Implemented in 2017, In-Session is a remix of a traditional lecture or panel and critical interdisciplinary salon that incorporates reading, conversation, and response together. The salons are focused on a selection from a shared reading list which is compiled by Threewalls and based on a theme. The curated reading list is an act of decolonization: citing texts and creators that are not centered in mainstream culture and expanding scholarship that shapes lived experiences of our Threewalls community. The list is also Threewalls’ contribution to uplifting the brilliance of ALAANA (African descent, Latinx, Arab, Asian and Native American) culture producers and culture bearers.
The program is an opportunity for artists & creatives to hold space, in community, and have conversations about texts that illuminate their lived experiences and artistic practices. In-Session allows space for intimacy and vulnerability that are important characteristics to building relationships across differences. It is an invitation for those who participate and bear witness to show up as they are.
After a two-year hiatus, In-Session has been reimagined as a 7-month fellowship program to include mentorship from the Threewalls team, wellness support that includes financial planning, mental health services, digital coaching, and a health stipend.
Similarly, to its predecessor, In-Session will center conversation and audience engagement with a response activation to the selected text. However, in this new iteration, we are limiting the conversation and fellows to a pair: two artists or creatives will form a collaboration to be in conversation together. The collaborative pair may collaborate with others on the response and use their materials+supplies stipend to cover their fees.
The fellowship format will be hybrid: the cohort sessions will take place virtually and the salons will take place in-person and will be livestreamed.
Unlike the former iteration, where the salons took place at Threewalls’ space, the salons moving forward will take place in the fellows’ neighborhood, in a space of their choosing. This follows the organization’s ethos of supporting artists where they live and supporting the neighborhood economy.
We acknowledge the invisible labor that goes into preparing for the salons and the fellowship award is one step in addressing invisible labor that is part of an artist’s practice. The program will support 6 fellows with each receiving $21,000 over the fellowship period. The financial breakdown is $17,500 artist fee and $3,500 for health stipend or $3,000 per month for 7 months. Additionally, each fellowship pair will receive $3,000 in materials and supplies support for their public salon.
With the financial award, each awardee will receive access to the Wellness Circle. It is comprised of consultants who offer creative and wellness services, and Threewalls offers access these services without a cost to the fellows: financial planning sessions with a professional planner and a tax workshop at the beginning of the grant year and during tax time. Additionally, we will offer one-on-one counseling sessions with together+through, and digital coaching sessions led by JinJa Birk of BirkCreative, who is also a Google Digital Coach.
Applying to the In-Session fellowship affirms that you are in agreement and alignment with the mission and values of the organization and its commitment to fostering spaces in which anti-Blackness and misogynoir have no place. Additionally, you affirm that you understand the expectations of this program. Note that those who do not adhere to the organization’s values and community agreements will be asked to leave the fellowship.
Please review Threewall’s mission and values prior to submitting your application.
The fellow for the program is one who engages with critical texts, has an interdisciplinary practice, works well in a collaborative setting, desires to engage in an exchange of ideas among the cohort and during the public salon, and open to receiving constructive feedback. Fellows for this program are those who want to build a conversation about the selected text(s) and its themes as the center of the salon and offer a performative response as another entry point for the collective conversation during the salon.
Currently, the fellowship is for ALAANA Chicago-based artists, creatives and nonprofits whose practices, values, and missions align with racial justice. Additionally, potential fellows consider research, collaboration, and community integral parts of the whole. ALAANA is a term used to identify African, Latinx, Arab, Asian and Native American individuals and communities. This program is to support those who identify as such.
For this program, we are defining eligibility as follows:
Individuals eligible for the fellowship are:
Individuals not eligible for the fellowship are:
Both partner fellows must be based in Chicago and available for the entire duration of the fellowship program from September 2022-June 2023 (please note Threewalls is closed in December)
Attend bi-weekly cohort study sessions (2 times per month) from October to January (please note Threewalls is closed in December)
Attend monthly cohort sessions in February and March to discuss public salon, gain knowledge on how to facilitate a conversation, and confirm themes, ideas, points of discussion for the public salon. Additionally, prepare for salon including format and location.
Be an active participant in the cohort study sessions, be prepared to share and to receive feedback
Attend fellowship gatherings that will be offered through the program
Lead public salon in the fellows’ designated month (April to June). Each pair of fellows will present in agreed upon month.
Timeline for Application+Fellowship Program:
June 15: Call for Proposals Opens
July 15: Deadline for proposals, 11:59 pm Central
July 22: Deadline extended, 11:59 pm Central
September: Fellows selected
September 21: Fellowship period begins
October -January: Study Sessions, bi-weekly, Wednesday evenings (dates will be shared upon invitation)
January 11: return from holiday break
February-March: Salon Prep, monthly check-ins, Wednesday evenings
April-June 30: Salons
June 30: Fellowship ends
Should you have any further questions during the application process, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
2022-2023 Theme: Call-and-Response
In-Session’s theme for this season is Call-and-Response and we invite proposals that will engage with it as a tool of celebration, community building, and liberation.
Call-and-Response is an oral tradition often found in music, rituals, or spiritual practices of Sub-Saharan African cultures. It begins with a phrase by the main orator or singer to which one or more audience members will respond or echo. This tradition is used for celebratory purposes and well as for solemn reflections. It was carried over to the Americas via the trans-Atlantic slave trade where kidnapped Africans would sing together and call out to one another.
As an act of resistance, the tradition continued in African American work songs, in the Black Church as part of the service, and is utilized in literature, poetry, and art. Call-and-Response requires community and builds relationships with the lead (call) and the folks responding to the call and with each other.
All texts on the list are hyperlinked.
2022-2023 Reading List
Literature & Poetry
Baldwin, James. The Fire next Time. Penguin Books, 2017.
Baldwin’s nonfiction book contains two essays—“My Dungeon Shook: Letter to my Nephew on the One Hundredth Anniversary of the Emancipation” and “Down at the Cross: Letter from a Region of My Mind”.
The Fire Next Time
Baszile, Natalie. Queen Sugar. Pamela Dorman Books, 2014.
Baszile’s debut novel follows a woman who inherited a sugarcane farm in Louisiana. The television series is available on OWN network and Hulu.
Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. Harper Collins e-Books, 2013.
The novel explores gender identity, roles and race through the experiences of protagonist Janie Crawford as she grows into her Black womanhood in early 20th century Florida.
Their Eyes Were Watching God
Liggins, Hill Patricia Alveda, and Bernard W. Bell. Call and Response the Riverside Anthology of the African American Literary Tradition. Houghton Mifflin Co, 1998.
The anthology contains texts, poetry, music, etc. that exemplify and use African American call and response traditions.
Matos, Tori Ashley. “Ancestors I by Tori Ashley Matos.” Call + Response Journal, Call + Response Journal, 21 June 2021, https://www.callandresponsejournal.com/ourjournal/ancestors-i-by-tori-ashley-matos.
Matos’s poem tells of her relationship to the earth and that of her ancestors.
Morrison, Toni. The Bluest Eye. Knopf, 1993.
Morrison’s first novel follows the life of an African American girl in post-depression era America.
The Bluest Eye
Mosley, Walter. The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey: A Novel. Penguin Group Canada, 2010.
The novel follows a 91-year-old African American man who has dementia but is given a chance to change his present and future with the help of Robyn, his newly adopted granddaughter. The series adaptation is available on AppleTV+.
Walker, Alice. The Color Purple. Women’s Press, 2002.
Walker’s novel follows the life of Celie, a black woman in 1900s American South through her letters to God. The film is available on HBOmax.
“Black women from across the globe unlock stories of their mothers to redefine holistic lives rooted in radical self-care and healing in this documentary.” -Netflix
This 2021 documentary was directed by Shantrelle P. Lewis and co-produced with JaSaun Buckner.
Misha Green, Lovecraft Country (Aug 16-Oct 18, 2020)
This television series written by Misha Green (based on a novel by Matt Huff) follows an African American man as he travels across the U.S. in the 1950s in search for his missing father. The setting is a town in which horror writer H.P. Lovecraft based their stories.
Victoria Santa Cruz, “Me Gritaron Negra”
This performance is about embracing African roots in Peruvian culture by Victoria Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz is accompanied by a chorus who respond to her calls and participate in the acts of resistance that permeates the piece.
Alvin Ailey, Revelations
The entire performance is set in vignettes of Negro spirituals.
The piece, which premiered in 1960, pays homage to and reflects African American cultural heritage, which Ailey considered one of America’s richest treasures – “sometimes sorrowful, sometimes jubilant, but always hopeful.”- Lincoln Center
Sweet Honey in the Rock (Performance/Demonstration), Kennedy Center Education Digital Learning
Join members of internationally renowned a cappella ensemble Sweet Honey In The Rock for a unique sound experience as the group captures the complex sounds of blues, spirituals, traditional gospel hymns, rap, reggae, and hip hop using their vocal prowess. The ensemble uses their collective voice as an instrument along with a variety of percussion instruments like the cow bell, tambourine, and African rhythmic instruments. -Kennedy Center Education Digital Learning
Puerto Rico’s Bomba, A Dance of The African Diaspora | If Cities Could Dance, KQED Arts
Through this short documentary the history and legacy of Bomba, Puerto Rico’s Afro-Puerto Rican dance of resistance is told through the people keeping it alive. The film visits some of the communities where bomba is at its most vibrant, from the Santurce area of San Juan, to Loíza, the bastion of Afro-Puerto Rican culture across the Rio Grande. In Loíza and the Piñones area, community organizer Maricruz Rivera Clementa runs the Corporación Piñones Se Integra (http://www.copipr.com/) dedicated to preserving Afro-Puerto Rican culture and teaching the next generation of bomba dancers. -KQED Arts
Faith Ringgold story quilts:
Ringgold, Faith. Groovin’ High. 1986.
Ringgold, Faith. Double Dutch on the Golden Gate Bridge. 1988.
Ringgold’s quilts were first inspired by a Tibetan art form in which painting was framed by brocaded fabrics. However, she made it her own by completely quilting her works and using them to tell the story of African American life in 1980s Harlem.
Buchanan, Beverly. shack series. 1992-2011. Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York
“Buchanan used found wood scraps or sometimes foamcore to build her “shacks,” a term she bestowed upon the sculptures. Whether inhabited or abandoned, her structures were meant to embody the spirit of those who lived there, what she referred to as “emotional groundings.” According to the artist, “I’m interested in their shapes and how they’re made and how they reflect the people who built them. I consider my shacks portraits. It’s the spirit that comes through the forms.”” -Andrew Edlin Gallery
wilson,fo. Eliza’s Peculiar Cabinet of Curiosities. 2016. Lynden Sculpture Garden, Milwaukee, WI.
“This project constructs a full-scale slave cabin as the central object in imagining what a 19th-century woman of African descent might have collected and stowed in her cabin as her own unique wunderkammer. The cabin subverts the architectural form of the Southern cabin to challenge the perceived status of historical cabinets of wonder and presents a nuanced dimension of Black representation using Eliza’s “collection” to turn the tables on the Eurocentric gaze.” -fo wilson
wilson,fo. Dark Matter: Celestial Objects as Messengers of Love in These Troubled Times. 2019. Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, IL.
“Slipcast objects as cosmic orbs, soundscapes, and NASA video create a dynamic environment as a celestial Afrofuturist landscape for reflection, meditation and healing. With a shotgun house-inspired sculpture as a spaceship that appears to have come from another realm, the work embodies my desire to infuse love and restore dignity to a culture that is troubled with unfortunate manifestations of fear, hate, greed, shame, and a disregard for others.”- fo wilson
Bearden, Romare. Young Students. 1964.
This collage depicts young folks in the streets with a brick wall in the background. Their presence in the street is significant in the history of Blk liberation because of the ongoing civil rights movement at the time.
Georgia Island Sea Singers (w/ Bessie Jones)
The Georgia island Singers were a group who sang in the African American Gullah tradition that used call and response as the main tenet of their music.
The McIntosh County Shouters
The McIntosh County Shouters continue creole traditions in call and response worship in this 2010 performance.
This song expresses anger at bondage from the point of view of an enslaved African American.
Fare Ye Well (In that Great Getting up Morning)
This is a post-emancipation spiritual—also called a camp meeting song.
Please provide the requested information and responses in your application. The application can be submitted as a PDF, video or audio file, and should be sent to email@example.com.
Your application materials can be submitted as written responses, video files, or audio files. Please keep written responses to under 250 words per question and video responses under 3 minutes per question.
*Not having a website does not exclude you from being considered. If you do not have a website, include documentation of your artistic or creative practice in the form of photos or video (no longer than 5 minutes).
Date Of Birth:
Affirmation of ALAANA Identity – As this fellowship is for individuals who are Black, Indigenous and People of Color, please self-identify your racial background.
Accessibility: Affirming ALAANA communities and their intersections, Threewalls supports the inclusion of Deaf and Disabled people in all aspects of this fellowship. Would you be interested in knowing more about how to engage these communities within the fellowship program? Yes_ No_
If available, please include a short biography, resume OR Curriculum Vitae.
1. Identify your conversation partner: the conversation portion must be two individuals. Please tell us why you are partnering together for the fellowship. Please include how you intend to be accountable to each other throughout the program.
*Only two partners per proposal are eligible for the fellowship
2. You must select a text(s) from Threewalls’ curated reading list to ground the salon conversation. Please reference the above reading list. You may offer a text of your choosing that is not on our reading list to be in dialogue with a text on the Threewalls list. Should you offer a text of your choosing, it must be in dialogue with one from the Threewalls reading list.
Clearly articulate why you selected the text(s). Some questions to consider: How do they illuminate the In-Session theme for you? How do these texts these texts respond to your lived experience(s)? What about the text(s) inspire you and your practice? If you selected more than one text, how do they connect to each other?
*The artist may bring a text of their choosing to engage with the Threewalls list
*Selecting a text off list is not required
3. Please share your initial thoughts for building a critical dialogue that engages the audience to move from a “lecture” and “performance” to creating space for engagement. Some questions to consider: How do you intend to build an experiential conversation that is not a lecture and not solely a performance? What do you want the audience to leave with after the salon? What is the kernel of knowledge about the text, your practice or the experience that is important to the work?
4. The In-Session salons will take place in the fellows’ neighborhoods. Please identify a neighborhood-based community space in which to host the salon, preferably in one of the partners’ neighborhood/community areas. Please share why you would like to host the salon in this space. We ask that you keep in mind Threewalls’ values in identifying your community space.
5. List any collaborators for the public salon, who may participate in the response activation.
*Collaborators are not participants in the fellowship and not considered fellows.
Disponible en Español, aqui.
Threewalls is always finding new ways to share our artist’s unique voices through exhibits, talks, and gatherings. We would like you to be the first to know about these opportunities.