By JACKIE HAUSLER
Published March 24, 2023
The 54th annual Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA) conference is taking place this week in Niagara Falls, and as part of the conference, UB arts management students are putting together the conference’s first-ever exhibit.
The exhibition, curated by Adriana Torres-Trinidad, Ruixin Qing and Qinyang Zhi, includes visual and performing art from 20 local artists, including UB faculty and students, as well as artists from the greater Buffalo region.
“The UB Arts Management Program is delighted that the leadership of NeMLA has had the vision to support this important partnership between humanities scholarship and the work of contemporary artists and arts managers,” says Katja Praznik, associate professor in the Arts Management Program and faculty adviser on the project. “The partnership between NeMLA and the Arts Management Program enables graduate students in this program to have hands-on professional experience in designing and organizing arts events that challenge the usual academic disciplinary silos.
“The art exhibition in the context of an academic convention shows that what really matters is the subject and the variegated ways that we can address the concept of resilience, thereby opening important, socially engaged discussion that matters for sustainable life on this planet,” Praznik adds.
The exhibition reflects the conference’s central theme of “resilience.” According to the conference website, “‘Resilience’ is “an anchor term for critical and creative work that explores how we bear up under trauma, counter ableism, redress social and racial marginalization, environmental destruction, and how we celebrate bodily, cognitive and neurological difference; access silenced voices; recover from the pandemic; and struggle to save the humanities, and humanity itself from the maw of neoliberalism.”
The visual artworks represented in the exhibition will explore the topics of indigenous/afro identity, sexual diversity, women’s strength and technology vs. humanity through the lens of resilience.
The students’ work — a component of their final project and culminating experience in the program — aims to enhance discussions around the conference theme and highlight Buffalo artists.
NeMLA is a non-profit organization of teachers, scholars and students of literature, language and culture, as well as the largest regional affiliate of the Modern Language Association (MLA). NeMLA provides a forum for the dissemination of scholarship and the advancement of teaching in modern languages and literatures.
The conference, taking place March 23–26 at the Sheraton Niagara Falls Hotel and the Niagara Falls Convention Center, features UB faculty speakers as part of its schedule of events. UB serves as the institutional host of NeMLA. For more information, visit the NeMLA conference website.