Convening 2021

Online, Nov 4 – 13

Thank you for joining us at this year's Sustaining Futures gathering! Access the full 2021 Convening video archive over on Vimeo.

Land Acknowledgement

What is a Land Acknowledgment and Why Do We Do It?

A Land Acknowledgment is a public statement of the name of the Native inhabitants of traditional land. Acknowledgement is a powerful way of showing respect and a step toward correcting the stories and practices that erase Indigenous people’s history and culture and toward inviting and honoring the truth. It also reinforces and centers a relationship with land and place as central to being a better person in the world.

As we enter this site of gathering in a virtual space, we acknowledge the tangible manifestations of settler colonialism that persist both online and behind our cameras. How we gather has a territorial imprint, from server farms on occupied lands to a digital infrastructure divide that leaves many poor and rural communities and reservations without adequate service. How we learn from one another as a field, and knowledge production more broadly, is also shaped by colonialism, and must be addressed in whose voices are heard and what meanings are validated. These are part and parcel of the continual displacement of Native people, and disinvestment from Native thought and leadership in our field.

As we gather together and consider the theme of Sustaining Futures, we recognize that our collective well-being and cultural work must honor and center Indigenous futures and leadership. We commit ourselves to be present and learn from Indigenous communities who are the original and ongoing custodians of this land, and to grow our collective decolonial practices as a field. We call on our Common Field Network to open all public gatherings with acknowledgement of the traditional Native inhabitants of the land you are meeting on or coming from. Please join us in expressing our deep gratitude and respect for Indigenous peoples by educating ourselves and each other as we build solidarity, community, and mutuality.


Program Overview

The 2021 Convening welcomes our Partners, Network, and larger communities of practice to share, explore, and exchange thinking, dreaming, and strategizing towards the kinds of futures we want to hold together. (An in-depth schedule with individual session and presenter information can be found via the Program tab above.)

This year’s program areas are shaped to consider how Common Field’s Convening and its resources can best serve our communities’ current needs. As always, our Convening included a juried Open Call for session proposals from our Network—and, this year, we were pleased to accept 16 proposals for workshops, panels, discussions, and more. We also shifted our Scholarship program to offer a Support Grant to participants who required financial support to offset costs associated with lost income, childcare, technology, and other barriers to virtual attendance, in addition to free Convening registration.

In the months leading up to the Convening, we have also been working closely with our National Partners to organize and shape the rest of this year’s exciting program. With our Partner AS220, we are pleased to offer a series of free, virtual Pre-Convening Programs focusing on professional development in the context of organizational transformation and change. Our Partners Racing Magpie, Wide Awakes and Martina Dodd curated a selection of artists for our new Convening Fellowship program—each invited fellow receiving funds to support both their ongoing work and individual contributions to this year’s Convening program. Martina Dodd also invited the Brooklyn-based collective metaDEN to design and facilitate a series of care and rest sessions meant to nurture our hearts and bodies over the course of this virtual gathering. Finally, Convening Partner S Rodriguez has organized a lively party meant to lift our spirits and close out this year’s event in style on Saturday, Nov 13.

Speaking of, also new this year is our Marquee Project, a packet of materials and information full of contributions from Fellows, Partners, and Network members—including our annual Convening Publication, curated and edited by our Partner, Center for Afrofuturist Studies,and an interactive workbook to use throughout your Convening experience.

Recording Notice

Unless otherwise noted, all 2021 Convening sessions will be recorded, archived, and posted to Common Field’s website. Many sessions will be conducted in Zoom’s webinar mode, in which audience videos are not displayed. Some sessions will be conducted in Zoom’s meeting mode, in which your video may be visible during some sections of the recording—especially if you are speaking. By attending and participating in these sessions, you agree to your voice and likeness being recorded. If you do not wish to be video recorded, you may participate with your camera off.


Lead support for the Common Field Convening has been provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Additional significant support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Sustaining Futures

For the first time, Common Field’s Convening gathers around a theme: Sustaining Futures. Oriented towards our work ahead, Sustaining Futures seeks to embrace a plurality of strategies, ideas, and expressions of how to sustain our values in practice while remaining responsive to local, national, and global shifts beyond the horizon of tomorrow.

Emerging in response to a need for reflection, solidarity, and sharing, this year’s Convening theme provides a framework for addressing where we’ve been and how we commit to our values today and in the future. In a time when our communities are faced with ongoing inequity, injustice, and violence, Common Field offers this year’s Convening as a place to build resilience and dream together.

Sustainability requires a sense of collective purpose and responsibility. The emerging forms of our field depend on how we bring our minds and hearts together now. Common Field believes practitioners, thinkers, artists, organizers, advocates and workers across the field coming together fosters a place of possibility. We hope you’ll join us at this year’s Convening to share, enter into, and shape the work of sustaining our futures.