Queering Dreams Year In Review
We did that thing! And there's more to come...
What is the through line to all of Queering Dreams?
What is the main ingredient in our whirlwind of creation and community-making in our first year?
Dreaming together in community. As Harriet Tubman said, “Every great dream begins with a dreamer.”
Jason and I needed a bit of space and time to just be and dream new dreams together. We needed to take a step back, so that a bigger picture could emerge from all the work, passion and love that went into our first year co-creating Queering Dreams. Co-creation is work and labor, y’all.
We are also learning some things. We learned that dreaming is so important and is really a font of creation in big ways and small for us and for our neighbors, comrades and co-creators. We learned keeping it small creates space to be expansive. We learned we can only do this with others, and creating consensus with others takes time and energy. Dreaming cannot be rushed.
And we made some things, too! Like, our Tree of Change, which birthed Queering Dreams. Thanks to our learnings, Jason and I have also launched a consultancy partnership, which provides tailored organizational development to businesses and non-profits. AND! Our work together on Queering Dreams and our Tree of Change has directly impacted our own small business endeavors: www.CrystalMason.net and www.QueerlyComplex.com.
All of this started by dreaming together.
Last September 2021, Queering Dreams arrived on the scene with an exciting and varied calendar of events, co-created with a truly diverse group of folks. Our first events prioritized the work, hopes and dreams of Indigenous communities, Black folx, immigrants, disabled folx, transgender and gender non-specific folx, queer folx, poor folx, displaced folx, and refugees. All in all we co-produced and co-created 10 different events in the month of November. And from this Calendar of Events, ways of dreaming, being, and co-creating became a bit more solidified for 2022.
Like a stone tossed into a small body of water, the ripples of our intentions spread and continue to spread. November was only the beginning. Monthly for seven months, Queering Dreams held our A Space For Dreaming workshops, so our growing community could dream together and share those dreams with each other. We created spaces of intimacy, vulnerability and belonging, where all were invited to be their full, complex self.
We also stretched ourselves a bit. Our A Space for Dreaming Abolition held in November, which was co-produced by Keyssh, Kapi’olani Lee, and the Alliance for Media Arts and Culture and convened six, intergenerational Black artists across the USA, became a toolkit and a workshop. Our workshop was then facilitated at two national conferences, the Technology of Participation (ToP) Conference in March 2022 and the Allied Media Conference held in July 2022. Our toolkit is now available for free online for others to use and share, so more can start (or continue) expanding what abolition looks, sounds, and feels like.
Not only did we produce events and toolkits, we also birthed new practices to make sense of the world as we see it. Our Five Guides to Cultivate Belonging is being used by our Co-Creators from our November Calendar of Events, and we’ve been able to embed them into our consulting work as well. We also refined a process of introducing ourselves called Ethnographic Introductions that support participants in grappling with questions about relations to land, movement, relatives, and ancestors. This introductory process facilitates introspection, which in turn facilitates deeper, more engaging conversation and expansive dreaming. These practices were created and are continuing to be created in conversation and community between us, Jason and me, and all our Co-Creators and participants. This is how we begin to abolish systems, behaviors, and patterns of oppression and domination.
Over 2022, Queering Dreams has also been supporting the collective creation of an Immigrant Artist Network and a Queer Art School.The Immigrant Artist Network, co-founded with Rupy C. Tut, is bringing together a diverse group of immigrant artists and their comrades from across North American to create distributive forms of sharing. The first model was a Virtual Salon that ran from March to June 2022 and convened 18 artists in sharing works-in-progress, developing language about their work, and creating a network of mutual aid, care, and support. We are now in a process of redesigning what comes next with artists who participated in our Virtual Salons. More coming in 2023.
Our Queer Art School, co-founded by Juan Carlos Escobedo, is co-creating an Artist Narrative Boot Camp, launching in 2023. As a collective of Black, Latinx, Japanese, and white queer artists across the United States, we keep hearing from our fellow queer and trans artists that the arts industry is harsh, cruel, dismissive, and intent on putting us in a box not of our making. We are also hearing from our comrades a need to better articulate our process, our art, and our beliefs in our own words and with our own bodies. Our Boot Camp aims to not just teach these skills but create a peer-based pedagogy for curriculum development. This takes time, and we cannot wait to share more with you in 2023.
Whew! You got to the end. Thank you for reading. We are excited to share more of what’s to come, including a BRAND NEW WORKSHOP called A SPACE FOR RAGE & GRIEF: Studying, Dreaming, and Creating, co-created in partnership with Lisa Bohórquez. But more on that soon!
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