Voices of the Future Seminar Series 3

Planting an Ethics of Care: Sustainability as Cultural and Racial Politics 

Dr  Kimberly A. Powell, Curriculum & Instruction; and School of Visual Arts, Pennsylvania State University 

Kimberly Powell researches art as an educational practice and methodology of and for social change, diversity, and inclusion. Her work focuses on the aesthetic dimensions of vernacular culture and on contemporary art practices that challenge social systems through experimentation with concepts, methods, materials, forms, and sites.  

Based on my narrative walking research project, StoryWalks, which focuses on the racial politics of place-making, the work I will discuss one community resident's walking tour through the ethnic and historic neighborhood of San Jose Japantown (located in California in the United States), in which she focused on her own plant and tree maintenance as part of her larger commitment to an ethics of community care and sustainability. Sharing some video examples from the walk, I will discuss the ways in which trees and plantings are a part of field of relations that compose and are composed by racial subjectivities, place, community development, and cultural identity.