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Columbia College Chicago
Café Society Meetings

Café Society Meetings



Cafe Society

What is Café Society?

The Critical Encounters Café Society consists of a series of conversations where we come together and discuss important social issues relating to to this year's focus on Rights, Radicals + Revolutions. What sets the Café Society apart from other events is that our goal is not create group consensus.
Instead, the object of these discussions is to provoke critical thought on the topic at hand, so that participants can enjoy in a meaningful exchange of ideas and perspectives.

Our model is adopted from the Illinois Humanities Council and is facilitated by a Critical Encounters Graduate Fellow. Working with instructors, we devise a set of questions intended to spark dialog, and assemble a reference sheet for follow up. Please see the examples below and join us at the upcoming events.

Critical Encounters Café Society Event:
Thursday, September 22, 4:00–6:00 p.m.
Glass Curtain Gallery, 1104 South Wabash Ave., 1st floor.
Free and open to the public. Students/faculty are encouraged to attend.

colab final

Café Society meetings are opportunities for students, faculty, staff, and community members to come together and consider the impact of rights, radicals, and revolutions. For this meeting we will gather to discuss the radical acts of participation presented in the exhibition The Uncommon Nature of Artists as Collaborators curated by Annie Morse. From large scale interactive paintings to video projections and mobile structural interventions, we will question the boundaries between artist and audience and how artists continue to revolutionize our expectations. Additionally, we will consider the cultural constructs of Latina identity as experienced by artists Paola Cabal and Edra Soto. Co-sponsored by DEPS and Latino Cultural Affairs.
Download the Café Society Curriculum guide here. 

Exhibition runs September 6–November 2, 2011
Glass Curtain Gallery, 1104 South Wabash Ave., 1st floor.


Chicago artists' collaboratives, ED JR. and (ƒ)utility projects present CoLaboratory, a tandem vehicle of works on paper, site-specific sculpture, video, and performance.

Critical Encounters Café Society Event:
Enrique Chagoya: Graphic Agitations
Wednesday, October 19, 4:00–6:00 p.m.
Anchor Graphics, 623 S. Wabash Avenue, room 201
Chagoya's previous visit to Anchor Graphics during the 2009 Southern Graphics Council Conference resulted in the production of some radical prints by the Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop. Chagoya's work speaks to the issues of rights of undocumented immigrants, using radical graphics to question current political realities, and promote revolutionary changes. We will gather to talk with Mr. Chagoya about the power of graphic agitation and the lasting impression of print revolutions. This event is sponsored in collaboration with Anchor Graphics and Latino Cultural Affairs.
Download the Café Society Curriculum Guide here. 

chagoya Enrique Chagoya
Photos: Darren Wallacechagoya CS


Café Society/CJE Listening Session:

The Radical Vision of Charles Mingus
Thursday, January 19, 12:00-1:30 p.m.
Hokin Gallery, 623 S. Wabash Ave.
Jazz music has historically been entangled with many of our nation's most serious questions concerning civil rights and social justice. Charles Mingus—and the musical world he developed—is the jazz artist most aligned with drafting a music that squarely confronts these questions in both word and song.
This session pairs CJE Artistic Director Dana Hall and special guest artist, bassist/vocalist Meshell Ndegeocello, in a discussion and Listening Session focused on the work and legacy of the radical vision of Mingus.

Download the Café Society Curriculum guide here.

Ndegeocello Photo: Charlie Gross
Hall Photo:  Jacob Hand



mndana hall



Black Gossamer: Fabrications of Identity in Black Contemporary Art 
Critical Encounters Café Society Events
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2011, 4:00–6:00 P.M.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2012, 4:00–6:00 P.M.

Download the Curriculum Guide here.

Black Gossamer features contemporary black artists who use and draw inspiration from clothing, fashion, textiles, and fabrications to explore and uncover recent revolutions in black identity. Artworks will present exciting ways these artists are manipulating fashion to reveal hidden meanings and codes – initiating dialogues on where black culture is today, where it is going, and what that means. Other artists in the exhibit include Sheila Bridges, Marlon Griffith-Louis, Kalup Linzy, and Wangechi Mutu.


Dance & Revolution with Eduardo Vilaro, founder of Ballet Hispanico
Monday, March 19, 4:00–6:00 p.m., A + D Gallery, 619 S. Wabash Ave.

tres cantos vilaro

For this Café Society featuring Eduardo Vilaro, Artistic Director of Ballet Hispanico, we will consider the ways in which dance can incite revolutions and generate radical notions of identity. Ballet Hispanico explores, preserves, and celebrates Latino cultures through dance. The mission unfolds in the work of the professional company, the school of dance, and the education + outreach programs. Together, these divisions celebrate the dynamic aesthetics of the Hispanic Diaspora, building new avenues of cultural dialogue and sharing the joy of dance with all communities. 

Download the Curriculum Guide here.

Thursday, April 5 Café Society LISTENING SESSION: 
Jazz and the Spoken Word
The Roots of Sonic Revolution 
with Poet Laureate SONIA SANCHEZ
 sonia s
4:00—5:30 p.m.
618 S. Michigan, Stage II

This Café Society/Listening Session features Dana Hall, Director of the CJE, and Poet Sonia Sanchez. They will consider the revolutionary power jazz and spoken word that has and continues to inspire our social and political consciousness. American literary figures such as Langston Hughes, Ralph Ellison, and Toni Morrison infused the language of jazz into their writing, extending the oral tradition, elaborating on the call and response of improvisation. This program takes inspiration from historical and contemporary collaborations between word and sound, originating with the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s–1970s that gave rise to a whole generation of formative African-American literature, poetry, music, and activism. The identity formation encouraged by this movement—individuality and finding your own voice—directly connects to the practice of improvisation, a touchstone of the jazz tradition. Contemporary hip hop and spoken word practices built upon these foundations, illuminating how the exploration of history becomes a journey to the present moment.

cafe s
Survival Techniques: Narratives of Resistance

Tuesday, April 17, 4:00–6:00 p.m.
MoCP, 600 S. Michigan Ave., First Floor
This Café Society considers the exhibition Survival Techniques: Narratives of Resistance. The MoCP exhibition looks at human conflict and the radical ways individuals and groups endure long-term hardship. The fourteen international artists in this exhibition approach contentious political issues that, although individually nuanced, present parallel fundamental challenges to the human psyche. From various reactions to situations rising out of differences in ideologies, to the impact of nationalism, ethnicity, and power, the artists investigate a range of human travails—including exile, displacement, and the struggle to exist in a state of flux. Central to each artist’s exploration is an attempt to reconcile the present circumstances of a given territory with its complex and often contentious history. As the artists endeavor to bridge great spans of time, they reveal to us ways people wrestle with visions of the past and the future in order to survive. The individual artworks in the exhibition connect, echo, and converse with each other, and as one moves through the various projects, specific geographies collapse into generic and unnamed worlds. As these artworks expand past local specificity they reveal universal concepts and reflect the ways our particular era exists within a fluctuating narrative of broader human history. 

Download the Curriculm Guide here.


Sigalit Landau, Azkelon