Adobe Studio to host Indigenous Annotations Lab Symposium

Cherokee artists and Clemson faculty will come together to discuss the importance of Indigenous and Native American voices in literary interpretation at the first-ever Indigenous Annotations Lab Spring Symposium in the Adobe Studio and Makerspace located in Cooper Library Friday, April 21.

The Indigenous Annotations Lab (IAL) was started in 2020 by Clemson faculty members Matt Hooley (English), Santee Frazier (English) and Kelsey Sheaffer (Libraries) as an experiment in collaborative literary interpretation dedicated to rethinking the social, institutional and textual politics of annotation. Frazier, visiting assistant professor in the Department of English and Cherokee poet, said the purpose of the event is to take discourse about Indigenous and Native American literature outside of the classroom and academic journals and make it more collaborative.

“Specifically with Native literature, in most cases, the way those texts are often annotated or discussed is within an academic context, analyzed and decoded mainly for their value as cultural artifacts,” Frazier said. “The idea is to decentralize the annotation process and commentary on Native poetry and think about what it means to open up annotations on this work to Cherokee artists who are returning to their ancestral homeland and discussing this work in the context of that situation.”

Visiting Cherokee artists Skye Tafoya, Jakeli Swimmer and Jamison Chas Banks will join Frazier in annotating the poem “New Orleans” by Joy Harjo, former U.S. Poet Laureate and member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. They will discuss and annotate the poem together using various media, including text, voice recording and visual notations, in an event from 9-10:30 a.m. at the Adobe Studio and Makerspace.

The symposium will feature two other events:

  • Artist Talks: Cherokee Art and Collaboration in the 21st Century, 10:45-11:45 a.m. at the Adobe Studio and Makerspace – Invited Cherokee writers and artists will give readings and artist talks.
  • Roundtable: Who Needs Native American and Indigenous Studies, 12-2 p.m. on Zoom – A virtual roundtable discussion about the possibility of organizing a Native American and Indigenous Studies curriculum at Clemson. Click here to register for the Zoom discussion.

Creative technologies librarian and Adobe Studio and Makerspace director Sheaffer said hosting this kind of collaborative annotation event is the perfect fit for Cooper Library.

“Libraries are social spaces, and this event is all about looking at new social and collective ways of annotating,” Sheaffer said. “I am excited to create a space for conversation about Indigenous artists, writers and community here at Clemson.”

The symposium is co-sponsored by the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities; the Clemson University Honors College; the Humanities Hub; and the Department of English.