On Curating Freedom

Wonder at the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, DC

Wonder at the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, DC

There is an essay, or series of essays, I want to pen called, Curating Freedom: Activating Liberated Play Spaces for Black Children. This writing is inspired from the intense study I am doing as a mother seeking to facilitate fun, accessible, dynamic, and meaningful play and learning moments for my children, and also for the children in our village.

As usual, the title for the series came first, and I’ve just been sitting with that. I am also collecting images for a potential photo journal to go alongside the writing. It’s all embryonic right now. I’m feeling my way through to my words. I’m also very much in the thick of the discovery space. I’m focusing the majority of my energies on observing my children in their free, unedited, uncensored joy spaces. I’m asking myself, constantly, What do I need to do to make sure they can access this liberated and joyful reality as often as possible?

I think Curating Freedom will be a series of essays because there’s just so many layers to this already. Their blackness in a world that is not always loving toward black children, especially not free black children. The insertion of their expansive, kinetic, black joy in public spaces, and during times of day when the overwhelming narrative insists that their little black bodies belong inside of a school building, seated at a desk, learning how to follow instructions. The idea that play is learning, and that more learning actually happens when play is supported and encouraged. And even after opening up all that, there’s still many more critical depths to explore within the intersections of race, culture, economics, creativity, wellness and spirituality.

At first I had titled this blog piece, Curating Freedom: Activating Liberated Play Spaces for Black Children. But then, I realized I’m still not in full communion with all the words that will emerge to open up this conversation. So instead, it came to me that I would write about the process of coming into this vision for the essays. And also that this blog space would be primarily used for me to offer glimpses into larger spaces of inquiry going on in our Family Learning Lab, and also within our discoveries as a growing family of creatives.

When I see my children playing, and connecting their own dots about how the world works and their relationship to everyone and everything in the world, it fills me with so much joy. I am also wowed by my own potential to grow, heal, and re/discover lost (stolen) joys from my own childhood and becoming. There is a radiant truth shining through our deepening practice as a family that is embracing a life where we are learning all the time: This is doable. This can be our reality, everyday. I’m excited to see where this all grows.

So with this, my first official post on our new blog, I want to say a warm and lovely Welcome to Lab Notes: Stories, Experiments, and Adventures from the Family Learning Lab! I hope something you read here initiates an undeniable feeling of growth, a definite spark of possibility within your own practices as a family, and that something beautiful also unfolds from there too.