Fall Convergence: Memory & Memorial

By Laura Mansfield

The 9th annual Fall Convergence begins Thursday, Sept. 30, and runs through Saturday, Oct. 1. This year’s theme is Memory and Memorial, which invites participants to consider where and how memories are made: written into our very DNA, constructed and imposed by power systems, and collectively authored with others, whose memories may converge or diverge from our own.

“The last year has been filled with loss,” noted Dr. Amaranth Borsuk, who along with Dr. Ching-In Chen, organized this year’s event. Borsuk is associate professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences and serves as associate director of the Master in Fine Arts in Poetics program. Chen is assistant professor in the School of IAS. “In the last year, we have experienced a pandemic, police murders, public and private losses,” Borsuk said. “This fall we had the 20th anniversary of 9/11. How do we grapple with this moment?” 

Borsuk joined UW Bothell in 2012, the year that UW Bothell founding faculty Dr. Jeanne Heuving started the Fall Convergence series.

“The Convergence was my real introduction to campus life,” Borsuk said, noting that each year the event now “gives our students entry into a larger community of writer/thinkers.”

Virtual conference, real connection

The Fall Convergence in 2020 was virtual, and this year’s event will follow suit. 

“Last year, we were especially pleased with the high amount of participation from those who may not have been able to attend the Convergence when it was in-person,” Chen said. “Because we were cognizant about Zoom fatigue, we intentionally invited those performers and artists who we thought would bring an innovative approach to virtual performance and presence. 

“We are continuing this tradition this year,” Chen said, “with our commissioned performances Friday night. Some examples are Larissa Lai’s ‘movietalking’ videos based out of a performance practice where people used to talk over the movies to creatively tell a film’s story against the grain of the filmmaker’s intention as well as Aisha Sabatini Sloan’s new media exploration through image and sound.” 

The event will feature more than 20 presenters and performers. Borsuk said she is particularly excited about a new component that asks each presenter to provide a creative prompt for others to use. “The prompt is an instigation that can lead to making work. It’s a launching pad and akin to being under the mentorship of another writer,” she said. 

A digital e-book of all the prompts will be compiled by MFA student Madison Nikfard (IAS ’19) for distribution to participants. 

Saturday, the lineup features paired conversations. “We asked MFA students and alumni whose work seemed resonant with those presenting to moderate these conversations,” said Chen. For example, second-year MFA student Amy Hirayama will be in conversation with Tamiko Beyer and Purvi Shah who will be sharing from their experiences in creating ‘Together We Are New York,’ a collaborative performance that marked the 10-year anniversary of 9/11.” 

Alumni reunion

This annual event is an opportunity to engage with and promote MFA students and alumni, said Chen. 

 “This year, we are showcasing MFA alumni Stephanie Segura’s ‘Open Door Behind You,’ which documents her experience tracing the history of her family via artifacts and documents. 

“I am really excited about the participation of our MFA students and alumni in this year’s Convergence,” said Chen, “because it is an event organized to give our students the opportunity to interact with internationally celebrated writers, artists, performers and scholars — and be part of these emerging conversations in the field.” 

In addition to the Fall Convergence, the MFA program also hosts Gamut, a literary series in which students, alumni and faculty present readings for the public. View the Gamut website. 

Fall Convergence 2021 schedule & registration 

The Fall Convergence is free and will be held via Zoom. Registration is required. To register, click on the daily links or visit the Fall Convergence website. All events listed in Pacific Time. 

Thursday, Sept. 30, from 6-7:30 p.m. 

Register to attend Thursday's event 

Friday, Oct. 1, from 6-8 p.m. 

Register to attend Friday's event 

Saturday, Oct. 2, from 11 a.m.-7:30 p.m. 

Register to attend Saturday's events 

 


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