Letter to the Community – November 17, 2020

DEIJ Updates



DEIJ Updates

Letter to the Community – November 17, 20202

To Our Community,

In June of this year LIMS committed itself to the difficult yet essential work of looking inward to our very core to address both the ways in which LIMS an an institution may have perpetuated systems of oppression, systemic and institutionalized racism, as well as harmed our BIPOC students, faculty/staff, and community members. This was important for us to investigate because this is in direct opposition to our core values.

Specifically we committed to:

  • Investigate, understand, and undo the ways in which we are complicit in perpetuating systems of oppression, and systemic and institutionalized racism.
  • Dismantle the white supremist and Eurocentric structures that permeate our organization, curriculum, and pedagogy. 
  • Create and hold space for our BIPOC colleagues, and listen with the intent to understand their grievances and take corrective and reparative action.

Immediately following this pledge we received communication from several members of our community passionate about seeing this work through. On June 30th a handful of interested individuals, invited members, and representation from the LIMS board of directors through Karen Bradley and myself held our inaugural meeting as the newly formed LIMS Diversity, Equity ,and Inclusion (DEI) Committee guided by the following principles:

  • LBMS is a system that has the potential to transform lives
  • The work of this committee is an act of care, love, respect, and compassion
  • Honest interrogation of previously held norms and structures alongside commitment to growth will lead the way to a more equitable and inclusive future for every level of the LBMS community (systemic, institutional, interpersonal, personal)

Since July 29th a small group of people have met bi-weekly to examine, interrogate, and plan a path forward for our organization around the issues of Laban’s legacy; the manifestation of bias, racism, sexism, etc. in the theoretical framework of LBMS; structures of LIMS; and the pedagogy of LBMS. 

Our current DEI Committee members are Natasha Alhadeff-Jones (NYC ‘16), Nancy Beardall (NYC ‘83), Karen Bradley (NYC ‘84), Cecilia Fontanesi (NYC ‘11), Yuko Hashimoto (NYC ‘13), Nicole McClam (Maryland ‘15), Miriam Phillips (Los Angeles ‘91), Nalini Prakash (Maryland ‘15), Emma Shockley (NYC  ‘19), Curtis Stedge (Belgium ‘15).

The following is a brief overview of key work the committee has undertaken towards addressing these issues:

Anti-racism training

The committee recommended that LIMS contract Human In Common (www.humanincommon.com) to facilitate a four-part workshop consisting of 36 hours of training for all LIMS staff, faculty, and board members. This recommendation was accepted by our board of directors during our October board meeting. The first part of the training will take place January 16th and 17th from 10am-1pm EST. This first training lays the foundation for a common understanding of the breadth and depth of racism and its impact on all aspects of society. Experiencing the History of Racism Timeline in community increases awareness and commitment to racial equity. We will be opening around 50 spots for members of the LBMS community to join us for this first part of the training at a cost of $35. If you are interested in joining us for this training you can register here.

Pedagogy/Theory Series

Joined by members of the DEI Committee, Karen Bradley presented a three-part series titled A Laban History: 140 years and implications for the 21st-century. This powerful community event addressed the past, present, and future of the Laban Movement Analysis work and LIMS as an organization. If you missed it you can purchase access to the recorded series here.

Alumni Survey

The committee is currently working on a survey that will offer alumni the opportunity to share, in anonymity, their experience(s) as a LIMS student. This survey is a key component to the work of the DEI Committee in our effort to recognize the ways in which LIMS has caused harm and in this awareness to re-pattern inorder to ensure that LIMS is a place where ALL are welcome, represented, and empowered.

As the committee continues to excavate and interrogate the issues identified above we will actively create opportunities for you, our community, to engage and participate in this work. You can find more information on the committee, our mission, and the work that we are doing on the LIMS website at www.labaninstitute.org.

On behalf of LIMS and the DEI Committee, we welcome you, and hope you will join us in whatever capacity you are able and willing to. If you have any questions or would like to be more directly involved in this important work please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

In commitment to a more just and inclusive LIMS,

LABAN/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies

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