Black Life ERG


BLERG

The Black Life Experiential Research Group is an interdisciplinary collaborative for inquiry and activism at the intersection of art, urban planning, and radical geography.

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Lisa K. Bates is an activist scholar who uses research, art practice, and spatial intervention to develop new visions of Black history, present, and possibility.

Artist Bio

Sharita Towne is an transdisciplinary artist and educator based in Portland, OR, born and raised on the west coast of the U.S. along Interstate 5—from Salem, OR, to Tacoma, WA and down to Sacramento, CA.

Artist Bio

The Black Life Experiential Research Group is a think tank. Instead of dry analytical reports, it produces transmedia experiences. It anchors itself to a Black geography of Portland, but it doesn’t stop there. It’s porous and collaborative with diverse artists, thinkers, audiences, and cityscapes. It can fly through neighborhoods that were razed by slum clearance, exhume voices and documents that unsettle our understanding of what happened then, now, and can happen in the future. It gives language, shape, and form to Black imagination through public art and intervention, augmented reality, print, and video, to breathe possibilities back into sites of Black Life in Portland and beyond.


Award Year
2019
Status

In Progress

BLERG

Portland, OR

The Black Life Experiential Research Group is an interdisciplinary collaborative for inquiry and activism at the intersection of art, urban planning, and radical geography. In shifting through historical and contemporary Black geographies, the work provides clues to understanding how Black possibilities live, breathe, and reclaim space.


Individual Bios

Sharita Towne is an transdisciplinary artist and educator based in Portland, OR, born and raised on the west coast of the U.S. along Interstate 5—from Salem, OR, to Tacoma, WA and down to Sacramento, CA.

Lisa K. Bates is an activist scholar who uses research, art practice, and spatial intervention to develop new visions of Black history, present, and possibility.

Lisa K. Bates

Portland, OR

Lisa K. Bates is an activist scholar who uses research, art practice, and spatial intervention to develop new visions of Black history, present, and possibility. She works together with  Sharita A. Towne as the Black Life Experiential Research Group.

Bates is Associate Professor in the Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State University.  She has a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  In 2016 she was awarded the Dale Prize for urban planning scholarship that advances community self-determination and racial justice.

Photo credit: Kelly James


Member of:

BLERG

The Black Life Experiential Research Group is an interdisciplinary collaborative for inquiry and activism at the intersection of art, urban planning, and radical geography.

Sharita Towne

Portland, OR

Sharita Towne is an transdisciplinary artist and educator based in Portland, OR, born and raised on the west coast of the U.S. along Interstate 5—from Salem, OR, to Tacoma, WA and down to Sacramento, CA. She works with Lisa K. Bates in the Black Life Experiential Research Group, engaging local and global Black geographies, histories, and possibilities. She is also known as “Mariah Carrie Mae Weems,” one-fourth of the post-colonial conceptual karaoke band Weird Allan Kaprow. Towne holds a BA from UC Berkeley in Interdisciplinary Studies & Art, an MFA from Portland State University in Contemporary Art Practices, and teaches at the Pacific Northwest College of Art.


Member of:

BLERG

The Black Life Experiential Research Group is an interdisciplinary collaborative for inquiry and activism at the intersection of art, urban planning, and radical geography.