Forms of Care: Building the Worlds We Need

Forms of Care: Building the Worlds We Need is a fully online symposium featuring artists, designers, scholars, and activists responding to issues of accessibility, community care, and mutual aid. Forms of Care rejects austerity and emphasizes dreaming the worlds we need into the present. Through visual art, design, theory, poetry, craft, and print media we focus on the work of mutual survival, support, collective access, and creativity.

Graduate Symposium Schedule

FRIDAY November 20

Come on In
PNCA Atrium | November 20 - December 4

online | November 25 - December 19

Forms of Care: Building the Worlds We Need is a fully online symposium featuring artists, designers, scholars, and activists responding to issues of accessibility, community care, and mutual aid. Forms of Care rejects austerity and emphasizes dreaming the worlds we need into the present. Through visual art, design, theory, poetry, craft, and print media we focus on the work of mutual survival, support, collective access, and creativity.

Come on In is a collection of PNCA graduate and alumni student work highlighting a range of mediums and meanings. Abstract work, graphic design, zines, figurative representation, photography, sculpture and textiles all make up the works in this show. Our aim was to create a gallery - of care - that invites all viewers into the creative world of the individual artist while collectively examining the ways in which we can nurture, process and create visual narratives that ultimately lead to the world(s) we need. Come on in to view these unique forms of care.


Krista Cibis, PNCA M.A. in Critical Studies Candidate
Kyle Cohlmia, PNCA M.A. in Critical Studies Candidate

2:00-3:30 Panel: Mutual Aid and Community Care
Live captioning available


Melanie Stevens, Nat Turner Project (Moderator)

Melanie Stevens is an artist, illustrator and writer. She is the creator of the graphic novel series, WaterShed, and the co-founder and editor of Miss Anthology, an organization that supports and publishes racially and economically diverse young comic artists who identify as female or genderqueer. She is also the co-curator of Nat Turner Project, a migratory gallery space that grants artists of color the freedom to create or express their own language within and without the parameters of racial commodification or designation. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree for Political Science from Yale University and her Master’s of Fine Arts degree for Visual Studies at Pacific Northwest College of Art, where she currently teaches.


Ella Ray, Pool Resources

Ella Ray is a cultural worker based in Portland, Oregon. Through art history and a praxis of care, Ella Ray strives to create projects, environments, and programs that center Black alternative economies and the Black imaginary. Their work often takes shape as texts and questions that play with power and subjectivity. Ray's written work and projects can be found in Oregon Arts Watch, the Black Abbey Artists in Residence zine, Portal Magazine, and a forthcoming publication with the Harriet Tubman Center for Expanded Curatorial Practice in collaboration with Hank Willis Thomas.


Jason Umtuch (Warm Springs), Fires Igniting the Spirit

Jason Umtuch began Fires Igniting the Spirit as a culturally-specific drug and alcohol recovery program for indigenous people to help bridge the gap between conventional treatment recovery services. When the coronavirus pandemic hit, Umtuch went to work trying to connect reservations with needed resources like personal protective equipment, food and water. Support needs increased further as families were displaced during the wildfires. Umtuch began making supply runs to Warm Springs Reservation in north-central Oregon and slowly gained the help of other volunteers, like Barak Goodman of Don't Shoot PDX. Now they are taking their aid relief to various locations in Oregon and Washington. To volunteer or make a donation follow Fires Igniting the Spirt Instagram.

4:00-5:00 pm An Informal Conversation about Games, Community, and Care
Live captioning available


Laura Nash (Moderator)

During the pandemic, many of us have used games to de-stress and socialize. From Animal Crossing and Jackbox Games to Board Game Arena and Tabletop Simulator, we've found ways to gather and play together virtually. Join us for a facilitated but informal conversation about games as a site of community and care.

Laura Nash is an autistic and mentally ill white woman, scholar, artist, writer, and communications professional living in Portland, Oregon. As an M.A. candidate in Critical Studies at Pacific Northwest College of Art, Laura is pursuing research in the fields of disability studies and narrative studies with a focus on speculative fiction. As an M.F.A. candidate in Applied Craft + Design, she is exploring zine making and accessible game design as vehicles for collaborative world building and storytelling. Since 2014, Laura has also worked with racial justice-centered community organizations, nonprofits, and foundations to support their communications.

Keynote: 6:00-7:30 Teressa Raiford, Don’t Shoot PDX, “Art, Activism, and Community Care”
Live captioning available


Teressa Raiford is a fourth generation resident of traditional village sites of Multnomah, Clackamas and many other tribes - currently known as Portland, Oregon.

Teressa became motivated to demand accountability from elected leaders and lawmakers surrounding public safety around 2010, the same year her nephew was lost to gun violence. This advocacy led to community organizing and the establishment of human rights nonprofit, Don’t Shoot Portland in 2016.

The organization focuses on civic education, art and nonviolent direct action while providing legal access to vulnerable communities. Her experience in developing social change movements for youth has gained recognition in Portland, Oregon and beyond

Saturday November 21

11:00-12:30pm Artist Talk and Workshop with Ari Melanciano
Co-sponsored by Make+Think+Code
Live captioning available


In this talk, Ari Melenciano will give a survey of her Electromedia and Design practice as she engages with art, society, race, and politics as central nodes to her interdisciplinary work. She will then go into her research practice on various forms of design (from biomimicry oriented to Afrocentric), and the societal impacts of technology. Ari will wrap up with the work she has done in creating and developing the social institution, Afrotectopia.

12:30- 2pm Workshop: Designing Omni-Specialized Futures with Ari Melenciano

In this workshop, participants will be able to explore experimental ways of combining a variety of branches of knowledge to collaboratively design radical and imaginative futures. This workshop will begin with a brief synopsis of Ari Melenciano's Omni-Specialized Design process, and examples of other interdisciplinary works. We'll then move into imaginative practices that allow us to visualize healthier, abundant, and vibrant futures. This workshop will culminate on a collective conversation considering each group's ideated future.

Ari Melenciano is an artist, designer, creative technologist, researcher, and educator who is passionate about exploring the relationships between various forms of design and sentient experiences.

Currently, her research is a synthesis of human-computer interactive technologies, architecture, Afrocentric design practices, experimental pedagogy, and Black radical imagination

Ari is the founder of Afrotectopia, a social institution fostering interdisciplinary innovation at the intersections of art, design, technology, Black culture and activism through collaborative research and practice.

She currently teaches creative technology and design at NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program, NYU's Dept. of Digital Photography and Imaging, Pratt Institute's Communications Design school, and Hunter College's Integrated Media Arts MFA program.

Ari Melenciano

3:00-4:30 Keynote: Aimi Hamraie- “Building Access”
Live captioning available


Aimi Hamraie is Associate Professor of Medicine, Health, & Society and American Studies at Vanderbilt University, where they direct the Critical Design Lab. Hamraie is author of Building Access: Universal Design and the Politics of Disability (University of Minnesota Press, 2017) and host of the Contra* podcast on disability, design justice, and the lifeworld. Their interdisciplinary research spans critical disability studies, science and technology studies, critical design and urbanism, critical race theory, and the environmental humanities. Hamraie is also a certified permaculture designer, a co-founder of the Nashville Disability Justice Collective, and an organizer for the Nashville Mutual Aid Collective.

Critical Design Lab

5:00pm-6:00pm Reading with Cedar Sigo and jayy dodd
Live captioning available


Cedar Sigo was raised on the Suquamish Reservation in the Pacific Northwest and studied at The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at the Naropa Institute. He is the author of eight books and pamphlets of poetry, including Language Arts (Wave Books, 2014), Stranger in Town (City Lights, 2010), Expensive Magic (House Press, 2008), and two editions of Selected Writings (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2003 and 2005). He has taught workshops at St. Mary’s College, Naropa University and University Press Books. He is currently a mentor in the low residency MFA program at The Institute of American Indian Arts. He lives in Lofall, Washington.

the subject known as jayy dodd... aka [redacted] aka Lady Tournament beamed down in Los Angeles ’92 & is now based in Portland,OR. Her professional literary career includes positions at The Offing, Winter Tangerine & more with features in Poetry Magazine, Oprah Magazine, Ms. Magazine, Willamette Weekly, The New York Public Library & several anthologies. She’s the author of Mannish Tongues (Platypus Press 2017) & The Black Condition ft. Narcissus (Nightboat 2019). Her film & performance work has been installed & screened across the country from classrooms to museums. She has been a Lambda Literary Fellow & Precipice Art Grant Recipient through Portland’s Institute of Contemporary Art. she the mother of Tournament Haus, a boutique Ballroom house in Portland Kiki Scene, where she manages & produces young Black queer & trans artists. Find her talking slick or in another dimension.



For any questions or for more information about the PNCA Hallie Ford School of Graduate Studies Symposium, please contact