Black Lives Matter

23rd September, 2020

The Black Lives Matter protests in the summer of 2020 have given unprecedented visibility to the potency of Black bodies claiming breath, life and movement in public space. PoP Moves stands in solidarity with these protests and expresses an ongoing, long-term commitment to repudiating racism, anti-blackness and white supremacy. As a network dedicated to promoting research into popular dance, we value the corporeal expressions of marginalised and brutalised communities. We stand up for these practices in the face of hierarchies of art, taste and pleasure that are built on white supremacist power. And yet we acknowledge that our work is deeply informed by our training and continuing participation in a dance studies field built on white hegemony. We commit to reflecting on the ways these ideologies have shaped our methodologies, committee compositions and systems of working, and to taking action to ensure that every aspect of our organisation reflects our dedication to valuing and honouring Black life.

We envisage a series of short-, medium- and long-term actions through which anti-racism and feminism become fully embedded as central features of our network. These build on initiatives towards decolonisation, addressing immobilities and geopolitical/linguistic decentring that have accompanied our international growth over the last decade. Our planning also navigates the constraints and opportunities of the COVID-19 pandemic by focusing on online actions in the short term.

In the next 12 months, PoP Moves will:

  • organise and host a series of online panel discussions on popular dance and anti-racism;

In the next 2 years, PoP Moves will:

  • explicitly address issues of race and social justice in our 2021 annual conference, building on the success of our 2019 conference, Moving Beyond Coloniality;

Starting immediately and as an ongoing process, PoP Moves will:

  • identify and break down barriers to the participation in our conferences and committees of people identifying as BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, casualised faculty, creative practitioners, non-English-speaking, differently-abled, and other marginalised groups, building on our Addressing (Im)mobilities programme;
  • reflect deeply on the internal structures, processes and institutional culture(s) of PoP Moves as a network and of each of its decentred nodes, to ensure that anti-racism is embedded throughout;  

We welcome dialogue about this action plan and embrace the collaborative, sometimes uncomfortable work needed to fully realise our aspirations.

Signed,

Clare Parfitt, Chair of PoP Moves International, Chair of PoP Moves UK

Jen Atkins, Chair of the PoP Moves DSA working group

Arpita Bajpeyi, PoP Moves Americas Committee member

Elena Benthaus, Chair of PoP Moves Australasia, Chair of Peer-mentoring Sub-Committee

Elizabeth Bergman, PoP Moves Americas Committee member

Sherril Dodds, PoP Moves Americas Committee member

Jo Hall, PoP Moves UK Committee member

Deanne Kearney, Secretary of PoP Moves International

Julie Malnig, International Committee liaison, PoP Moves Americas

Jacqueline Melindy, Secretary of PoP Moves Americas

Francesca Miles, PoP Moves Francophonie Committee member

Celena Monteiro, PoP Moves UK Committee member

Jason Noer, University of Minnesota, PoP Moves Americas Committee member

David Olarte, Co-Chair of PoP Moves Americas

Alex Quinn, Chair of the Website Sub-Committee, Secretary of PoP Moves UK

Laura Robinson, Treasurer of PoP Moves UK

Karen Schupp, PoP Moves Americas Committee member

Laura Steil, Chair of PoP Moves Francophonie, Chair of Social Media Sub-Committee

Deborah Williams, Chair of the Fundraising Sub-Committee, PoP Moves UK and International Committee member

BLM Statement (español)

BLM Statement (français)

BLM Statement (deutsche)

A note on the translation process:

We would like to recognise the labour — cultural, political and emotional — deployed in translating the terms of an urgent struggle, both variously localised and irrevocably global. The weeks-long email trail between the translators, linked below, traces our ongoing commitment towards a truly global anti-racism, our efforts to address immobilities and barriers to participation, as well as our geopolitical/linguistic decentring.

Issues arising from the translation process of BLM statement