The GriffinHarte Foundation

Long Table Conversations



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2018 Grant:
Long Table Conversations

Gibney Dance, a dance company, a space, and a social action incubator recognizes its responsibility to provide space and time to work through complicated ideas. As Gibney seeks to become a home to the entire artistic community, programs focused on dialogue and community building are paramount to the success of this vision. In today’s socio-political atmosphere, the boundaries continue to blur between art and action and politics and resistance. While some may see these blurred lines as invasive or confusing, Gibney sees them as empowering and energizing calls to action. Gibney, since its inception, has supported artists using their art to highlight injustices in society and is honored to be part of the collective voice that continues to move society towards a more equitable future.

Long Table conversations are an active response to the ever-shifting needs of artists and audiences as they seek to situate themselves in the broader socio-political and socio-economic landscape. Long Table conversations adopt performance artist Lois Weaver’s non-hierarchical “Long Table” format, encouraging informal conversation around topics of concern to the community. Allowing for an abundance of free-flowing ideas, opinions, information, and energy, Long Tables have become a staple in Gibney’s menu of discourse events.

The benefits of the Long Table format are infinite. First and foremost, its non-hierarchical nature relieves pressure off of a traditional panelist role, one in which they are often expected to answer every single question and be an absolute expert on the given topic. Furthermore, a panel setup often means that only a few people in the room have the opportunity to speak over the course of one or two hours. Long Tables encourage non-traditional “experts” to voice their thoughts and opinions, and does not allow any one person in the room to hold power over the discussion. Center Line reflects Gibney’s commitment to the idea of the upward spiral – a concept in which artists’ successes bolster the organization’s successes, and together, this shared growth brings the field to new heights.

Examples of recent Gibney Long Tables are Sexual Harassment in the Dance Industry; Decolonizing Dance; Women Move Forward: Dance in Feminism; White on White(ness); Rape Culture & Sexual Violence in the Arts; Black in Ballet; and Dance is Sex Positive.

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