Oberlin Defines Margins and Spaces
This past weekend’s “Margins & Spaces” conference was the brainchild of junior Kara Carmosino and senior Talia Cooper, student representatives for the College’s creative writing department. Cooper described it as “a weekend geared towards thinking about and exploring social consciousness and activism in art.”
And what prompted such an idea?
As creative writing majors, Carmosino and Cooper noticed a lack of material in their curriculum addressing what they consider to be pressing social issues. Before becoming student representatives, the two shared their concerns about the curriculum with one another and agreed that they ought to do something about it. They expected that the absence of activism and discussion that they saw in their department must also exist in other departments in the College.
“Creative writing gets a bad rep for being exclusive — and we are exclusive, but we [as student representatives] wanted to open it up,” says Cooper.
Carmosino explained that they aimed to redefine the student representative’s role and look for ways to make more connections with the campus. So they moved forward with their idea in spite of the challenges involved. Without much aid from the department in either finances or in labor, the two took on the responsibilities, that needed to be fulfilled in order to turn their idea into a reality from publicizing to making arrangements for space.
“Margins & Spaces: (Re)presentation & Responsibility in the Arts” took place over four days, and events ranged from open discussions about issues of identity to open mic performances and a collaborative “Art Jam.” The event also served as the kickoff for a discussion group on socially conscious reading and writing that will meet Monday evenings this semester.