Call for Proposals – Rehearsing Racial Equity: A Critical Anthology on Anti-Racism and Repair in the Arts

13 July 2020

Edited by Roxy Hornbeck and Jasmine Mahmoud, Assistant Professors, Seattle University

In the arts sector, “racial equity” has — in the last 15 years — become a central language through which artists, as well as arts administrators, educators, policymakers, and scholars frame their practice. In Seattle, WA, for example, the Office of Arts & Culture’s racial equity statement includes: “an anti-racist work practice that centers the creativity and leadership of people of color – those most impacted by structural racism – to move toward systems that benefit us all. We also acknowledge that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people.” Often those who center racial equity in the arts seek to move beyond the late 20th and early 21st century calls for multiculturalism and “diversity” (Hecht). These moves ostensibly build upon one of the first uses of “racial equity” which came in 1952 through U.W. Public Housing Authority formulas to allegedly counteract 20th century racist housing policies (such as redlining).

What does racial equity mean in the arts? How has it been historicized, practiced, and imagined? What (in)equitable results have resulted from diversity initiatives in the arts? How do calls to center racial equity resonate, especially amidst the global pandemic and renewed attention to the Black Lives Matter and Movements for Black Lives? How might reparations more fully achieve calls towards racial equity? What possibilities and innovations does racial equity motivate?

This edited collection centers these questions to more robustly chronicle, define, evidence, rehearse, and imagine racial equity as a fundamental tool of repair in the arts sector — including on the stage; in the classroom, virtual space, street, gallery, nonprofit organization, board meeting, foundation, commission; and through scholarly and creative research practices, and policy. In particular, “rehearsing” — act of practicing or reiterating – frames this collection, following scholars including Julius Fleming Jr., and Paige McGinley, who have theorized the central role of theatrical and civic rehearsals in the Civil Rights movement. What does rehearsal – the always in process act of practicing towards — abet in racial equity?

This edited collection seeks proposals that engage those questions. Final submissions can take many forms including scholarly chapters (4000 – 6000 words); creative work (such as scripts, poetry, visual art, etc.); or interviews and roundtables. Topics can engage:

  • Genealogies and historiographies of racial equity in the arts
  • Pedagogical techniques and tools that center racial equity in arts classroom including critical syllabi interrogation
  • Disciplinary and interdisciplinary interrogations of racial equity including from music, theater, film, dance, poetry, visual art, performance studies, critical race and ethnic studies, queer studies, feminist studies, mediated arts
  • Evaluation and assessment tools and matrices, such as racial equity toolkits and their uses in arts administration and policy
  • Strategic plan frameworks and approaches towards and inclusive of racial equity practices
  • Leadership theories and applications infused and informed through racial equity
  • Aesthetic theories and practices in dialogue with racial equity
  • Methods and methodologies for applied and racially equitable arts research
  • The arts and/as tool of racially (in)equitable geographic development (including contestations to gentrification and other geographic processes)
  • Racial equity in dialogue with decolonial practices
  • Reparations in/and/as the arts

Send proposals (including a 300-500 word abstract that describes the nature of this work [scholarly chapter, artistic work, interview, etc] AND ~250 word bio as a word document or pdf) by September 12 to Roxy Hornbeck and Jasmine Mahmoud by emailing ( and with the subject “Rehearsing Racial Equity.”
Acceptance notifications will be sent by October 9, 2020, with first draft chapters due December 31, 2020.

Roxy Hornbeck and Jasmine Mahmoud, both Assistant Professors in Arts Leadership at Seattle University, are co-editing this book collection. They will host a virtual symposium of accepted papers in Winter 2021, with second round drafts due by March 30, 2021.

Julius Fleming Jr., “Transforming Geographies of Black Time: How the Free Southern Theater Used the Plantation for Civil Rights Activism.” American Literature 91.3 (2019): 587-617.

Ben Hecht, “Moving Beyond Diversity Toward Racial Equity,” Harvard Business Review. 16 June 2020.

Paige McGinley, “The Sociodramatic Experiment” (Lecture), Wake-Forest University, 2018.

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