Leslie Barlow, Sierra and her family, on the Mississippi shore, 2021, oil acrylic, pastel on panel, courtesy the artist, Bockley Gallery, Minneapolis

Virtual Conversation: Within, Between, and Beyond

In this discussion moderated by MidWest Mixed, participants and collaborators of the “Within, Between, and Beyond” project will come together for a roundtable about their experiences as interview and portraiture subjects.

Talk – Within, Between, and Beyond from Minneapolis Institute of Art on Vimeo.

About the speakers

Alissa Paris is a mother, teaching artist, and space-maker who identifies as a queer, Black/latinx/white, cisgender womvn living on Anishanaaabeg & Dakhóta people’s stolen land, Minneapolis, Minnesota. In 2014, Paris co-founded and currently serves as the Executive Director of MidWest Mixed, a Minnesota-based volunteer-led organization dedicated to the diverse experience of multiracial and mixed-race people as well as transracial and transnational adoptees of color. For more than a decade, Paris has served as a Teaching Artist and led dance workshops across the Twin Cities region. As an engaged and active member of the local Twin Cities arts community, Paris has a passion for performing in works that drive dialogues for change. Her approach and practice are grounded in movement and incorporate bringing body awareness to our work. Paris is so honored to lead in the third biennial MidWest Mixed Conference this August.

Nicole Nfonoyim-Hara is a mama, writer, and anthropologist committed to community building. She is the creator of the now retired Mixed Dreamers blog on critical mixed race studies and the Rochester Racial Justice Toolkit. Her short stories have appeared in Joyland and The Offing. She currently works as the Diversity Program Director at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine & Science. She also serves as host and associate producer of R-Town, a local civic and cultural affairs show on KSMQ-TV. Nicole holds a B.A. in anthropology/sociology from Swarthmore College and a master’s degree in migration studies from Oxford University. Raised in New York City, Nicole now lives in Rochester, MN with her family.

Seth Nfonoyim-Hara is a biomedical engineer, outdoor and survival prep-enthusiast and papa to Zoraida and a Nova Sojourner. He currently works as a Senior Engineer at Mayo Clinic and serves the local youth, arts, and social justice communities in Rochester, MN through mentorship and allyship. Since college, Seth has been committed to cultivating community for mixed people and youth. Seth holds a BA from Swarthmore College and a PhD from the University of Southern California (USC).

Erin Sharkey is a writer, arts and abolition organizer, cultural worker, and film producer based in Minneapolis. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Hamline University, and is the co-founder, with Junauda Petrus, of an experimental arts collective called Free Black Dirt. She is editing, A Darker Wilderness, a forthcoming anthology of Black nature writing for Milkweed Editions (2022). In 2021, Erin was awarded the Black Seed Fellowship from Black Visions and the Headwaters Foundation. Erin teaches with Minnesota Prison Writers Workshop.

Julia Gay (she/they) is a dancer, playwright and stand-up comedian. She is a Chinese adoptee who writes and creates to bridge the vastness between memory, heart and home. Julia was a dancer with Ananya Dance Theatre from 2016-2020 and was the recipient of The Playwrights’ Center’s 2017-2018 Many Voices Mentorship. In October 2019, as part of Dreamland Arts’ Theaterwalla program, Julia produced her one-woman show, Motherlanded, exploring her personal narrative as a Chinese adoptee. Learn more about her work at www.juliagay.com.

Lacey Mamak (they/them) is an academic librarian at a community college where Lacey teaches students research strategies and information literacy across all disciplines and manages library electronic resources. Lacey holds a BA from Mills College and an MLIS from St. Catherine University. Raised in San Francisco, they have called Minneapolis home for almost two decades. Lacey believes in the power of storytelling and visibility as a way to create cultural change.

Leslie Barlow, Sierra and her family, on the Mississippi shore, 2021, oil acrylic, pastel on panel, courtesy the artist, Bockley Gallery, Minneapolis