Installations + International Travel

Shani delivered a talk on citizen artists during the Black Portraiture{s} II: Imaging the Black Body and Re-Staging Histories conference in Florence, Italy this May. The gathering of artists, curators, and scholars including Carrie Mae Weems, Mickalene Thomas, Hank Willis Thomas, Renee Cox and Sanford Biggers was truly historic.


During a panel called Sister Outsider: Black American Women, Identity and Global Travel, Shani shared the stage with fellow speakers Michaela Angela Davis, Laylah Amatullah Barrayn, Sharon Harley, Asia Leeds and moderator Cheryl Finley. Each presented with their characteristic grace, insight and clarity. Check out the video!



Her talk begins at the 13 minute mark, but you are encouraged to take in the session in its entirety. Additionally, more videos from the conference are posted at, they are definitely worth watching.


After the conference concluded, she went on to spend several weeks touring Italy as she studied art and philosophy as a David Driskell fellow with the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts. Upon her return in June, she had the opportunity to lead an arts workshop/ community installation in honor of Black women and girls who’ve been impacted by state violence. Thanks to the wonderful staff of Writing On It All, she had a whole empty house on Governor’s Island to use as a canvas!




It was a lovely opportunity to transform the space and our spirits.


In the immediate wake of McKinley and Fairfield, and in the midst of this larger moment, we need to seize every opportunity to create sacred spaces for healing, creative resistance and expression. May the vision we articulated for Black women and girls come to pass.


Conferences + Media Mentions


For the past several years, in her capacity as the Director of the Human Rights Project at the Urban Justice Center, Shani organized an arts based training that engages a select cohort of social justice advocates from around the country.


The tenth annual institute was held in New York City this May. Participants discussed cultural strategy, community building and ways to use human rights mechanisms to address inequality in the U.S. Congrats to the latest class, who now join a nationwide cohort of really impressive alumni.


Just before the institute began, Shani had the opportunity to speak about my work fusing the arts and human rights at NYU’s Creative Arts and Social Work conference.  Many thanks to the organizers, especially Dr. Deborah Willis who chaired the panel.




Finally, Shani is a contributor to the internationally broadcast, all women of color radio show hosted by Esther Armah– The Spin. In May, she joined dream hampton and Glynda Carr to discuss White on White Crime: Texas Shoot Out, the Boycott Nike and Say Her Name campaigns. Click here to tune in. The first season of 2015 ended with the same group that began it: writer asha bandele, political scientist Dr. Christina Greer and Shani discussing Haiti and the Dominican Republic, vaccines and the black body, and forgiveness in the wake of the Charleston massacre. If you’d like to hear this one, click here to listen to the show.