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Announcement
March 10, 2021

Visiting Speaker Series at the School of Art

Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts at the University of Houston

Clockwise: Lisa E. Harris. Rob Hopkins with Mayor of Mouans-Sartoux and members of his cabinet. Miwa Matreyek. Lisa E. Harris, Cry of the Third Eye a new opera film in Three Acts (still), 2020. Rob Hopkins. Miwa Matreyek, Infinitely Yours (still), 2020. Multimedia performance. Photo: Keida Mascaro.

The University of Houston School of Art is proud to announce its spring 2021 visiting speaker series, featuring practitioners and thinkers at the forefront of contemporary art, criticism, and design. Distinguished guests offer a diverse range of perspectives on the most pertinent issues facing today’s makers and scholars. The series is a key component of students’ experience at the School of Art. In addition to presenting their work to a large audience of students and community members, speakers spend extended periods engaging directly with students in small gatherings for focused debate and conversation, in formats tailored to their individual practice. Past engagements have included hands-on workshops, master classes, studio visits, demonstrations, and interactive performances. Recent guests include Derek Adams, Charlene Villaseñor Black, Aruna D'Souza, Beverly Fishman, Coco Fusco, Nicholas Galanin, Jeffrey Gibson, De Nichols, David Rokeby, RaMell Ross, Richard The, and Margaret Wertheim.

This spring our series goes online, broadcasting via Zoom and YouTube Live. All lectures are free and open to the public. Check our website for connection information. You can view our archive of past lectures on our YouTube channel.

Rob Hopkins is the founder of the Transition movement, starting the first Transition initiative in his town of Totnes in 2006. He is the author of several books on the subject including The Transition Handbook and The Power of Just Doing Stuff. His most recent book, From What Is to What If: unleashing the power of imagination to create the future we want explores the decline of imagination in our culture and what we might do about it. He hosts the podcast series From What If to What Next and lectures and writes widely on the subject. He has a PhD from the University of Plymouth, and two honorary ones, from the University of the West of England, and the University of Namur. He has done one TED Global talk, and four TEDx presentations, and he is a founder director of the New Lion Brewery in Totnes. His blog is robhopkins.net, and you'll find him on Twitter as @robintransition. In his spare time he draws and makes lino prints.

Lisa E. Harris, Li, is an independent and interdisciplinary artist, creative soprano, performer, composer, improvisor, writer, singer/songwriter and educator from Houston Texas. Recognized by Huffington Post as “one of 14 artist transforming Opera," Li’s work resists genre classification as she focuses on the energetic relationships between body, land, spirit and place. Using voice, theremin, movement, improvisation, meditation and new media to explore spatial awareness, relationality, panoptical surveillance and sonic profiling, she maintains a focused concentration on healing in performance and living. She is the founder and creative director of Studio Enertia, an arts collective and production company in Houston Texas. Studio Enertia is the producer of Harris’s recently completed 10-year durational work, Cry of the Third Eye, a new opera film in Three Acts that archives the effects of gentrification on her Houston neighborhood. Li recently created and curated Houston’s inaugural Free Time Flow Festival at MacGregor Park, celebrating the intersections of basketball, electro-acoustic music and improvisational performance. She is responsible for instating and curating auline Oliveros Day at Discovery Green Houston. Li can be heard on her much-anticipated release EarthSeed a live performance album based on the writings of Octavia Butler, composed by Lisa E Harris and Nicole Mitchell on FPE records.

Miwa Matreyek is an animator, designer, and performer based in Los Angeles. Coming from a background in animation, Matreyek creates live, interdisciplinary performances where she interacts with her animations as a shadow silhouette, at the intersection of cinematic and theatrical, fantastical and physical, and the hand-made and digital. Her work exists in a dreamlike visual space that makes invisible worlds visible, often weaving surreal and poetic narratives of conflict between humanity and nature as embodied performed experiences. She has presented her work all around the world, including animation/film festivals, theater/performance festivals, art museums, science museums, tech conferences, and universities. A few past presenters include TED, MOMA, SFMOMA, New Frontier at Sundance Film Festival, REDCAT, The Walker, The Wexner, and many more. Her newest solo piece, Infinitely Yours, was awarded the grand prize for Prix Arts Electronica’s Computer Animation category.

At the UH School of Art, we celebrate the centrality of art and design as drivers of culture and recognize their importance to the vitality of a civil society. We train artists, designers, and art historians who will inform, engage and move us toward a better understanding of each other and the communities we inhabit. We do this by making a commitment to connect the creativity of art to the practice of global citizenship, equipping our students with strategies for making and tools for living that value diverse human expression, ethics and social engagement.

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