Cultural Migrations: Displacement and Renewal - A Roundtable Discussion and Symposium on Immigration and Resettlement in the Buffalo/Niagara Region of New York

 

NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, NY – On September 8 and 9, 2017, The New York Folklore Society, a statewide non-profit arts organization supporting folklife and traditional arts, and the Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University, will host a Roundtable Discussion and Symposium to explore issues of immigration and resettlement in the context of Western New York.  This two-day participatory program includes panel discussions showcasing the area’s innovative responses to cultural sharing and accommodation, a workshop for artists, music and dance performances, exhibitions, and participatory art experiences.   Themes of the Roundtable Symposiumincludes micro-enterprise in community settings, place making through food, language, and changing neighborhood identities, responses to migration, and public and community health care.

Events will kick off on Friday, September 8, 2017 with a Curator’s talk by Lisa Catalfamo-Flores about her exhibition, El Sueño de América / The Dream of America: Separation & Sacrifice in the Lives of North Country Latino Immigrants, followed by musical and dance performances by members of Buffalo’s newcomer communities. (to be determine)

El Sueño de América / The Dream of America: Separation & Sacrifice in the Lives of North Country Latino Immigrants is a photographic exhibition that takes us from the milking parlors of surrounding counties to the cinder-block homes of Coyula, Guadalajara, Mexico, and back again. This straightforward perspective asks that we consider without bias or stereotype, the work being done, and the lives and sacrifices of the workers. Hard work and separation are underlying themes of these immigrants’ lives.

The program schedule for Saturday, September 9, 2017 begins with registration from 8:00 – 9:00 a.m. and the program begins with a traditional Thanksgiving Address by Bryan Printup of the Tuscarora Nation followed by Roundtable sessions examining place making through mechanisms of neighborhood revitalization, food, education, and language.   Panelists include Thaw Yee and Daniel Leong of the Karen Society of Buffalo, Amelia Blake of Explore and More Children’s Museum,  and Bryan Printup of the Tuscarora Nation.  Place making through Food and Language will include presentations by Elizabeth Bloom of Hartwick College, Ramin Ganesram, food journalist, and Julie Tay of the Mencius Society for the Arts.

Christina Pope, Regional Director for Welcoming America will provide a plenary address at 11:30 – 12:30, sharing Welcoming America’s three-pronged model for successfully bridging divides between immigrants and longer-term residents in “receiving” communities.  Launched in 2009, the non-profit Welcoming America has spurred a growing movement across the United States, with one in eight Americans living in a Welcoming Community. Their award-winning, social entrepreneurship model is predicated on assisting communities to create and articulate principles for inclusion.

The afternoon sessions beginning at 1:30 will focus upon Micro-Enterprise with panelists Dawne Hoeg of Stitch Buffalo; Ma Theint and Michell Holler of WEDI/West Side Bazaar; and Dr. Mirza Tihic of Syracuse University, providing a glimpse of innovative approaches to entrepreneurship in New York State.  This will be followed at 2:30 p.m. by a session on health challenges and initiatives, with participation by Laura Trolio of the New York Department of Health, Gamileh Jahil of ACCESS WNY, Michael Martin of Native American Community Services, moderated by Wilfredo Morel of Hudson River Health Care.

Participants will then be provided free transportation via the Discover Niagara Shuttle to experience art experiences in community venues.   Details to be announced.  The program will end with a closing address by Bryan Printup of the Tuscarora Nation.

To register, please visit the website of the New York Folklore Society at www.nyfolklore.org or call (518) 346-7008 for information.

tim winter