SITE-SPECIFIC: Hip-Hop & Convergence Culture is a new course at OCAD U that you will be teaching this summer. Can you tell us more about it and what led you to conceptualizing this course?
AUDREY HUDSON: I graduated from OCAD in 2002 from the Faculty of Design, with a major in Material Art & Design. I took courses from a wide variety of programs, trying to find my voice as a mixed race Black female in a historically Eurocentric field of study. When I was doing my undergraduate work, I did not have very many courses that spoke to me on a personal level, but I always tried to bring my lived experiences into my practice. Two years ago when I was invited to teach at OCADU, I was ready to come back and share my knowledge with students through the experiences I gained as an artist/designer, educator and graduate student. I knew, that in coming back to the school that I loved, I wanted to insert my voice into the curriculum, and have the stories of Black, Indigenous and artists of colour to be heard in the art/design world. My aim behind this course is to connect this subculture of post-modernity we call hip-hop, to design, media and education.
S: How can hip hop be used as a tool for decolonizing education?
H: Colonization was (or arguably is), a long, painful process, and decolonizing is an even longer one. The history of colonization and settler colonialism in Canada is often silenced and unspoken about in curriculum. In order for the process of decolonization to begin, we need to acknowledge the need for Indigenous sovereignty and work together, Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, to make this a reality. This means, educating one’s self about the knowledges that are silenced, and bringing them back into educative spaces. For me, hip-hop is a way to bring these rich knowledges and voices into pedagogical spaces and discuss histories of colonization, race, representation and sovereignty. I view hip-hop as a tool to begin decolonizing education because of the attention to minority voices and to the powers it speaks back to. Hip-Hop artists such as, A Tribe Called Red, JB the First Lady, Shad, K’Naan, and Wab Kinew are just a few Canadians who have taken up the work in their music. Here is an example: