Chloe Yeo, Group 11
It’s March 10th, two days after international (working) women’s day, and we’re here at the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) to celebrate the achievements and histories of womxn in Rock. It’s just past lunch time, and people are weaving in and out of spaces, absorbing exhibition spaces and jittering about past meetings.
It’s especially fitting for this inclusive event to sit at the edge of South Lake Union. Seattle itself has become a microcosm for modern day colonialism. In pursuit of innovating the technological frontier, wealth and “tech bro” culture (namely Amazon’s influx of employees) continue to push out marginalized groups and erase their histories, leaving no solace of affordable housing or community centers, only luxury condos and automated grocery stores in their wake. But here, in this celebration and gathering of musicians and creatives of color, I am hopeful for this vibrant, optimistic, angry, expressive future. So far, everyone has been extremely welcoming and participatory and inclusive. Claiming space in this museum is empowering and I’m looking forward to the ideas that come forward from this (un)conference.
[UPDATE] POST 2: ReCAPping community discussions and blues jamming
While gentrification and creating affordable housing are hot topics, I had never considered the intersection of gentrification and creating creative spaces. During the CAP (Creation, Activation, Preservation) Report session, I enjoyed hearing recommendations and Seattle’s attempts to define creative space and preserve cultural landmarks. It’s incredibly nuanced and faces significant historical barriers because of systemic racism through redlining, financial institutions, and misconceptions about artists. I never understood the need for studio space for visual or performing arts in terms of city planning, or how these cultural districts can help inform housing and retail space decisions. The CAP report discussion illuminated the potential for arts and housing equity to work hand in hand, which I found inspiring and grateful that these talks are happening at a city level.
Following this table talk, the atrium was opened up to a lovely blues jam session. As a person who strongly values representation, I loved seeing women of color collaborating and creating sounds together in a space that isn’t directly celebrating diversity. In the context of MOHAI, the activities of this (un)conference almost seemed at odds with the space. My initial reaction of MOHAI was that it was built to “sell” people on the idea of Seattle, and dismissed any impact of race, class, or gender caused by rising industries. Therefore, it is important and necessary to put MOHAI and this conference in conversation with each other, and continue to do so in various spaces throughout our changing city.