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U. Illinois music workshops to focus on Black Lives Matter, white supremacy

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign will be holding a pair of race-based workshops for its School of Music students next month.

The College Fix was made aware that the sessions in question are not available on the SoM’s public event page.

The first workshop, titled “Black Lives Matter and Music,” will be led by James Madison PhD student Amy Lewis. According to her JMU page, Lewis’s research interests include “unionism within music education, [and] anti-racism pedagogy within music education.”

She’s also “a core member” of the Lansing, Michigan chapter of Black Lives Matter.”

Lewis’s event bio also notes she is “focused on Critical Race Theory in music education” and is “an active clinician and guest lecturer on topics pertaining to equity in music education.”

Taking place every Thursday of next month beginning July 9, “Black Lives Matter and Music” will “explore the foundations of organizations focused on Black lives, consider music as artistic counternarrative, and examine music school settings as they relate to racial equity and justice.”

The second seminar, “White Supremacy and Music,” will be hosted by U. Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Adam Kruse. Its description states

This online workshop will explore the ways that white supremacy manifests in our lives, our communities, and our work in the School of Music at the University of Illinois. It is intended for students who hold white privilege though all students are welcome to participate. The workshop will center on Layla Saad’s book, Me and White Supremacy and will include personal reflective journaling, shared critical dialogue in large and small groups, and planning for committed action. Topics covered will include anti-blackness, color blindness, cultural appropriation, optical allyship, racist stereotypes, tokenism, tone policing, and white apathy, centering, exceptionalism, feminism, fragility, privilege, saviorism, silence, superiority, and supremacy.

That’s quite a list.

Kruse, who teaches “popular music and music technology” and co-directs the UI School of Music’s Summer Hip-Hop Camp, is clear to point out that his workshop “is not a debate” (emphasis in the original): “It is assumed that participants already acknowledge [white privilege and white supremacy].”

Further, the sessions are “not an experience designed to discuss ‘those white people out there’ or white people as a generalized concept […] this is about you as an individual who holds white privilege and your relationship to white supremacy.”

Students “who do not identify as white and do not hold white privilege” are still welcome to attend; however, they must understand that all event materials are devoted to those who have (white) privilege.

Read the complete events flyer.

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