Christa Bell is an award-winning spoken word poet, performance artist and feminist culture creator from Seattle,Washington. She is an MA candidate in Cultural Studies with a designation in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies at the University of Washington Bothell, a member of the Women Who Rock and Fembot collectives and a founding member of Real Colored Girls. She is a National Poetry Slam Champion and her work includes the one-woman show CoochieMagik: A Spoken Word Musical Comedy, commissioned by the National Performance Network, 1001 Holy Names for Coochie, a 24-hour endurance mantra and performance art installation, which premiered at the Seattle Art Museum as part of the opening events for Elles: Women Artists From The Centre Pompidou; and SHEism: The Woman Worship Workshop, a performance- lecture and workshop that explores the spiritual politics of female bodies. Her work has been featured on National Public Radio, as a TEDx Talk, and on afterellen.com and she has performed, by invitation, at over 100 universities, colleges, festivals and performance venues internationally. Her performance work is primarily concerned with feminist imaginings of the divine as well as how women’s spiritual self-esteem impacts their participation in the political processes that govern their lives. Her research interests include black feminist theory and genealogies, feminist cultural production, performance studies and cultural intersections of race, gender, culture and theology. Her current performance work is scheduled to be included in the Whitney Museum of American Art: 2014 Biennial as part of HOWDOYOUSAYYAMINAFRICAN, a global collective. Her essay “Shall We Begin, Then?” a meditation on future/present ancestral bodies, will be featured in the 2014 Biennial catalogue.
Mako Fitts Ward
Mako Fitts Ward is a feminist educator, writer, activist and mother who teaches in the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University. She received her M.S. and Ph.D. in Justice Studies from Arizona State University. Her work is informed by Black feminist epistemologies and community-centered methodologies that engage the voices of youth, women of color, queer and gender non-conforming communities, with a specific focus on contemporary urban, African-American experiences. Dr. Ward’s research centers on applying an intersectional approach of race, gender, class and sexuality to analyses of hip hop cultural production and urban community organizing specifically using hip hop as a tool for social justice activism. She is a founding member of Real Colored Girls and is the co-founder of the Women Who Rock Collective, a community of musicians, media-makers, performers, artists, scholars and activists committed to engaging collective methods of research, teaching, archiving, and community and scholarly collaboration to explore the role of women and popular music in the creation of cultural scenes that anchor social justice movements in the Americas and beyond. Dr. Ward has been a contributing blogger for Ms. Magazine and has published popular and scholarly essays on body ethics and aesthetics among women of color, media and gender images, women in hip-hop, gentrification and cultural displacement, and Black women’s social movement organizing in the early 20th century.