Archived News Post: Introduction
Public Lecture by Robert Sember
The Ballroom Freedom School: Notes on Appropriation
28 November 2019
Location: Kortestraat 27 (2nd floor), Arnhem

The Ballroom Freedom School: Notes on Appropriation
The Ballroom Freedom School is a convening of members of New York City’s House and Ballroom Scene, a creative and supportive community formed by Black and Latinx/e lesbian, transgender, bisexual and gay people. Using popular education strategies, Freedom School gatherings enable participants to build political literacy and define and address shared concerns and needs. As interest in the community grows, especially in its signature dance form, Vogue, the Ballroom community is having to address questions of appropriation, specifically the recasting of collectively created cultural forms into commodities created by individual artists. This talk provides an overview of the Ballroom school and outlines current debates regarding appropriation.


About Robert Sember

Robert Sember works at the intersection of art, public health, and social justice. He is a member of the sound art collective, Ultra-red, which contributes to political organizing initiatives in Los Angeles, New York, London, and Berlin. In New York, Robert works with the Black and Latino LGBTQ community on a political education and political organizing project rooted in the principles of popular education. Robert teaches interdisciplinary art at The New School in New York City where he also directs the Social Justice Scholars Program and the Prison Education Initiative. He is co-director of the Summer Institute for Sexuality, Culture, and Society at the University of Amsterdam, is a Senior Associate with the Center for Social Innovation in Boston, USA, and is a founding member of the 400 Years of Inequality initiative, which supports observances of the arrival of the first African in North America to be sold into bondage.