Category Archives: UT Austin LATINX POPLAB

LATINX POP BOPIC 2024

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BIPOC Pop 2024 was definitely a new perspective for me.  Both times I came in the past I was highly involved with panels or workshops and definitely working on producing photos and video as primary content to document the event.  This time I attended as a co workshop leader and then just as an attendee.  It was much more of my “anthropologist hat on,” kinda attendance where I get to just sit and absorb what’s going on around me.  I spoke with a lot of different attendees, artists, academics, students, people from the community in general.  I went to some dinners and in general just took it all in.  This year’s blog post is definitely a reflective one.

I carpooled with Dr. Ramirez from Bryan, TX.  Dr. Ramirez is an assistant professor at the University of Houston Downtown and helps run the Center for Latino Studies.   We would have good discussions on the drives to and from the conference, getting to discuss theory, our jobs and on the way back, deep reflections on the conference.  It was amazing.  We also hosted a workshop together about multimodal academic works and pedagogical approaches.  Dr. Ramirez did an amazing job leading the workshop and the interactions were great.

At the conference itself I just kinda sat around and would “graze” the panels, workshops and artist market.  I attended some great workshops, my personal favorites that I attended were Mary Cantu’s and Ernesto Cuevas’.  Both approached their workshops in a very inclusive community oriented way that encouraged everyone to participate and interact, yet also time for self reflection and growth.  

Anel Flores

I was able to capture some video of Anel Flores’ Zine workshop, it was amazing. Anel is a poet, visual artist and in general a public figure in San Antonio who represents the “other,” in so many spaces. While I was not able to attend the full workshop, I was so inspired by her reading of her zine and the imagery used. I was personally touched by her use of Jovita Idar, my great great Aunt.

Mary’s Workshop

Mary’s workshop focused on comics and the panels themselves, she had us choose comics that we would then color the panels and create a “basic” meaning of shapes and colors that give meaning to the panels. I created my own using a comic and when finished took a side by side of a similar page and my work, it was definitely a good process for both the mind and creativity.

Ernesto’s Workshop

Ernesto led a workshop where he had people pair up and develop what I am calling “miniature murals” based on text, art and thinking about stories.  I worked with Dukes comic’s co-creator Dr. E.C. Dukes, along with my son jojo on creating a mini mural.  What is so awesome to me about this kinds of workshops is that it is so much more than learning to create a mini mural, it is the journey, the conversations and intermodal art approach to creating, creating bonds, memories and lessons.

Dr. González’s Workshop

I also attended Dr. Christopher González’s  workshop, Latinx Life Tales: Writing Workshop From Memory to Memoir.  His talk explored his journey to creating Big Scary Brown Guy – A memoir.  My personal reason for going to this was very open ended.  I just had a feeling to go and that I would figure out why when I was there. Dr. González was a great presenter and fielded questions of all types. 

My Reflection On Dr. González’s Workshop

What I took away personally was that I should create a memoir at some point and if I were to do one soon I think a title might be “A academic degenerates life – part one.”  It made me think about a list of articles I have already written that might culminate into something.  Here are a few:

Artist & Book Market

The artist and book market is one of my favorite parts of BIPOC. It is where I get to meet so many creative people, learn about publishing opportunities and purchase from and support artists directly. This year did not disappoint. I got the pleasure of meeting the Dukes after many years of hearing about their amazing work. It was definitely a para-social relationship moment where I have followed their work for so long on social media that I felt like I knew them. The cool part was that I got to know them very quickly. They are definitely people I want to stay in touch with.

I also met Sarah Rafael García of the LibroMobile Arts Cooperative and learned about their efforts in Santa Ana, California to celebrate Latinx heritage through community oriented art works and shows. I am hoping we are able to collaborate on some sort of project soon.

In general I got lots of good art work, here are some of my “finds”

Summary

Overall BIPOC 2024 was great. I will say it exhausted me. Ultimately I am an anthropologist and I take in a lot of the energy of people around me and it was overwhelming. The overarching feeling was one of optimism. That said, I do want to recognized the feeling of internal and external struggle by the artists and academics who presented. Many stories and pieces and presentations are based around painful experiences, past and present. This overtone definitely kept things “real.” I saw many academics who are currently struggling to find themselves and representations of themselves in academia. Yearning to learn how to navigate Academia at all levels. I did publish an article on my personal website about it:

I encourage anyone who has the smallest amount of interest to attend BIPOC 2025, it is free and something that Fredrick Luis Aldama and Samantha Ceballos produce at a level of sincerity that shows and attendees like me appreciate and value.

LatinX Critical Creative Consortium

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The LatinX Critical Creative Consortium was founded 2 years ago by University of Texas Professor Fredrick Luis Aldama at the University of Texas at Austin in 2021. Professor joey did a full write up about that event and the impact is had on the CMC and the MGL. Professor Regina Mills of the English Department at Texas A&M and Media & Gaming Lab hosted it at Texas A&M University in 2022 (write up here). This year (2023), the event was once again held at the University of Texas at Austin, specifically in the now fully remodeled and activated LatinX Pop Lab on the 4th floor in the Patton Hall building.

“Every Fall, the Latinx Creative Critical Consortium Symposium offers students from a variety of Texas university campuses the opportunity to share, workshop, and engage with the cutting edge Latinx creative and scholarly work being done today. The day’s program includes student panels, roundtables, workshops and breakout sessions led by faculty and featured professional creatives.”

FRIDAY OPEN MIC NIGHT

The programing started on Friday night at Professor Latinx’s home with a poetry event that set a nice relaxed mood. Multiple attendees shared their works and fun was had by all. Here are some excerpts of various poets performances.

SATURDAY CONSORTIUM

The Latinx CCC’s consortium took place Saturday at UT Austin in Patton Hall in the Latinx Pop Lab. There were two tracks, a presentation track and workshop track. The opening remarks by the Latinx Pop Lab and Aldama was inspiring and set a very positive tone. Attendees introduced themselves and quickly became aquatinted. And as always, some great morning treats and coffee were provided! You can’t have platicas without treats and coffee! Here is the schedule:

Presentation Highlights

Texas A&M faculty and students were very proud to host 3 panels. The Texas A&M Media & Gaming Lab was hosted an undergraduate panel moderated by joey featuring 2 students and their works and one community presenter from Bryan, TX, Victor of the Vortex. The Communication & Journalism graduate program hosted a panel moderated by Dr. Villanueva about Multimodal Scholarship. The third panel was moderated by Dr. Mills featuring graduate students presenting their multimodal works.

We were also very excited that Professor Elena Foulis from Texas A&M San Antonio brought undergraduate students to present their multimodal projects, it was very inspiring.

Overall the there were many great panels and a lot to reflect on. The energy and positivity shared by the presenters were uplifting and facilitative.

Workshop Highlights

The Latinx Creative Critical Consortium workshops were a big hit as well and ranged from academic publishing workshops all the way to comic book making and reuse art facilitation. Carlos Kelly presented about how to publish an academic work as he has just released “Ready Player Juan,” a book about latinx and gaming culture. Cristina Casas did a zine workshop where attendees created their own works. Mary Cantu of San Antonio led a unique reuse workshop where people create saints and super heros from old donated photos and reuse materials.

Testimonials

“This is my second year attending the Latinx CCC Symposium and it just keeps getting better. The dialogues that are shared and stories that are expanded on are always ones that are beyond inspiring. The symposium allows us to connect with our community and find ways to collaborate beyond the walls of our universities.”

-Sophie Villarreal

“This was a great consortium meeting that brought together creatives who are on the forefront of making inclusive space in media, universities, and Texas.”

-Professor George Villanueva

“Bringing students, faculty, creatives together Latinx/e/a/o for Open Mic Night followed by a Latinx Critical Creative Day of sharing, learning, exploring, making was exhilarating–rejuvenating!!!!”

-Professor Latinx

LATINX POP LAB – BIPOC 2023

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This is joey lopez reporting about the Latinx Pop Lab – BIPOC 2023. As previously posted, UT Austin’s LatinX Pop Lab hosted a BIPOC Conference in 2022, it was a huge success.

This year was no different. Conceived by Dr. Fredrick Luis Aldama and facilitated by the stellar LatinX Pop Lab staff and volunteers, the event grew in size and content. Instead of two days, it was a three day affair this year with panels, lectures, workshops and an animation expo.

BIPOC 2023 POSTER

My role this year was to garner interviews of as many participants as possible. Artists, presenters, volunteers, organizers and anyone that Anthony Ramirez and I could track down was asked for an interview. Which reminds me, THANK YOU Anthony, aka Dr. Ramirez, for all your help! For those who do not know, Anthony is no longer a student a Texas A&M University. Dr. Ramirez is now an Assistant Professor of Communication at the University of Houston-Downtown in the Arts and Communication Department.

A/V Nerd Time (Skip if you are not interested in nerdy A/V stuff)

For the nerds out there, I decided not to use a big camera setup for the interviews, instead I used my iphone 14pro, a tripod and Rode Wireless ToGo lavalier microphone.

For the super nerds, I used Filmic v7, shooting in 10bit HLG. The app give full manual control over your audio and video settings which is super nice and shooting in 10bit color depth gives you the ability to color grade at a prosumer/professional level that has traditionally been reserved for mirrorless and dslr style cameras and of course cinema cameras.

I hope to host a workshop on this topic soon. For now, check out this short video:

Back to our regular programing.

The scope of BIPOC 2023 really opened up avenues of discussions LatinX Comics and Gaming. The schedule shows more depth into more topics than last years. Panels critically explored comics, video games and popular culture through representation, semiotics, semantics, rhetoric, race, gender and many other lenses. I was able to record two great panels:

BiPOC POP 2023 – “I as We Comics” – Panel

BIPOC POP 2023 – “Queering BIPOC POP” – Panel

In addition to panels there were multiple workshops, here are just a few titles:

  • “Cosmic Memory Making For Visual Storytelling”
  • “Creating Your First Comic”
  • “Making BIPOC Boardgames”
  • “Learning the Manga Way”

It was amazing to see artists, students, academics and community attendees taking part in the workshops and literally find new ways to express themselves.

Vender Space

The vendor space was twice as big as last years, giving more floor space to multiple artists to show their works. I was able to meet and talk with so almost all the artists at length and of course I walked away with some great art! Here is a short video I took after the first day of attending and what I picked up from the creators and artists.

Anthony’s Reflections

What’s up, everyone? Anthony here! Thank you for the shoutout earlier, joey. I really appreciate it.

As joey previously mentioned, I had the opportunity of helping him conduct interviews and help Dr. Aldama and Samantha Ceballos-Sosa (Latinx Pop Lab assistant, graduate student extraordinaire, and co-founder of the Capirotada Collective) with their social media posts. Much like joey, besides being a professor of media and popular culture, I also like to dabble with new media.

This year’s BiPOC Pop was my first as a professor, which felt very weird for me. I constantly felt like I was in a weird state of in-betweenness or for those who study Gloria Anzaldúa or Latinx related work, I was in a state of nepantla (the Nahuatl word which means “in the middle of it” or “in-between”). To be completely transparent, I was very anxious due to this in-betweenness and other personal factors, but what helped calm these nerves of mine down was the amazing sense of community that was around me.

Similar to BiPOC Pop 2022, this year featured an amazing cast of creatives and scholars whose work centers around popular culture in some capacity. For each of these two BiPOC POP conferences, the highlights for me is always centered around the community building aspect of things. I got to network with so many artists, creatives, and scholars whose work is incredible. On top of that, I was able to reunite with la familia Lopez and the Capirotada Collective. Being able to spend time with these amazing group of people helped center me in ways that I needed.

I also got to see Dr. Aldama again and I am always in a constant awe of his presence and sheer community building attributes. This is something that inspires me as a young professor to help build community for individuals like the attendees and presenters of BiPOC Pop. Being able to intersect critical and creative work together into an amazing event is something that blows my mind in the best possible way, and it drives me to want to be a better presence for this community and for my own community.

I was also able to participate in a panel discussion centered around Latinx representation and identity in video games. Within this panel, I was with some of the best and up-coming scholars within Latinx video game scholarship including: Dr. Regina Mills and her student, Caroline Shee, Dr. Carlos Gabriel Gonzalez Kelly, and moderated by the legend himself, joey lopez, phd. While I have not done a lot of research on video games, I was able to share my experience of playing video games and the influence of having video games in my life. I also had the opportunity to share with the community that joey, Dr. Arthur Soto-Vasquez of Texas A&M-International, and I will be contributing a chapter to an upcoming collected volume curated by Dr. Mills and Dr. Kelly. Stay tuned for that!

Again, I just want to thank Dr. Aldama, Samantha, and everyone from the Latinx Pop Lab for such a wonderful event. I look forward to next year’s BiPOC POP 2024!

For more on Dr. Anthony R. Ramirez, be sure to check out his website: www.arramirez.com or follow him on Instagram: @dranthonyrramirez

Interviews

As stated we were able to collective over 30 interviews from attendees. In these interviews you learn about their work and their thoughts on attending BIPOC 2023.