Working in a space of public ethnography, anthropology, and dance, Rutgers professor Aimee Cox has brought her unique integration of dance, ethnography, and community activism to Newark with her program for young women in Newark called The BlackLight Project.
Modeled off of previous community work and research she completed in Detroit, Michigan, BlackLight is a space for integrating creative expression and personal experience through the power of movement, empowering women and helping them to define their urban and social environments on their own terms:
BlackLight is a performance ethnography project. We utilize the creativity and critical insight of a multigenerational group of women to offer social commentary that confronts persistent structural problems. Through movement and text-based performances, workshops, classes and street theater events, we reimagine the possibilities for living in under-resourced urban environments. Honoring the political power and unique cultural productions found in every community is at the core of our arts activist work.
Training young women in dance, creative writing, and interview methods, The BlackLight Project teaches young women how to use creativity and movement–derived from interviews, writing, and critical conversation about personal experiences as women of color in urban spaces–to foster new spaces of inclusion for women in the urban community.
Prof. Cox has plans for a wider-reaching project that will recruit various groups of women from the Newark area. Interviews on women’s experiences will then be integrated into performance projects that she will be putting on in the coming months. If you are interested in working on the project–as an interviewee, dancer, or in any capacity–please get in contact with her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Side note: Prof. Cox also teaches modern dance classes in Newark open to the public at Symphony Hall on Wednesday nights–no previous dance experience necessary!
Images from a BlackLight workshop in New Brunswick this past November.
Photographs taken by Monica Barra