Cultural Equity Speed Dating

Noe Gaytan
Darryl Ratcliff
Shefali Mistry
Mario Mesquita

Selected by Open Call
Organized by Noé Gaytan​/ Michelada Think Tank

Cultural Equity Speed Dating is an activity that emerged out of Michelada Think Tank’s efforts to create meaningful relationships amongst the people in our networks attending our events. In Cultural Equity Speed Dating participants search not for a romantic partner, but an artistic collaborator. While traditional speed dating aims to spark love by helping people find things in common such as favorite movies or similar music tastes, CESD seeks instead to facilitate blunt conversations about cultural equity to see where politics align. This activity began as an icebreaker at think tank events as a way to warm people up to talking about the difficult topics in the think tank. In the context of the Common Field Convening with organizers coming together from across the country, we hope CESD can be used as a catalyst for attendees to forge bonds that extend outside the conference.

Borrowing both the tone and format of speed dating, CESD brings people face-to-face for fun, if at times awkward, conversations that help people learn more about who they are sharing space with in the room and at the convening. Participants sit directly across from another person. The host, taking on the personality of a gameshow host, will guide the participants through questions like “Are you an ethnic minority in the neighborhood where you live?” and “Should the Whitney Museum have removed Dana Schutz’ painting of Emmett Till?” In just 60 seconds, both people will share their thoughts and experiences with race, culture, and working towards equity. Once the bell rings, it is on to the next person and the next question. This fast-paced activity will energize the room and give people an opportunity maximize the number of colleagues they get to meet during the conference. We hope to host Cultural Equity Speed Dating on the first night of the conference so that attendees can continue their conversations throughout the course of the weekend.

Michelada Think Tank’s practice, and CESD specifically, embody the core values of Common Field. We seek to challenge dominant discourse by facilitating difficult conversations. Through building relationships around issues artists face, we hope to foster future collaboration and work toward collective action. Most importantly, we see our practice as creative ways of establishing a more equitable cultural field.