Wesleyan University’s Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance announces third round of Leadership Fellowship Awards

Wesleyan University’s Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance announces third round of Leadership Fellowship Awards
Candace Thompson-Zachery
Candace Thompson-Zachery. Photo by Shoccara Marcus.
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Middletown, Conn.Wesleyan University’s Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance (ICPP) has announced the third round of their Leadership Fellowship Awards, presented to Candace Thompson-Zachery, a recent graduate of the two-year Master’s program in May 2020, and generously funded by Anne Miller, continuing the legacy of ICPP program co-founder Sam Miller ’75, as well as the Ford Foundation.

Based in Brooklyn and originally from Trinidad and Tobago, Candace Thompson-Zachery is a dancer, choreographer, and cultural producer, with a vested interest in Caribbean dance and culture. She is the founder of Dance Caribbean COLLECTIVE, an initiative that supports and presents Caribbean dance performance in New York City, and produces her own choreographic work through the project ContempoCaribe. She has been recently appointed Manager of Justice, Equity and Inclusion Initiatives at Dance/NYC, a non-profit umbrella organization for dance in New York City.

“ICPP is thrilled to support Candace Thompson-Zachery’s vital curatorial practice in Caribbean dance that allies a thoughtful study of diasporic forms with ingenious models for hosting and presenting performances," said Acting Director and Visiting Assistant Professor of Curatorial Practice in Performance Noémie Solomon. "We remain inspired by her deep-rooted work with communities and her dedication in promoting a diversity of practices to broad audiences in New York City and beyond. We are grateful to the Ford Foundation and to the Sam Miller Memorial Fund for supporting the ICPP Leadership Fellowship which nurtures vibrant and underrepresented perspectives in the field of performance curation."

"During my tenure in the Performance Curation program at ICPP, I focused my research on the world of Caribbean dance and its presentation," said Candace Thompson-Zachery. "Receiving the ICPP Leadership Fellowship allows me to not only expand the reach and possibility of my own curatorial ideas, but also to take further steps towards cultural equity in the performing arts landscape. I am honored to have such a prominent institution support my curatorship and for what that symbolically represents for the many communities to which I belong. This fellowship will seed the continuation of my project Caribbean/The Future, support the programming partnership of my organization Dance Caribbean COLLECTIVE, and create paid artistic work for participating Caribbean artists." Please see below for more information about the Caribbean/The Future project.

Thompson-Zachery was selected by a committee of ICPP faculty, senior staff, and curatorial advisors based on her performance and scholarship during the Master’s program; the viability/originality of her proposed fellowship project; demonstrated need; and fit with her partner organizations. The fellowship awards were developed with the generous support of a Ford Foundation grant to help provide a pathway to leadership for historically underrepresented perspectives in the professional world of performance curation. Upon graduation, the fellows develop and execute a curatorial project at an arts organization, and continue in this role for up to one year. The fellowships offer the opportunity for the actualization of work developed by students in their thesis or practicum coursework. The Leadership Fellowship supports ICPP’s mission of diversifying the workforce in arts organizations, and expanding the curatorial perspectives in performing arts presenting.

The first recipient of the fellowship in 2018 was Ali Rosa-Salas, who partnered with New York’s Abrons Arts Center. The recipients of the second round of fellowships in 2019 were Deborah Goffe, who partnered with Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts; and Victoria Carrasco, who partnered with Fondation Phi pour l’art contemporain in Montréal, Québec, Canada,

About Caribbean/The Future Space Residencies

Curated by Candace Thompson-Zachery and presented by Dance Caribbean COLLECTIVE with Assistant Director Safi Harriott, this project is made possible through the ICPP Leadership Fellowship. Caribbean/The Future Space Residencies seek to create enlivened virtual sites to stimulate creativity, deep investigation, and play among Caribbean practitioners. Based on the Caribbean/The Future Commission +1 Series, this space will focus on three artists and intentionally bring together community around their work. The artists will be supported by a residency fee and work with Dance Caribbean COLLECTIVE to create a month of intimate gatherings that can be conversational, improvisational, legacy finding, and future opening to stimulate their practice in new ways. Ideally these spaces will build on Candace Thompson-Zachery’s scholarship around "work-specific sites." In her Performance Curation Master’s thesis, “Encounters in Caribbean Dance: Curating Beyond Display,” she offers, "What kind of building [of work-specific sites] would allow works to be supported, challenged, and completed by the presence of a motivated audience; allow multiple methods of engagement; take up the philosophies and practices that have sustained Caribbean peoples for centuries; and be a reminder of their magic." Although the Caribbean/The Future project was envisioned as a multi-platform curatorial initiative that would take place in person, the Caribbean/The Future Space Residencies will serve as a pilot in an iterative process towards making these work-specific sites a reality. Each artist will be responsible for one public sharing as part of their residency.

Additionally, Candace Thompson-Zachery hopes to produce one virtual Move + Discuss Series Event, a workshop, discussion, and community ritual event expounding and questioning hyper-visible constructions of Caribbean cultural practice in June for Caribbean-American Heritage Month; and Dance Caribbean COLLECTIVE Choreographer Repertory Screenings, showcasing dance works and dance films that haven’t been shown in recent time.

For more information about this project, please visit www.dancecaribbeancollective.com.

About the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance

Introduced as a pilot initiative in 2011, the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance at Wesleyan University is the first institute of its kind, a center for the academic study of the presentation and contextualization of contemporary performance. The low-residency program offers students a Master's degree in innovative and relevant curatorial approaches to developing and presenting time-based art. ICPP encourages emerging curators to enrich their understanding of intellectually rigorous, innovative, and artist-centered curatorial models. The mix of instructors—artists, scholars, curators, cultural leaders, writers, and theorists—is intended to spark new possibilities and connections both intellectually and professionally. Instructors provide theoretical and practical tools for students to deepen their research methodologies through reading, writing, viewings, and discussion. Students simultaneously put ideas into practice in their professional lives, developing responsive curatorial practices that address the interdisciplinary nature of performance work today.

For more information about the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance, please visit www.wesleyan.edu/icpp.