Last July, the Inaugural Summer Institute took as its focus the grassroots political education of activist leaders, artists, filmmakers, and directors of organizations. Over three days of discussion, communal surfing, and presentations, an international group of participants charted next steps for their own projects as well as made new connections amongst Institute participants. The first meeting created a vision of what the IWS mission should be: to provide a space of engaged discussion, supportive networking, and practical skill-building on topics of crucial importance to surf activism.
This year our topic is Storytelling, Sustainability, Building a Movement.
Storytelling, as a mode of activism, can inspire and outrage. Stories teach and move people to action. Especially in an era of global technology, storytelling has come to be an indispensible tool in local/global social change strategies. Not just filmmakers or writers, but bloggers, non-profits, oral history collectors, historians, music makers, and others, do advocacy work through storytelling. But stories are never simple, and finding or telling new stories is not as straightforward as it might seem. How do we tell stories of individuals, or of groups, in ways that will transform surf culture and create the new social worlds and ways of being to which we aspire?
Sustainability and issues of environment are dear to the hearts and minds of surfers. On average, surfers know a lot more than non-surfers about ocean health, climate issues, marine life, and water quality. And yet how seriously has surf culture, surf industry, many surf researchers, or even organizations like Surfrider Foundation, thought about the relation of women, or gender, to issues of environment, sustainability, or development? The rank and file of eco-activism is often women and girls, but the top ranks of surf eco-institutions lack female leadership and feminist perspectives. What thinking and action models help clarify how much “environmental justice” movements already are occupied centrally with women/girls?
The fact of a growing global social movement in surfing, organized around justice and gender issues, threads through topics like storytelling and sustainability. The efforts of the Institute join efforts elsewhere and aim toward goals larger than any of us as individuals. Building a Movement focuses us so that Institute participants have the chance to identify priorities for a broad surfeminist platform and take practical steps toward action.
Drawing from experience in collecting stories and building activist communities for the Women Who Rock project at University of Washington, Michelle’s workshop reflects on the role of women and pop music in creating cultural scenes that anchor social justice movements in the Américas. Michelle’s work with storytelling, women of color feminism, and rockers, serves as a model of community building and feminist ethics for our work in surfing. See http://womenwhorockcommunity.org/
Raised on L.A. radio, Michelle Habell-Pallán grew up in Southeast Los Angeles County California. She is a professor of Chicana/Latina Studies in the Department of Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies and adjunct in the School of Music and Communication at the University of Washington. She was awarded a PhD in Literature and Cultural Studies from the University of California at Santa Cruz.
A respected cultural critic, digital archivista, and curator, she authored Loca Motion: The Travels of Chicana/Latina Popular Culture (NYU Press) and coedited Latino/a Popular Culture (NYU Press). She guest-curated the award-winning bilingual and currently traveling exhibit American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music hosted by Smithsonian Institution’s Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES). As a digital feminista she transforms digital humanities through community engagement, as co-director of University of Washington Libraries Women Who Rock: Making Scenes, Building Communities Oral History Archive. She is guest editor with Shelly Eversley of the Autumn 2015 Special Issue of WSQ (Women Studies Quarterly) "The 1970s" @ http://www.feministpress.org/books/wsq-1970s. She's a member of the Seattle Fandango Project, a collective that builds community through the sharing of son jarocho music protocals.
A surfer, scholar, and journalist, Dina Gilio-Whitaker studies the culture of surfing as it interacts or ignores indigenous cultures in Hawaii and Southern California. Dina will present research about the Save Trestles eco-campaign and Indians' involvement and coalitions with surfers. Her work helps us to think about history as storytelling, and think, from indigenous perspectives, about definitions of sustainability and environmental justice.
Dina is a freelance writer based in San Clemente, Ca. She is also a Research Associate and Associate Scholar at the Center for World Indigenous Studies. A descendant of the Colville Confederated Tribes of Washington, she holds a bachelor’s degree in Native American Studies and a master’s degree in American Studies with a research focus on indigenous studies, both from the University of New Mexico. She is a veteran Indian artist, and dancer in the Native American powwow and Hawaiian hula traditions. She writes for Indian Country Today Media Network, Native People’s Magazine and numerous other outlets.
Check out Dina’s blog: RumiNative: Ruminations of an Urban Native