Introducing Justine Chambers, CERi Artist-in-Residence

January 26, 2021

We're pleased to announce Justine Chambers is joining CERi as our inaugural Artist-in-Residence from January to August 2021.

Chambers is a dance artist whose movement-based practice considers how choreography can be an empathetic practice grounded in collaborative creation, close observation and the idea of choreography as a living archive.

For Chambers, being a Artist-in-Residence with CERi feels affirming because it reveals how different social practices can come together in shared work. “What I find exciting about this invitation is that there is recognition of value across modalities of thinking and workingthat knowledge sources don’t need to have a certain kind of backing, I think it’s very encouraging,” says Chambers.

My hope about community-engaged research is that which emerges from a community and not that which is demanded from a community.

It’s vitally important to her that community-based research (CER) is driven by community and for community. “My hope about community-engaged research is that which emerges from a community and not that which is demanded from a community.”

Ensuring relationships with communities are grounded in reciprocity and trust is paramount yet she also recognizes potential tensions within CER: “Simultaneity is the way the world goeswe have the desire for care and love, and we can cause harm at the same time. My hope is that a community would hold me to taskI would like for them to be the barometer, and not my own desires for things.”

When reflecting on what community means to her, Chambers considers the many layers of community and how they relate to themes of accountability and responsibility. For her, the greatest fear and largest query is: “How do we work together and collectively determine the terms of what is needed?”

Photo courtesy of Justine Chambers

Chambers has worked on a wide range of projects on local, national, and international scales; however one project that is particularly dear to her is Tailfeather. This project was done in collaboration with Chambers’ grandmother, who took to describing the dances she used to do as a Black young woman on the south side of Chicago, which Chambers then recreated as dances to be shared with the public through her project Tailfeather. Through this collaboration, Chambers strived to “indelibly and somatically place [her Grandmother’s] body inside the bodies of a public that would normally not bother to know her.” This project explored collective dance as a site of care and togetherness.

One of the projects Chambers is looking forward to working on as a  Artist-in-Residence will examine the intersections between social acoustics and social choreography. It is a research project currently in development in collaboration with sound artist, Elisa Ferari. Chambers is particularly eager to explore this project more deeply with the support of the residency program to broaden the information and people she’s connected with.

Listen to Justine Chambers on the Below the Radar podcast

Connect with Justine Chambers


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