Session at the 108th College Art Association of America Annual Conference

Angela Sprunger, and Sam Dodd, Ohio University 

Common representations of “the rural” tend to collapse rural identities and lived experiences into romanticized, master narratives. This session invites papers that update our understanding of the rural within contemporary artistic, historical, and pedagogical practices. In particular, we hope to hear from rural arts practitioners and academics on how their studio work, collaborations, teaching, and other creative activities are informed by their specific rural contexts. These inquiries might demonstrate an appreciation for the robust networks of commitment and care found within rural communities and their value in addressing contemporary challenges, including but not limited to: environmental sustainability, especially in post-industrial landscapes; drug addiction treatment and recovery networks; resource insecurity, including limited access to food, housing, transportation, healthcare, and education; and ongoing marginalization of people of color, LGBTQ folks, the elderly, and those living with developmental disabilities. When might urban-normative modes of social practice transfer to rural settings, and when does their transference cause damage or harm? What dominant modes of locational thinking have emerged in response to capitalism’s economic drivers in valuing artistic production (i.e. the creative economy)? What, too, are the social and cultural responsibilities of rural public universities? How can locational issues of scale, density, and interconnectedness help shape restorative rural practices for social and spatial justice?