George Mason University
George Mason University Mason
George Mason University

Arts in Context

The arts create community. At Mason, artistic vision sparks global conversation.

Two new series, Kritikos and Global Arts Coffeehouse, bring Mason artists, scholars and neighbors into conversation about artistic work on the global scene as well as a thoughtful approach to the arts. 

Please see the calendar for a list of current events. Check back for updates throughout the year.

These events are free and open to the public.


Kritikos engages topics such as writing about the arts, critical studies, translation, the artist in society, and art as speech.

Pile of book on Black Lives Matter

Kritikos Anti-Racist Reading Group

Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.

James Baldwin

Fridays, 1-2:30 pm, from October 2-November 20, 2020 (no talk on Oct 9)

Dear Members of the CVPA Community:

Inspired by mass actions and worldwide protests demanding racial justice earlier this year, CVPA’s Arts in Context is continuing the Kritikos Anti-Racist Reading Group this Fall, moderated by Mason faculty members Jessica Kallista and Kristin Johnsen-Neshati, with help from co-organizers, Aishah-Nyeta Brown, Natalie Ledesma, Jordan McRae, Sang Nam, and Aries Wilson.

Members of the CVPA community will meet in Fall 2020 for 90-minute sessions once a week, but with a goal of long-term commitment to relationship building, awareness, reimagining, and action, around anti-racist practices, racial justice, and the creation of conversations as well as systems of compassion and healing. We will focus on anti-Black racism and its effects on society. 

Grounded in the knowledge that it is not a question of whether we are racist, but rather how racism is expressed and experienced in ourselves, our lives, our behaviors, and our institutions, we will explore books, music, art, essays, podcasts, and documentaries that allow us to critically question and consider our roles as artists, thinkers, citizens, and creatives in a society founded on racist values and practices.

All are welcome. If you are currently benefiting from the existing racist system, we ask only that you arrive

  1. ready to learn or expand your understanding of the role you play in sustaining the existing system, and
  2. willing to lean into the discomfort necessary to learn how to live in an ever-increasingly anti-racist way.

Every Friday, October 2-November 20, 2020 (no talk on Oct 9), 1-2:30 pm. 

We hope you can join us!
Jessica and Kristin

Kritikos Anti-Racist Reading Group Weekly Schedule (Subject to Change)

Week One
October 2, 2020: 

No talk October 9, 2020

Week Two:
October 16, 2020:

Week Three:
October 23, 2020:
Afrofuturism, Otherwise Worlds, and Freedom Dreaming

Week Four:
October 30, 2020:
Disability and Race (co-moderated by Aishah-Nyeta Brown)

Week Five:
November 6, 2020:
Education as Liberation: Anti-Racist Pedagogy

Week Six:
November 13, 2020:
Black Trans Lives Matter

Week Seven:
November 20, 2020:
Black Joy, Bliss, Self-Care, and Healing

Join us for Our Discussions on Zoom (same link each week)

You’re invited to join this recurring Zoom meeting for the Kritikos Anti-Racist Reading Group:

Fridays from October 2 to November 20, 1 to 2:30 pm. 

(Please note that we will not meet on October 9.)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 926 7149 1960

Passcode: 749553


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Dial by your location

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Meeting ID: 926 7149 1960

Passcode: 749553

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Meeting ID: 926 7149 1960

Passcode: 749553

Readings for Week Five Discussion - November 6, 2020
Readings for Week Four Discussion—October 30, 2020
Readings for Week Three Discussion - October 23, 2020

Kritikos Anti-Racist Reading Group 

Week 3: October 23, 2020—Afrofuturism, Otherwise Worlds, and Freedom Dreaming 


Why should you read sci-fi superstar Octavia E. Butler? - Ayana Jamieson and Moya Bailey (video) 

Excerpt: "Emergent Strategies" - adrienne maree brown (video) 

Sci-Fi Digital Series “Afrofuturism” Sun Ra Part 1 | DUST (video) 

Afrofuturism mixes sci-fi and social justice. Here’s how it works. (video) 

Afrofuturism Explained: Not Just Black Sci-Fi | Inverse (video) 

Otherwise, Ferguson by Ashon Crawley (essay) 

Against the Normative World by Sofia Samatar (interview) 


Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination, Chapter 6: KEEPIN’ IT (SUR)REALDREAMS OF THE MARVELOUS by Robin D. G. Kelley 

Freedom Dreaming: A Call to Imagine by Sarah Branch, Downtown Brooklyn Arts Management Fellow 

Freedom Dreaming - Digital Resource Guide 

Readings for Week Two Discussion - October 16, 2020
Readings for Week One Discussion - October 2, 2020
We invite your feedback. Please take our survey.

Please take our survey about the Kritikos Anti-Racist Reading Group series this summer.

Global Arts Coffeehouse

LADAMA at George Mason University

Female Latin powerhouse group LADAMA (LA Weekly)

The Global Arts Coffeehouse centers on the work of international artists, globalization in the arts, and cross-cultural artistic exchange. This series highlights artists with international impact and provides opportunity for Mason students and the community to learn about their work. Each of these events is free and open to the public. 

Ladama masterclass at Mason

LADAMA holding a drumming workshop for percussion students at Manassas Park High School and Mason students enrolled in World Music Classes.

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