Hey! We want to introduce ourselves and share something we’re doing with 21c next month. We’re Black Lunch Table (BLT). A nonprofit organization and sixteen-year ongoing artist collaboration. BLT’s primary aim has been the production of discursive sites, wherein cultural producers engage in dialogue on a variety of critical issues.
BLT has home bases in Brooklyn and Chicago but we think of the project as nomadic. We’ve hosted events across two continents, six countries, and many cities. You can check this map to see everywhere we’ve held Wikipedia edit-a-thons. You never know, we could be in your neighborhood soon! One of our co-founders worked with 21c in Durham, NC and we’re linking up again to bring you a special Wikipedia contest for May.
BLT is an oral-history archiving project that animates discourse and initiates a democratic rewriting of contemporary history around and among the people living it. First staged in 2005 at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture the project takes segregated lunchroom seating as a metaphorical starting point. As lunch tables provide space for candid discussion and communion, BLT provides a physical and digital infrastructure to create affinity spaces for dialogue.
Currently, BLT hosts roundtable discussions, an online archive, and catalyzes the creation and improvement of a specific set of Wikipedia articles that pertain to the lives and works of Black artists. Our roundtable sessions provide both physical space and allotted time for interdisciplinary and intergenerational discussions, bringing together a diversity of community members and fostering candid conversations. The Artist’s Roundtable curates Black artists into discussions, while the People’s Table invites participation from all community members. Our Wikipedia initiative includes workshops that train new editors and activate the collective authoring of articles about the lives and works of Black artists.
For us, resource equity means equal access to knowledge, health, wealth, and social resources for everyone. It is not just representation but reparations. Resource equity is only possible if our stories are told by us, creating a record of our cultural, intellectual, and social contributions.
During May we’re partnering with 21c to highlight Black artists that have exhibited with or are in the 21c collection across their nine locations. Throughout the month, you’ll see “BLT Bingo Tips” on 21c’s IG account. Each tip highlights an artist on the bingo card and we hope is a little nudge to learn about the work of underrepresented artists on Wikipedia and improve their articles.