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December 16, 2019
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Sophia Academy
582 Elmwood Ave.
Providence, RI 02907 United States
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Context & Conversation: “Who’s There?”

Co-presented with Providence Public Library

Community Partner: Sophia Academy

Inspired by Tanya Saracho’s Fade

For more information on Context & Conversation, please click here.

To reserve tickets for this event, please click here.

At every encounter with a new person we are looking for cues to tell us who’s there. How do we analyze features, clothing, build, coloring, accent, mannerisms – and what assumptions do we make from those? And is the other person focused on the same cues when meeting us? Do they interpret what they see as we would?  Can they see past what we want to present to what we hope no one might notice? Can either of us trust our judgement? Or do first impressions always tell us more about ourselves than the other person? Join Magnolia Pérez, a poet, playwright, and teaching artist at Rhode Island Latino Arts and Pegah Rahmanian, the Director of the Unity Center at Rhode Island College,  for a conversation about learning to doubt our eyes and ears, if only momentarily, in order to better see and hear the world around us.

Panelists and Scholar:

Madison Paulk is a PhD student in the Department of Anthropology at Brown University. Her primary focus is urban anthropology and public art in South Africa. Specifically, she is interested in the ways in which visual artistic practice transforms and transects multiple experiences of the city. As South Africa moves into its twenty-fifth year of democratic governance, she engages with the ways in which Black South African artists interpret and reflect socio-political changes, frustrations around the unchanged, and visions and promises for the future. Furthermore, she is interested in the ways in which visual artists incorporate indigenous knowledges into their works and what aspects of this are reflected in a re-imagining of Durban as both a post-apartheid city and an African city.

Magnolia Pérez is a poet, playwright, and teaching artist at Rhode Island Latino Arts.  She has worked with the Manton Avenue Project, Everett Dance Theatre, Trinity Rep, FringePVD, PVDFest, and Teatro en el Verano.  As a Latinx artist, she has brought a bilingual and cultural awareness to the local events and theatres in the community.

Pegah Rahmanian is the Director of the Unity Center at Rhode Island College and was formerly the Executive Director of Youth in Action. Originally from Yellow Springs, Ohio her work and heart have taken her to Chicago, New Orleans, Oakland, and now Providence. While making her way across the country, she has had the opportunity to develop and grow a youth-led HIV Prevention Program, instituted citywide and institution wide programming on gender, race, class, and sexuality; guided youth steering committees to design community schools, pioneered digital media arts programs, and has taken over 300 urban youth outdoors, backpacking and camping. Pegah holds a B.A. from Oberlin College in Anthropology, Comparative American Studies, and Gender and Women Studies; and a M.A. from Wright State University in Sociology.

Amber Fermin is an eighth grade student at Sophia Academy who enjoys writing and listening to music. Fermin also enjoys plays, specifically Shakespeare’s work. Her favorite is Macbeth. Amber is the youngest out of three siblings. Amber hopes to attend Milton Academy next fall.

Xairy Guerrero is an eighth grader at Sophia Academy. She enjoys helping her sister design clothes and watching old films. She hopes to become a psychiatrist and an entrepreneur in the future, along with owning her dad’s renovation company, Casa Blanca. She also enjoys making and selling jewelry, and videography.

Faith Roane is an eighth grade student at Sophia Academy who enjoys reading and astronomy. She is the youngest of six children and enjoys spending time with her siblings and friends. Faith hopes to attend St. Andrews next fall and is excited to start high school and become a well-connected part of her community.