Disrupting the Binding 2023
Lanesboro Arts presents “Disrupting the Binding: Building Anti-Racist Culture,” a series of free community workshops led by artists Ben Weaver with Carolyn Holbrook, Jothsna Harris, and Walken Schweigert. This three-part series will take place on September 9th, October 8th, and November 5th at the St. Mane Theatre.
This workshop invites community members into an emergent and circular space to contextualize and better understand the systemic and pervasive nature of racism and bias. This year will differ from previous years’ iterations by focusing on a community visioning process that will ask: “How can we all work together to create structure to do this work in the community?” Our facilitators will work with participants using poetry, music, and storytelling to explore the necessary healing that precedes our ability to truly imagine and create a new culture that does not perpetuate the existing structural harms. In each workshop, participants will receive writing prompts, and will be invited to share the resulting writing/poems at the final Capstone. The Capstone will also feature music from Ben Weaver and Walken Schweigert, as well as a reading from Carolyn Holbrook.
This work is lifelong and ongoing, thus we invite both new and past participants to join us. We also ask if you are considering joining us that you attend all four of the workshops. Disrupting the Binding is capped at 15 participants. Registration is free, but required to participate. Participants can register at the link on this page to reserve your place.
Workshop 1: Saturday, September 9th, 10 am – 1 pm
Led by Ben Weaver and Carolyn Holbrook
Workshop 2: Sunday, October 8th, 1 – 4 pm
Led by Ben Weaver, Jothsna Harris
Workshop 3: Sunday, November 5th, 1 – 4 pm
Led by Ben Weaver, Walken Schweigert
Capstone: Sunday, November 5th, 7 pm
Performance with Ben Weaver, Walken Schweigert, and Carolyn Holbrook
Ben Weaver is a poet, songwriter, athlete, letterpress printer/book maker, and public speaker whose experiences make him uniquely qualified to connect residents with natural spaces, find ways to give back through outreach with seniors and students, and build community through storytelling and exchange that help awaken greater reciprocity between people and the land. The songs and poems Weaver writes/performs work to dispel illusions of division.
Carolyn Holbrook is a writer, educator, and an advocate for the healing power of the arts. Her memoir, Tell Me Your Names and I Will Testify (Minn 2020), won the 2021 Minnesota Book Award for Memoir and Creative Nonfiction. She is founder and director of the Twin Cities-based conversation series, More Than a Single Story, and is co-editor with David Mura of the anthology, We Are Meant to Rise: Voices for Justice from Minneapolis to the World published by University of MN Press with More Than a Single Story (Minn2021). She is also co-author with Arleta Little of Dr. Josie Johnson’s memoir, Hope In the Struggle (Minn 2019). She is the recipient of numerous grants and fellowships. She won the Minnesota Book Awards Kay Sexton Award in 2010 and was a 50 over 50 honoree in 2016. She teaches at the Loft Literary Center and other community venues, and at Hamline University, where she won the exemplary teacher award in 2014. She is the mother of 5, grandmother of 8 and great grandmother of 2.
Jothsna Harris (she/her) is the founder of Change Narrative LLC. With a decade of experience building capacity for the climate justice movement, most recently as the Director of Special Projects and Partnerships at the Minneapolis-based non-profit Climate Generation, where she focused on storytelling initiatives and public engagement for seven years. Jothsna has designed and implemented award-winning climate change programs rooted in community, centering personal stories and other values-based ways that resonate, coaching thousands of people to find compelling narratives to share at live events, on radio, and in print media. Jothsna led the creative process and co-edited the 2020 book, Eyewitness: Minnesota Voices on Climate Change; she is the Producer of the 2022 MN Fringe Festival ‘Venue Pick’ show Changing the Narrative: Climate Stories for Justice, and the recipient of the 2023 Creative Climate Communications Award from the Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership. Jothsna is a 2023 Obama USA Leader named among 100 change-makers working across the United States to strengthen democracy. She currently serves on The Great Northern Festival Board of Directors.
Walken Schweigert (he/him) is a queer/transgender actor, musician, composer and director from St. Paul, MN. A 2019 Jerome Foundation Fellow, he is a 2009 graduate of the Dell’ Arte International School for Physical Theatre, and a 2006 graduate of the Perpich Center for Arts Education (Theatre Major). Currently, he performs with the poetic-folk band Buffalo Weavers (Saint Paul, MN) and the Occult-inspired, baroque-horror, Detroit-based band CRUNE. He is also the Founder/Co-Artistic Director of Open Flame Theatre, which just premiered his newest opera, >The Garden>, at Philadelphia Community Farm (September 2021) thanks in part to a JFund Award from the American Composers Forum.<
This series is supported by the Minnesota State Arts Board through a grant provided from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council by the voters of Minnesota, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.