May 13, 2021
Care Practices brings together creative practitioners exploring manifestations of care from the intimate to the urban environment. Mediated through writing, teaching, and curation, their work has long considered the complexity of care work which has become more widely evident over the last year. As the importance of care becomes increasingly undeniable, do we hone in on a clearer picture of our interdependence, or do the blurred lines of reciprocity have something else to offer? This public conversation invites dialogue around these questions in response to Contact Traces and across these individuals’ diverse practices.

Jia Yi Gu is an architectural historian, curator, and designer whose specialties include minor institutional spaces, ethics of care, and media-based practices in architecture. She is Director of MAK Center for Art and Architecture in Los Angeles and co-director of architecture research and design studio Spinagu. Jia is Visiting Faculty in Architecture at California College of Arts, where this spring she taught the undergraduate and graduate seminar ‘Practicing Care: Ethics, Labor, and Representation,’ a survey of contemporary conversations on the ethics of care in art, architecture, culture, and environments. She is co-curating with Rosario Talevi the forthcoming Fall of 2022 exhibition Ecologies of Care, which builds upon an expansive definition of care as an interspecies and planetary process.

Rebekah Taussig is a Kansas City writer and teacher with her doctorate in Creative Nonfiction and Disability Studies. Her work appears in publications from TIME to Design*Sponge. Her recent essay, "The Fluidity of Care," grapples with the blurred lines of caregiving. Released by HarperOne in August 2020, her memoir in essays, Sitting Pretty: The View from My Ordinary Resilient Disabled Body provides a nuanced portrait of a body that looks and moves differently than most. She also runs the Instagram platform @sitting_pretty, where she crafts “mini-memoirs” to contribute nuance to the collective narratives being told about disability.

Victoria Papa, Levi Prombaum, and Laura Thompson are the co-directors of CARE SYLLABUS, a cross-institutional, multimodal public education resource of the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) and Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA). CARE SYLLABUS highlights artistic expression, activism, and thinking that fosters a radical communal imagination. The creative impulses rooted in these modes of collaboration and critique spur new ways of exploring the histories of care - and shifting praxes of care - currently at work in our homes, classrooms, and communities. CARE SYLLABUS offers guest-curated, themed modules from autumn 2020 to autumn 2021, accompanied by a public education program; a forum, care/of, that offers reflections on art and care submitted by partners and community members; and a resource guide that features directions for further learning and community involvement.

Victoria Papa is co-director of Care Syllabus and Assistant Professor of English at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, where her research and teaching examine the intersections of care, creative expression, and the survival of structural traumas in American literature and visual culture. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Modernism/modernity, ASAP/J, Public Books, Tulsa Studies for Women’s Literature, Literature and History, and Madness in Black Women’s Diasporic Fictions: Aesthetics of Resistance (2017). She is currently at work on her first book, tentatively titled, “Aesthetics of Survival: Modernist Literature and Minoritarian Worldmaking.”

Levi Prombaum is a 2020-2021 American Council of Learned Societies Leading Edge Fellow, working as a co-director of Care Syllabus at MASS MoCA. Prombaum received his PhD in Art History from University College London in 2019, and comes to MASS MoCA from the Guggenheim, where he served as curatorial assistant administering the acquisitions program and where he helped curate exhibitions of American painting and photography. Next year, Prombaum will be a Getty/ACLS Postdoctoral Fellow in Art History, spending time revising his doctoral thesis, about portraits of the writer and activist, James Baldwin, into a book.

Laura Dickstein Thompson is the Director of Education at MASS MoCA and has worked in museum education and administration for 30 years. Since 2002, Thompson has directed Kidspace, the award-winning art gallery and studio space at MASS MoCA, for which she has curated 30 exhibition projects with renowned artists and established its ArtBar. In 2012, Thompson’s responsibilities expanded to a senior management position as MASS MoCA’s founding director of education. Thompson is also a visiting assistant professor of arts administration at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. Her research and writing focus is on the integration of mindfulness into museum pedagogy and has co-written on the topic for the Journal of Museum Education and Mindfulness. Dr. Thompson holds a doctorate in art education from Columbia University Teachers College.


This panel discussion accompanies the exhibition Contact Traces, on view from May 9–June 6, 2021.

Thursday, May 13th
5:00pm to 6:00pm PST
Zoom Webinar
Register Here

Event documentation is available here

Jia Yi Gu
Jia Yi Gu


Rebekah Taussig
Rebekah Taussig


 The Co-Directors of Care Syllabus, Victoria Papa, Laura Thompson, and Levi Prombaum
The Co-Directors of Care Syllabus, Victoria Papa, Laura Thompson, and Levi Prombaum