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The Tar Creek Superfund Site: A Reading and Conversation
May 11 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
What is the work of envisioning, together, across disciplines and communities, possibilities for repair in environments harmed and haunted by settler colonial violence and extractive industries? Tulsa Artist Fellowship and Magic City Books invites you to join a group of writers, activists, filmmakers, and researchers to explore what ecological healing at the Tar Creek Superfund site, and beyond, means to them, and to their communities and practices.
Tar Creekkeeper and Executive Director and co-founder of LEAD Agency Rebecca Jim; Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability Laurel C. Smith; Writer and Tulsa Artist Fellow Kathryn Savage; and Author of Groundglass and filmmaker Loren Waters, whose recent documentary, Restoring Néške’emāne, won Best Short Documentary at North Dakota Environmental Rights Film Festival; will share in conversation their work and reflections on the role of art making and storytelling in the face of ecological devastation. The Tar Creek Superfund site is a US Superfund site, declared in 1983, located in the cities of Picher and Cardin, Ottawa County, in northeastern Oklahoma. This public reading and artist talk will center on Tar Creek, covering topics related to the intersections of art and activism, place-based artistic practices across various forms, and will trace concentric rings of connection—between our bodies, one another, our communities, and our ecosystems.
Rebecca Jim, Cherokee Nation member, Executive Director and co-founder of LEAD Agency, Inc., is the Tar Creekkeeper with the Waterkeeper Alliance. She lives on the prairie in the Cherokee reservation enjoying clean water, soil and air while working 25 miles away within the Tar Creek Superfund site in Ottawa County.
Laurel C. Smith is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability at the University of Oklahoma. She researches how video technologies mediate Indigenous peoples’ participation in the authorship of authoritative environmental and cultural knowledge. Laurel teaches courses concerned with emancipatory methodologies and creative methods, critical theory, and/or Indigenous media.
Filmmaker Loren Waters (Cherokee Nation/Kiowa Tribe) focuses her art on the intersection of film, Indigenous storytelling, and the environment. Recent projects to her experience include Reservation Dogs and Killers of the Flower Moon. Restoring Néške’emāne, directed and produced by Loren, recently won Best Short Documentary at North Dakota Environmental Rights Film Festival.
Kathryn Savage is a hybrid writer whose debut lyric essay collection GROUNDGLASS is forthcoming from Coffee House Press. Her writing has appeared in American Short Fiction, the Guardian, Poets & Writers, the Academy of American Poets poets.org, the Village Voice, and The Best Small Fictions of 2015, among others. Recipient of the 2018 Academy of American Poets James Wright Prize, she’s been awarded grants, fellowships, and residencies from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, Minnesota State Arts Board, Millay Colony, Ucross Foundation, and Vermont Studio Center. In 2018, she was awarded the O’Rourke Travel Fellowship and the Graduate Research Partnership Program Fellowship from the University of Minnesota to research and write about volcanoes in Iceland. Savage teaches creative writing and composition at The Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD), and at the University of Minnesota, where she is pursuing a second MFA in poetry. Prior to her Tulsa Artist Fellowship, she served as a program manager at The Loft Literary Center, overseeing the Loft Mentor Series fellowship in poetry and creative prose, a program which offers twelve emerging Minnesota writers the opportunity to work intensively with six nationally acclaimed writers for one fellowship year. During her six-year tenure at the Loft, she managed a range of literary arts programs funded by the Poetry Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Jerome Foundation. In the editorial space, Savage has served as an editor at the University of Minnesota Law School Institute on Crime and Public Policy and has read scripts for Focus Features and Cine Mosaic Films in New York City, as well as manuscripts for Sarabande Books. From 2014 to 2019 she volunteered with the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop, overseeing the organization’s annual broadside collaboration in partnership with the Minnesota Center for Book Arts. Savage has studied creative writing at The New School, holds an MFA in fiction from Bennington College, and is at work on a collection of short stories and a novel.