Remembering and Reimagining Environmental Histories and Futures: a writing workshop with Rasheena Fountain

Prior to registering, please note that this workshop is for people of color to participate.


Organized in conversation with Nina Chanel Abney’s exhibition Fishing Was His Life, this workshop invites participants to reflect on their own relationships to the environment and factors that threaten those connections. Guided by writer Rasheena Fountain’s approach to Black environmental memory, this workshop will give people of color the opportunity to remember erased pasts and write visions toward new environmental narratives. Together, participants will look closely at Nina Chanel Abney’s work and reflect on their own memories and the environmental histories where they live, work, and aspire to be. Short writing prompts will offer opportunities to craft creative writing responses through poetry, short fiction, and creative nonfiction. All levels of writing experience are welcome.


This workshop is inspired by the way that Abney’s exhibition recoups and reimagines Black coastal life, long erased from public environmental memory. The vivacious collages in Fishing Was His Life fuse Black coastal memory with hipness, environmental calamity with Black joy, and fishing practices with Black sustenance and futurity. Abney’s depictions do not replicate or seek inclusion in colonial, pristine imaginations. Instead, they give Black people permission to see themselves within commercial fishing legacies, while highlighting the barriers that continue to hinder those coastal connections.


Artist Bio: Rasheena Fountain is a published writer from the west side of Chicago and PhD student in English at the University of Washington, with a focus on Black ecocriticism. Using a Black feminist, eco-critical, and decolonial lens, she looks toward Black texts and art practices to recuperate Black aspirations and freedom through movement, relationships with place and other-than-humans, and visions for life within the Anthropocene. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington and MAEd in Urban Environmental Education from Antioch University Seattle in partnership with IslandWood. Her work has been published in the Black Embodiments Studio journal, Jelly Bucket, swamp pink, You Are Here: The Journal of Creative Geography, the Natural Resources Defense Council blog, and more. Fountain received a 2021 Honorable Mention from the Trillium Arts “Miss Sarah” Fellowship for Black Women Writers and was a Finalist for the Solstice Magazine 2022 Stephen Dunn Poetry Prize for her poem “Not an ‘other’ Climate Poem”.

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