Diversity News

Posted on Tuesday, July 3, 2012 by Lindsey Westbrook

Equal of the Sun
Scribner, 2012
Hardcover, 448 pages, $26

Legendary women -- from Anne Boleyn to Queen Elizabeth I to Mary, Queen of Scots -- changed the course of history in the royal courts of 16th-century England. They are celebrated in history books and novels, but few know of the powerful women in the Muslim world, who formed alliances, served as key advisers to rulers, lobbied for power on behalf of their sons, and ruled in their own right. Equal of the Sun, a novel by Anita Amirrezvani (Writing faculty) is a tale of power, loyalty, and love in the royal court of Iran.

Her protagonist is Princess Pari Khan Khanoom Safavi. Iran in 1576 is a place of wealth and dazzling beauty. But when the Shah dies without having named an heir, the court is thrown into tumult. Princess Pari, the Shah’s daughter, knows more about the inner workings of the state than almost anyone, but the princess’s maneuvers to instill order after her father’s sudden death incite resentment and dissent. Pari and her closest adviser, Javaher, a eunuch able to navigate the harem as well as the world beyond the palace walls, are in possession of an incredible tapestry of secrets and information that reveals a power struggle of epic proportions.

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Posted on Thursday, June 28, 2012 by Amanda E. Gross

from Team JuaBar IMPACT 2012 project proposal

Within the next few weeks, the three teams of CCA students who won IMPACT Social Entrepreneurship Awards will be heading to Alaska, Tanzania, and Mexico to attempt innovative social transformations. Bolstered by the support of their $10,000 IMPACT grants and their community partner organizations, the teams -- KVAK TV, JuaBar, and 20/20 FOTO -- will work to empower three different communities to address pressing local concerns. Each team brings together a mix of graduate and undergraduate students from different academic programs.

IMPACT is one of the anchor programs at CCA's Center for Art and Public Life, providing students with opportunities to build relationships for social change. It is about innovation, community, collaboration, and making. It celebrates the entrepreneurial drive of CCA students combined with their desire to create a tangible, positive influence within a specific community.

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Posted on Wednesday, May 30, 2012 by Christina Linden

Amy Campos and CCA students at the Dolores Shelter Program

In fall 2011, CCA faculty member Amy Campos and a group of Interior Design students worked with Dolores Shelter Program (DSP) as part of an ENGAGE at CCA course. Their brief: to generate ideas for the renovation of DSP's homeless shelter on South Van Ness in the Mission District of San Francisco.

The facility's residents are in great need of an empowering and supportive sense of place, hope, and safety, and the aspiration was to facilitate this via better space planning and organization, and the creation of more durable and usable furnishings and storage.

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Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 by Christina Linden

Eduardo Pineda (right) plans the Shorenstein site mural with students in his ENGAGE at CCA course

Eduardo Pineda is a recent addition to CCA's Diversity Studies faculty, but he is a member of long standing in Bay Area community-arts circles. Since he has begun teaching at the college, he has gravitated in particular to the programs hosted through CCA's Center for Art and Public Life, especially the ENGAGE at CCA courses, in which students work with community-based organizations and outside experts to address pressing local issues.

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Posted on Monday, May 21, 2012 by Chris Bliss

CCA trustees Noel Perry and Ann Morhauser, CCA President Steve Beal, KQED's Michael Krasny, and event chair Kay Kimpton Walker

Best-selling author and NPR humorist David Sedaris is one of the funniest and smartest writers working today and he did not disappoint the sold-out crowd of 2,000 at the special CCA benefit reading on May 3 at Zellerbach Auditorium in Berkeley.

Gathering thunderclouds and bumper-to-bumper traffic couldn’t deter CCA supporters and diehard fans from their goal of hearing Sedaris “talk pretty,” although some of his commentary -- which ranged from colonoscopies to a macabre search for the perfect Valentine’s Day present -- wouldn’t necessarily qualify as pretty.

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Posted on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 by Brook Hinton

John Waters in Conversation -- a CCA milestone [photo: Jim Norrena]

Legendary film director John Waters (Pink Flamingos (1972); Female Trouble (1974); Polyester (1981); Hairspray (1988); Cry Baby (1990); Serial Mom (1994); A Dirty Shame (2004)) made a special guest appearance at CCA as part of the Film Program’s Cinema Visionaries Lecture Series.

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Posted on Monday, April 23, 2012 by Simon Hodgson

Sanjit Sethi

What links the children of Oakland's Emery Secondary School with the inmates of San Quentin? Answer: CCA students have worked with both in partner programs organized by CCA's Center for Art and Public Life. The Center, operating out of an unassuming office on Broadway opposite CCA's main Oakland campus, is a dynamic hub connecting the college with organizations across the Bay Area operating in the fields of art, education, business, design, community work, ecology, and beyond. Its ever-widening network is overseen by the Center's director, Sanjit Sethi, whose formidable leadership skills and affable manner have made him much admired and extraordinarily well connected.

In the last four years, Sethi and the Center have focused their activities into three well-defined programs, which immediately benefit hundreds of CCA students every year. ENGAGE at CCA organizes semester-long courses in collaboration with faculty members that occur across disciplines throughout the college and operate in partnership with outside organizations such as Bethany Senior Center Housing or the Temescal Mural Project to solve specific, well-defined issues. The IMPACT Social Entrepreneurship Awards give up to $10,000 to interdisciplinary teams of CCA students to devise, plan, and execute social and humanitarian projects benefiting specific communities, anywhere in the world, over one summer. CCA CONNECTS are structured "externships" in which 40 students every year work at outside organizations such as the design firm Rebar or the architectural group Asian Neighborhood Design.

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Posted on Thursday, April 19, 2012 by Mitchell Schwarzer

Mitchell Schwarzer gives his introduction at the CCA faculty retreat

On February 4, 2012, the faculty at California College of the Arts gathered at the college's San Francisco campus for a retreat focused on the state of the arts across our many disciplines. In the morning, 25 short presentations offered insights into challenges and opportunities faced by practitioners and thinkers in recent times. The word aired most frequently was crisis: the crisis of the Great Recession; the crisis of Global Climate Change; the crisis of understanding and working within a discipline in our digital age.

Watch the video of all the presentations (91 minutes), shot and edited by Yoni Klein (Photography 2012)

The economic downturn has produced an economic squeeze within most of our disciplines. Art directors, as Alexis Mahrus remarks, have diminished roles in shaping an illustration. Smaller profit margins reduce the flexibility and time given over to experimentation. Branding and celebrity worship take up a larger slice of the creative pie. Some presenters, like Sue Redding of Industrial Design, see no problem in this conflation of art and business and, furthermore, dispute the notion of a crisis. Yet many presenters feel that the economic crisis is not only real but wielding dangerously asymmetrical impacts. Demand remains strong for high-end craft goods and blue-chip fine art. Some small nonprofits are struggling to survive. To Ignacio Valero of Critical Studies, the priority given over to luxury items can be attributed to the ongoing influence of classical economic policies that privilege individual decision making over collective social and natural needs. Likewise, Sandra Vivanco of Diversity Studies notes that economic inequalities have greatly worsened over the past few years, especially in the developing world. Contemporary society is forging a timeless, spaceless way of conducting business, a race for lucrative and short-term gains that concentrates investment more than ever in the hands of a few.

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Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 by Jim Norrena

A documentary short by Yoni Klein and Alka Joshi

Blink once for finalist, twice for student Academy Award.

In almost as little time as it takes to blink, Yoni Klein's (2012 Photography) and alumna Alka Joshi's (MFA 2011 Writing) documentary short, Blink, made the film festival rounds in 2011, screening at almost a dozen film festivals across the United States as well as in London at GFEST, the Gaywise Festival! Now the film has just been announced as a regional finalist in the 39th annual Student Academy Awards competition of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the Academy) and the Academy Foundation!

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Posted on Friday, April 13, 2012 by Simon Hodgson

Brian Conley, Miniature War in Iraq . . . and Now Afghanistan, 2010

Fine Arts faculty member Brian Conley spent part of his fall 2011 sabbatical in the Middle East assisting in the launch of a new nonprofit organization, Sada (Echo) for Contemporary Iraqi Art. Sada was founded just last year by the Baghdad-born curator and Fulbright fellow Rijin Sahakian, who saw a critical need for support in the creation, presentation, and preservation of contemporary art in Iraq.

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