Leanne Betasamosake Simpson - Artist in Residence 2024

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Academy of Theatre and Dance  - Amsterdam University of the Arts

In April 2024, the Academy of Theatre and Dance, Amsterdam is honoured to be hosting Leanne Betasamosake Simpson as Artist in Residence. Leanne Betasamosake Simpson is a renowned Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg writer, musician, academic and activist who has been widely recognized as one of the most compelling Indigenous voices of her generation. Her work breaks open the intersections between politics, story and song—bringing audiences into a rich and layered world of sound, light, and sovereign creativity. She is a status member of Alderville First Nation in Ontario, Canada.

Leanne is the author of eight previous books, including As We Have Always Done (2017) and Dancing on Our Turtle’s Back.  Her novel Noopiming: The Cure for White Ladies, which was short-listed for the Dublin Literary Prize and the Governor General’s prize for fiction. Her latest project in collaboration with Robyn Maynard, Rehearsals for Living was short-listed for the Governor Generals prize for non-fiction and is a national best seller.  Leanne’s album Theory of Ice was short- listed for the Polaris Prize and she was the recipient of the Prism Prize’s Willie Dunn award for innovation in video production.

Working for two decades as an independent scholar using Nishnaabeg intellectual practices, Leanne has lectured and taught extensively at universities nationally and internationally and has twenty years experience with Indigenous land based education. She holds a PhD from the University of Manitoba.

Led by the ATD Lectorate as part of the AHK AiR program, the residency with Leanne Betasamosake Simpson is organised in collaboration with the University of Amsterdam, the Climate Imaginaries at Sea coalition, ARIAS, Lectorate Social Justice and Diversity in the Arts, MA Creative Producing, Framer Framed and the ATD Sustainability Platform.

The core program consists of 6 public events:

  • Land as Pedagogy – public lecture by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson on Sunday 14th April, 11am-1pm @ Adyen
  • Indigenous Artists in Europe: A Roundtable - Leanne Betasamosake Simpson in dialogue with guest indigenous artists including Jenni Laiti and sata taas collective moderated by Chihiro Geuzebroek on Wednesday 17th April, 5-7pm @ UvA Theatre
  • Theory of Water - public lecture by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson as part of Climate Imaginaries at Sea Open Studio on Tuesday 23rd April, 12-17pm @Perdu
  • An Evening with Palestinian artists - Leanne Betasamosake Simpson in dialogue with guest artists including Samah Hijawi on Wednesday 24th April, 6-8pm @Framer Framed
  • Theory of Ice - a concert by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson on Thursday 25th April, 7-9pm, venue tbc
  • A teach-in on Black, Indigenous, Palestine solidarity and liberation with Leanne on Friday 26 April, time tbc @UvA

Participants will need to have read the book before the session.

Registrations for events will open in March.
Questions? Contact ATD Lector, Laura Cull Ó Maoilearca: laura.cull@ahk.nl

Preparatory program
In preparation for Leanne’s residency, reading groups and workshops will be hosted for students and other researchers who would like to engage further with Leanne’s work before the core program.

Register here

Book club on As We Have Always Donereading group led by Mikki Stelder

  • April 4, 10:00-14:00 (with lunch) @DAS, Room 2.14

This session will be an informal ‘book club’ style exchange centred on Leanne Simpson’s As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom through Radical Resistance (2021), facilitated by Mikki Stelder, Assistant Professor of Global Arts and Politics at the University of Amsterdam. Participants will need to have read before the session.

Meditations, reading and writing – workshops led by Ayesha Ghanchi-Goemans

  • Mar 6, 16:30-19:30 @ATD, Room 7.01
  • Mar 27, 16:30-19:30@ATD, Room 7.01
  • Mar 13, 16:30-19:30 @ATD, Room 7.01

We will gather for three workshops where we will centre collective reading, thinking, breathing and writing inspired by the work of indigenous Mississauga Nishnaabeg scholar Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. Leanne is a writer, poet, musician, activist and academic whose work engages with indigenous ontology and resistance.

In these three workshops we will draw from Leanne’s work and think collectively about the themes of resistance and embodied relationality. What are the soft, silent yet defiant, introspective, localised forms of resistance in these violent and destructive times? How can our relationship to our past, our present, our identities (in all of their multiplicities), help build our connection to the land we are in, both in terms of nature and other beings?

With a light touch, we will draw from the text Dancing on Our Turtle’s Back: Stories of Nishnaabeg Re-Creation, Resurgence and a New Emergence (2011), and we will immerse ourselves in the playful fiction of This Accident of Being Lost (2017). We will create our own playful responses, either- story, poetry and art around the themes of resistance and embodied relationality.