Associate Curator María Elena Ortiz welcomes Susan Robeson, writer, documentary filmmaker, and producer, and Dr. Alpesh K. Patel, Associate Professor of Contemporary Art and Theory at Florida International University, for a conversation about art and activism centered around PAMM's exhibition Steve McQueen: End Credits. This video installation presents the extensive, now declassified, archive of American singer, actor and activist, Paul Robeson—Susan Robeson's grandfather.
Susan Robeson is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, broadcast journalist, author, and longtime activist. She has produced extensively for public television stations and network affiliates in New York City. As executive producer of the PBS public station in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Robeson ran a documentary unit and managed a second channel, which she transformed into a model for community empowerment and development. Robeson has worked extensively with street gangs around the nation documenting efforts to organize peace treaties, and spent time in post-apartheid South Africa training township activists in broadcast-quality video production. She also designed a nationwide citizen journalism initiative for the President of Timor-Leste—Nobel Peace laureate, Dr. Ramos-Horta—to help foster civic engagement and build democracy in this first new nation of the 21st century. Early in her career, Robeson co-founded Third World Newsreel, an independent film production and distribution collective and for many years produced LIKE IT IS with Gil Noble on WABC-TV.
Robeson has been a visiting professor in film, American studies and African American studies at Macalester College, Carleton College, and Colorado College, and is currently an adjunct professor in the Communications Department at William Paterson University.
Robeson is the author of the award-winning book, The Whole World In His Hands: A Pictorial Biography of Paul Robeson, and a forthcoming children's book, Grandpa Stops A War. She lives in the New York City area where she is producing her first dramatic feature film and is Executive Director of the Paul Robeson Foundation.
Dr. Alpesh Kantilal Patel is Associate Professor of Contemporary Art at Florida International University in Miami. His art historical scholarship, criticism and curating reflects his queer, anti-racist, and transnational approach to contemporary art. He is the author of Productive failure: writing queer transnational South Asian art histories (Manchester University Press, 2017) and contributor to scholarly volumes such as Creolising Europe: Legacies and Transformations (2015) and peer-reviewed journals such as e-misférica: The Journal of the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics. His research has been supported by grants and fellowships from the National Endowment of Humanities, Arts Council England, Fulbright Foundation, New York University, and Cranbrook Academy of Art. A frequent contributor to international art magazines, he worked from 1998 to 2005 in the curatorial and director's departments of the Whitney Museum of American Art and New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York City. Dr. Patel received his PhD in Art History & Visual Studies from the University of Manchester and a BA in History of Art with distinction from Yale University.