BlackLight is a performance ethnography project. We utilize the creativity and critical insight of a multigenerational group of women to reimagine the possibilities for living in under-resourced urban environments.
BlackLight’s mission of creatively responding to the richly textured history and complicated contemporary events in our daily lives emerged during Aimee Cox’s anthropological and activist work in Detroit, Michigan. While directing a homeless shelter for young women in Detroit, Aimee encountered a small group of young women who used dance and the written and spoken word to respond to the injustices they witnessed on a daily basis. This small group quickly transitioned from an intimate, in-house program focused on self-expression to a politically responsive project that engaged Detroiters in dialogue regarding the most significant issues facing their families and neighborhoods. By integrating ethnographic and performance methodologies, this original BlackLight helped individuals link their community concerns to broader global issues.
In Newark (Brick City), Aimee is working with young women to identify how BlackLight can most productively and creatively contribute to the city’s vibrant spirit of regeneration. This, for BlackLight, miminally means using the narrative power of ethnography and the affective immediacy of embodied arts practices to reveal new ways to solve old problems. We are energized by this process and excited to venture down these community-led pathways.