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Shifting Cultural Power

Case Studies and Questions in Performance

Hope Mohr

134 pages
University of Akron Press
Shifting Cultural Power is a reckoning with white cultural power and a call to action. The book locates the work of curating performance in conversations about social change, with a special focus on advancing racial equity in the live arts. Based on the author's journey as a dancer, choreographer, and activist, as well as on her ten years of leading The Bridge Project, a performing arts presenting platform in the Bay Area, Shifting Cultural Power invites us to imagine new models of relationship among artists and within arts organizations—models that transform our approach, rather than simply re-cast who holds power. Mohr covers such subjects as transitioning a hierarchical nonprofit to a model of distributed leadership; expanding the canon; having difficult conversations about race; and reckoning with aesthetic bias. “When we reckon with and de-center whiteness, we open imaginative space for decolonized models of artmaking and art community, “ Mohr writes. “We create possibilities for shifting cultural power.” Featuring case studies of socially engaged projects in the performing arts; a workbook for embodied research; an archive of The Bridge Project's ten-year history; and transcripts of landmark performance events.
Author Bio
Hope Mohr has woven art and activism for decades as a choreographer, curator, and advocate. She founded Hope Mohr Dance (HMD) to create, present and foster outstanding art at the intersection of the body and the brain. The Bridge Project, HMD’s signature presenting platform, creates and supports equity-driven live art that builds community and centers artists as agents of change. In 2020, Mohr co-stewarded HMD’s transition to an equity-driven model of distributed leadership. As a dancer, Mohr trained at San Francisco Ballet School and the Merce Cunningham and Trisha Brown Studios. She performed in the companies of dance pioneers Lucinda Childs and Trisha Brown. While dancing professionally, Mohr earned a JD from Columbia Law School. As an attorney, she provides counsel and support for artists and culture workers. www.hopemohr.org