CFP: Obsidian: Call and Response Experiments in Joy

Obsidian Special Issue

CFP Call & Response Obsidian

Call & Response: Experiments in Joy

 Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora supports—through publication and scholarly and critical inquiry—the poetry, fiction, drama/performance, visual and media art works of Africans everywhere.  For this special issue, we aim to celebrate Call & Response, a historic gathering of Black women and performance and solicit new responses to its Call.

In Summer 2014, seven Black women performers—with different relationships to the words “Black,” “woman” and “performance”—came together from seven different cities to create and announce a Call, a collective prompt for artistic action. A month later, the artists reconvened to share their responses to the Call with each other and the Antioch community.

Their Call was to conduct ”Experiments in Joy.”

We now call you to offer your Responses.

Contributors to this issue may submit written or visual documentation of projects that respond directly to the original Call (included below) or critical/ theoretical engagement with its directive for art-making.

We also invite poetry, fiction, drama, performance text, creative non-fiction, critical and scholarly essays, conversations, interviews letters, original art work, word/ image experiments and digital projects that engage the form or theme of “call and response” and/ or offer a take on “experiments in joy.”

Topics may include the following, but are not limited to:

Black women and performance // chronologies /cartographies of Black performance art //Black play / Black plays / Black playlists // Black choreographies // Black art and activism // Black site-specific work and installations // Black formal experimentation // Black utopias/ dystopias// reconfigurations of the diasporic past // projections of Black future // afro-futurism // representations of Black pleasure // Black queer and trans possibilities // womanism in the 21st century // new visions for Black community/

Deadline for abstracts for scholarly essays: February 15, 2015.

Deadline for full papers (20 pages max): March 15, 2015.

Priority deadline for creative submissions: March 15, 2015.

Please submit completed texts as Word documents and/ or high-resolution images of original artwork as JPEG files on-line via

Submissions should adhere to the Journal’s style requirements available at Include with the submission a 50-word bio (Word document). Manuscripts must not exceed 20 pages (5,000 words).

Please direct inquiries for this issue to the co-editors at

We look forward to hearing from you!

Special Issue Editors:

Gabrielle Civil, Associate Professor of Performance, Antioch College

& Ebony Noëlle Golden, CEO of Betty’s Daughter Arts Collaborative


*       *       *
Call & Response Artists Announce the Call: Experiments in Joy
(Presented at Antioch College, Yellow Springs, OH — July 22, 2014)

From Lagos and Austin, Los Angeles, Louisville, Minneapolis, Chicago, Brooklyn, Seoul, Pétionville, the Arkansas Delta, Horseshoe Mountain, Busan, Detroit, New York City, Kentifrica, Puerto Rico, Beirut, Mexico City, Banjul, The Gambia and Yellow Springs, OH, we arrived to participate in Call & Response, an innovative dynamic of Black women and performance at Antioch College.  We are a diverse group of seven Black women artists with different relationships to the words “Black,” “women” and “performance.” For five days, we shared stories and forged a process. We debated privilege, agency and forgiveness. We worked, played, laughed, sang, presented work and considered what we are all called to do.

What is the urgency of our invention?
How can we engage in collective imaginin! g?
How does our work change when we create from a place of freedom?
What is irresistible to us?
Are you available to yourself and to your calling?
How can we negotiate invisibility and hyper-visibility in productive ways?
How do we undefine the defined?
How can we sharpen our awareness of energy and rhythm in the body?
How can we make art that manifests change for a more socially just world?
How can we move through or without fear?
How can we sustainably care for and be accountable to ourselves and one another?
How can we achieve radical openness?
How can we claim joy?

In response, we call you to conduct experiments in joy

This call invites you to play, explore, investigate and create: performance, poems, drawings, desserts, long walks, spirited discussions, textiles, hairstyle! s, dance, research—make it funky—cooking, music, maps, app! s, struc tures, sounds, movements, games, artifacts, political actions, adornment, manifestations, encounters, new intentions, letters, photographs, or anything else—surprise yourself! Here’s how to do it:

1. Tell the truth
2. Make something new
3. Invite someone in
4. Document
5. Repeat

This process can be collective or individual, a single event or daily practice. Reasons to respond include:
to participate in an artistic community; to connect to the enduring legacy of Black women artists; to experiment;
to play; to find new sources of joy; to confront obstacles to your joy; to learn how to inhabit joy while embattled; to make new work; to transform the work you’re already doing; to interact in new ways; to heal. We don’t have all the answers and we don’t always agree on the answers we have. We do know the conversation is urgent. Join us. Respond to the Call.

Gabrielle Civil, Duriel E. Harris, Kenyatta A. C. Hinkle, Rosa! mond S. King,
Wura-Natasha Ogunji, Miré Regulus, Awilda Rodríguez Lora

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