.

For 20 years, Ortiz has designed and created over 50 large-scale public works nationally and internationally. Since 2008, Ortiz has led art for social change public art projects in Costa Rica & Ecuador and through the US Embassy in Fiji, Mexico, Argentina, Spain, Venezuela, Honduras, and Cuba.

Ortiz is a 2018 Pew Fellow, a Rauschenberg Foundation Artist as Activist Fellow, a Kennedy Center Citizen Artist National Fellow, and a Santa Fe Art Institute Equal Justice Resident Artist. In 2016, she received the Americans for the Arts’ Public Art Year in Review Award which honors outstanding public art projects in the nation.

Carmen Kynard

KEYNOTE ADDRESS: “All I Need is One Mic”: A Black Feminist Community Meditation on the Work, the Job, and the Hustle (and Why So Many of Yall Confuse This Stuff)

Carmen Kynard_

Carmen Kynard is Lillian Radford Chair in Rhetoric and Composition and Professor of English at Texas Christian University. She interrogates race, Black Feminisms, AfroDigital/African American cultures and languages, and the politics of schooling with an emphasis on composition and literacies studies. She is a former high school teacher with the New York City public schools/Coalition of Essential Schools and has led numerous projects focused on language, literacy, and learning with agencies like the Community Learning Centers Grant Project in Harlem, African Diaspora Institute/Caribbean Cultural Center of New York, Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College, and the New York City Writing Project.  For almost twenty-five years now, she has worked in and with culturally and linguistically pluralistic, urban settings, in and out of schools, from K-16. As an interdisciplinary researcher and scholar, she is especially interested in the ways that race, gender, sexuality, African Diaspora cultures, Black feminisms, and the politics of schooling collide. She works at the intersection of a few, interrelated disciplines and fields: composition-rhetoric studies, literacies research, feminist/gender studies, and critically raced theories.

She has published in Harvard Educational Review, Changing English, College Composition and Communication, College English, Computers and Composition, Reading Research Quarterly, and more. Her first book, Vernacular Insurrections: Race, Black Protest, and the New Century in Composition-Literacy Studies (SUNY Press, 2013) won the 2015 James Britton Award and makes Black Freedom a 21st century literacy movement.  Her most current projects focus on young Black women in college, Black Feminist/Afrofuturist digital vernaculars, and AfroDigital Humanities learning.  She traces her research and teaching at her website: Education, Liberation, and Black Radical Traditions

Paula Mathieu

KEYNOTE ADDRESS: The Contemplative Concerns of Community Engagement, or What I Wish I Knew about the Work of Community Writing 20 Years Ago

Paula MathieuPaula Mathieu is an Associate Professor of English at Boston College and Director of First-Year Writing. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses including writing as social action, first-year writing, composition pedagogy, mindful storytelling, creative nonfiction, and rhetorical studies of culture. She is author of Tactics of Hope: The Public Turn in English Composition (2005) and co-editor of three essay collections, including Circulating Communities: The Tactics and Strategies of Community Publishing (2012) co-edited with Tiffany Rousculp and Steve Parks. With Diana George, she has cowritten several articles about the rhetorical power of the dissident press. She has published in Rhetoric Review, College Composition and Communications, JAC, Composition Studies, Community Literacy Journal, and more. She is a current editorial board member for College Composition and Communication, the Studies in Writing and Rhetoric book series, and Community Literacy Journal

Paula began teaching at Boston College after completing a doctoral degree in Language Literacy and Rhetoric at the University of Illinois-Chicago. She began working with homeless writers in 1997 in Chicago, where she founded a writing group and learning center for homeless vendors of StreetWise newspaper. She served as Deputy Chair of the International Network of Street Papers and continued street-paper work in Boston with Spare Change News. In 2007, she received the Rachel Corrie Award for Courage in the Teaching of Writing, presented by the CCCC Progressive SIGS and Caucuses Coalition. 

Through her work with community-based writers and new graduate-student instructors, Paula came to appreciate the need for awareness-based practices as an addition to the intellectual work that universities or writing groups offer. Emotional presence, empathy, listening, and compassionate awareness are skills we can develop, and lack of them can undo much important community or classroom work. She is currently working on a creative nonfiction book manuscript related to this topic.

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