Mandy Harris Williams
Mandy Harris Williams is a theorist, multimedia conceptual artist, writer, educator, and internet/community academic. She is from New York and is currently living in Los Angeles. Mandy's work seeks to get everybody the love that they deserve.
A graduate of Harvard, having studied the History of the African Diaspora, as well as the mass incarceration crisis, and other contemporary black issues, she received her MA in Urban Education and worked as a classroom teacher for 7 years.
She integrates a holistic didactic style in to her current creative practice. Her creative work has been presented at Paula Cooper Gallery, Navel Gallery, Knockdown Center and Women's Center for Creative Work, to name a few.
She has contributed writing work to Dazed Magazine, MEL magazine, ForHarriet, and The Grio and is a frequent radio and podcast guest. Follow her at @idealblackfemale on Instagram.
#BrownUpYourFeed - Black Screen Stories 101
From Birth of a Nation to Birth of the Baddie, how have black bodies, souls, and minds been represented in screen culture? Social media, and especially Instagram, has democratized how we create media, but does our new ability to produce and share media necessarily equal liberation? How do we see a movement away from black women's stereotypes, Mammies, Jezebels, Sapphires, Queens in a social media era? Or have these stereotypes just been updated?
#BrownUpYourFeed 101 - Is Instagram anti-black?
And if so, how so? Is it the platform itself? Is it the users? The platform, and it's predecessor, Vine, represent the most instantaneous cultural exchanges in history. But do these exchanges help black people or hurt them? With so much of viral culture coming from the black community, it's critical to understand how black people are valued on the platform. This talk proposes several planks of examination including how black people are able to monetize social media success, colorism, cultural appropriation, and more.
#BrownUpYourFeed - Getting Fed by Your Feed:
An image says a thousand words and reifies hundreds of concepts. An image indicates tens of race, gender and interactive structures in how it is conceived, created, distributed and attended to. This talk/workshop asks us to examine why we follow what we do, and more importantly, how it is serving us. Many of us use Instagram with automaticity, not acknowledging that the images we are feeding ourselves work against our self esteem and value system. How can we design our followed media to sustain and augment our self esteem?
#BrownUpYourFeed - Curating Revolutionary Voices in Social Media
This talk/workshop examines and celebrates those who are making sustainable revolutionary social media. We look at the history of radical black art making, generate aesthetic indicators for what protest/revolutionary media looks like, and place contemporary accounts in to a long standing tradition. We will look at virtue signaling by companies and individuals and develop individualized modules for discerning what media is authentically progressive and that which misses the mark.
#BrownUpYourFeed - Cracking the Algorithm
A deep look into what we DO and DO NOT know about one of the world's most captivating and addicting social media platforms. How can a deeper understanding of algorithm, user design and interface, content moderation, terms, and policies help us build a more healthy and holistic interaction with the platform? An intersectional consideration of the systems that run Instagram, and how they interact with existing power structures in media at large.
... Mandy is a competent and capable writer in the aforementioned topics, but also a host of others around the experience of black womanhood. A millennial, a New Yorker, a Harvard Graduate, and former board member of one of the nation's oldest social clubs, her perspective is unique, challenging and enlivening -- and a welcome voice in any discourse. Let's talk about what you'd like to hear her discuss!
Other topics may also be available on request!
"When we had Mandy on our show, she blew my mind. Her voice is unique, inspired, hilarious. I can't wait to see her speak again! The world needs to hear what she has to say -- she's a national treasure."
- Whitney Gibson, Co-Host, "Whits and Giggles" on NTS Radio
Past Talks and Workshops
- Hard to Read : Reading on Body Language at the Standard DTLA (Video Available)
- Panelist for Pillow Talk at the Standard DTLA
- Cixous72 Poetry Reading
- Two Person Show at Paula Cooper Gallery
- Getting Fed by Your Feed Workshop at Women's Center for Creative Work
- Lovelace "BROAD BAND" Book Release #BrownUp Your Feed Talk at Navel Gallery
- #BrownUpYourFeed Talk at Chroma NY Conference at the Knockdown Center (Audio Available)
- Moderator for Gavin Brown's Enterprise "A Life in Pictures" Closing Event