Tech Award Dispatches: Naomi Bragin

27 Jul, 2015

Tech Award Dispatches: Naomi Bragin

This year, the BCNM awarded five new media graduate students with technology services and training awards to help them fund the support they need to further their research agendas. Here's what Naomi Bragin gained from the experience!

The BCNM Training and Technology fund supported me to attend the Open House Dance Festival in Los Angeles and the Illadelph Legends Dance Festival in Oakland, where I trained with street dance pioneers, amateur and professional practitioners, and conducted performance ethnographic research on contemporary street dance culture. I was also able to purchase portable external drives for the storage of my ethnographic work, which includes interviews, audio and video footage.

I participated in studio classes, freestyle sessions and many informal exchanges, attended lectures, roundtables and performances, with the intent to study hip hop/street dance as a medium for the production, transmission and reception of what I call kinesthetic politics. Kinesthetic politics deals with structural politics of race that impact the body's training and learning process. Private and commercial dance studios and especially social media are now primary methods of transmitting information about street dance culture and history. Rapidly changing urban demographics and increased policing of nightlife also effect the development of street dance. I argue that the racialization of these modes and spaces of practice, in particular colorblindness, multiculturalism, multiracialism and antiblackness, alter processes of knowledge transmission and ultimately, the medium of street dance itself.