On Sept. 8-9, 2017, the New York Folklore Society, a statewide nonprofit arts organization supporting folklife and traditional arts, and the Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University, will host a roundtable discussion and symposium to explore challenges in the intersection of immigration, resettlement and cultural traditions in Western New York.
This two-day participatory program at the Castellani Art Museum includes panel discussions showcasing the area’s innovative responses to cultural sharing and accommodation, a workshop for artists, musicians and dance performances, exhibitions, and pop-up activities. Themes of the roundtable symposium include microenterprise in community settings, place making through food, language, and changing neighborhood identities, responses to migration, and public and community healthcare.
Events will kick off Friday, Sept. 8 with a professional development workshop for traditional artists, dancers and musicians organized by Arts Services Initiative of Western New York and dance performances by members of Buffalo’s newcomer communities and local Haudenosaunee community, beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Registration on Saturday, Sept. 9 takes place 8-9 a.m. The program begins with a traditional Thanksgiving address by Bryan Printup of the Tuscarora Nation, followed by two roundtable sessions examining place making through mechanisms of neighborhood revitalization, food, education, and language. Speakers in the first session include Thaw Yee and Daniel Leong of the Karen Society of Buffalo, Amelia Blake of Explore and More Children’s Museum, and Bryan Printup of the Tuscarora Nation. The following session focusing on food and language includes presentations by Elizabeth Bloom of Hartwick College, Ramin Ganeshram, food journalist, and Julie Tay of the Mencius Society for the Arts.
Christina Pope, Regional Director for Welcoming America will provide a plenary address at 11:30 a.m., sharing Welcoming America’s three-pronged model for successfully bridging divides between immigrants and longer-term residents in “receiving” communities. Launched in 2009, the nonprofit Welcoming America has spurred a growing movement across the United States, with 1 in 8 Americans living in a Welcoming community. The organization’s award-winning, social entrepreneurship model is predicated on assisting communities to create and articulate principles for inclusion.
The afternoon sessions begin at 1:30 with a look into microenterprise and entrepreneurship initiatives with panelists Dawne Hoeg of Stitch Buffalo; Ma Theint of Moon Lady Arts and Crafts, Michelle Holler of WEDI/West Side Bazaar; and Dr. Mirza Tihic of Syracuse University. This will be followed at 2:30 p.m. by the final session looking into healthcare challenges and initiatives, with participation by Laura Trolio of the New York Department of Health, Gamileh Jamil of ACCESS WNY, and Michael Martin of Native American Community Services. It will be moderated by Wilfredo Morel of Hudson River Health Care.
Participants can access free transportation via the Discover Niagara Shuttle to continue exploring the conference theme of place-based adaptation in a guided tour to Goat Island led by Alan Jamieson Sr.
The conference concludes with a closing reception at the Niagara Crossing Hotel and Spa, and a closing address by Bryan Printup of the Tuscarora Nation.