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ArtsEmerson, HowlRound Initiative to Examine Black and Indigenous Past, Future

ArtsEmerson and HowlRound Theatre Commons are teaming up to host a Black and Indigenous Futures Convening, where artists, scholars, educators, and practitioners will come together to examine history and envision new, de-colonized tomorrows.

The convening will take place Wednesday, Sept. 20 and Thursday, Sept. 21, on HowlRound TV.

ronee penoi head shot
ArtsEmerson Director of Artistic Programming Ronee Penoi

In a post on HowlRound, ArtsEmerson Director of Artistic Programming Ronee Penoi, and David Howse, ArtsEmerson Executive Director, Stephen G. Langley Chair and Vice President of Emerson’s Office of the Arts, and VP of Institutional Advancement, write that the histories of African Americans and Indigenous people are “unique and intertwined, with examples of distrust and violence as much as solidarity and alignment.”

“At ArtsEmerson, our leadership is Black (David Howse) and Indigenous (Ronee Penoi, Laguna Pueblo/Cherokee)—a rare occurrence in a major arts institution,” Penoi and Howse write. “We see our shared leadership as a unique opportunity to imagine a better, liberated future together for Black and Indigenous peoples and, by extension, all peoples.”

David Howse in jacket, scarf, in front of brick wall
ArtsEmerson Executive Director David Howse

On Sept. 20, 11:15 am ET, a panel will discuss “Black and Indigenous Histories to the Now: How We Carry Our Past into the Present.” On Sept. 21, 10:00 am ET, the topic will be “Black and Indigenous Futures: Aligning Our Visions and Activism.”

The convening is the second part of a yearlong initiative examining African American and Indigenous history, oppression, and work toward liberation. In Spring 2023, ArtsEmerson began encouraging intercultural exchange through two performances: And So We Walked and Nehanda.


The initiative will conclude with performance by Black and Indigenous artists commissioned by ArtsEmerson.

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