UW–Madison’s Division of the Arts and the School of Education’s Art Department will welcome Marlon F. Hall as a Spring 2024 Interdisciplinary Artist-in-Residence.
Hall’s residency will include teaching a three-credit course, “The Olive Tree; Growing Community Engaged Storytelling from Irritation to Intrigue,” centered in community art that nourishes social healing in Madison. The olive tree nourishes the soil it’s planted in just as much as the soil nourishes it. From social irritation to ethnographic intrigue to art-making innovation, the course will provoke questions like: What irritates you about society? How can we develop purposeful listening in the community? How can the responses to these questions become an art-making process?
Throughout the course, students will explore topics such as the power of community meals, listening to community stories, and creating ethnographic films, audio narratives, and large-scale photography as community-based healing installations. The residency will also feature public programming with campus and Madison communities throughout the semester, including site-specific installations and film screenings to be exhibited in public spaces all over the city.
Hall is an artist and anthropologist whose work is rooted in social practice and grown from anthropological listening. He integrates community engagement and storytelling as a process for cultivating healing in communities that have experienced political, cultural or systemic trauma. As a renowned art-making storyteller, he has served as a lecturing fellow for Duke Divinity Leadership Education, an artist-in-residence for the Princeton Theological Seminary, and the visual anthropologist and social media archivist for the Greenwood Art Project.
He was recently named a Fulbright Specialist by the U.S. Department of Educational and Cultural Affairs and a 2021 Tulsa Artist Fellow. Currently, Hall is engaged in Cultural Amnesia Therapy in Tulsa where he is working with local creatives and community advocates to help communities rebuild after the 1921 Race Massacre. His latest project features one of his carefully curated Amnesia Therapy Salon Dinners in partnership with The British Council and The Kenya Pavilion at the 2022 Venice Biennale. Through socially engaged art-installations, large-scale photography, ethnographic films shaped as visual poems, and carefully designed salon dinners, his work focuses on revealing the resilient nature of the human spirit, using memory to inform imagination, and helping communities reclaim their identity.
Hall’s residency will begin in January 2024. The residency is presented in partnership with the Division of the Arts and the Art Department, with Faisal Abdu’Allah as lead faculty. Abdu’Allah holds the Chazen Family Distinguished Chair in Art, is a professor in the Art Department, and is the associate dean of the arts in the School of Education.
Concurrently with Hall, the Division of the Arts and the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures will welcome Sri Vamsi Matta, a Bangalore-based theater and visual artist, to UW–Madison as the inaugural academic-year Interdisciplinary Artist in Residence from August 2023 – May 2024.
The School of Education’s Department of Theatre and Drama is among the co-sponsors of Matta’s residency.