Dario Canul of artist collective Tlacolulokos stands in front of mural that depicts the two sides of Oaxaca | Gary Leonard


10 Questions: What is Memory?

"10 Questions" is a collaboration with UCLA and is an interdisciplinary course/public event series featuring conversations with leading scholars that provides both students and the public a special opportunity to experience the conversations that drive innovation at the university. 

Every Tuesday for ten weeks UCLA faculty members from disciplines as diverse as dance, medicine, photography, astrophysics, athletics, Chicana and Chicano studies, law, philosophy and religious studies will join UCLA Arts Dean Brett Steele to explore a fundamental question such as: What is space? What is failure? and What is freedom? The goal is to stimulate dialogue and exchange, and to seed a greater understanding of the profoundly interdisciplinary nature of knowledge production in the 21st century. We present a discussion primer for each week's session to get the conversation started.

Art&Arc100: 10 Questions sessions will be held on Tuesdays through December 4 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the Glorya Kaufman Hall theater (room 200). Free and open to the public (RSVP required). Pay by space parking available on campus adjacent to Kaufman Hall (Structure 4).

Event update: Unfortunately, Polly Nooter Roberts, scholar and curator of African arts, who was scheduled to participate in this session, passed away on September 11. She will be honored at the event, and her spot will not be filled with a replacement.



This week, Darnell Hunt, Kelsey Martin, and Peter Sellars will join Brett Steele, dean of the UCLA School of the Arts & Architecture to explore the question, "What is Memory?"



Iris Hall as Eve Mason in The Symbol of the Unconquered, 1920. USA. Directed by Oscar Micheaux | Courtesy of the California African American Museum
Iris Hall as Eve Mason in The Symbol of the Unconquered, 1920. USA. Directed by Oscar Micheaux | Courtesy of the California African American Museum

Darnell Hunt, sociologist

Dean of the UCLA Social Sciences Division and Professor in the Department of Sociology

Darnell Hunt is a renowned scholar of race, media and culture. Hunt is a professor of sociology and African-American studies and is the lead author of the Bunche Center’s Hollywood Diversity Report, an annual series that examines the relationship between diversity and profit in the entertainment industry. Prior to coming to UCLA, he was chair of the sociology faculty at the University of Southern California. He has written and edited several publications, including “Screening the Los Angeles 'Riots': Race, Seeing, and Resistance” and “Black Los Angeles: American Dreams and Racial Realities.” He has served as a member of the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations Academic Advisory Board and as UCLA’s representative to the Association of American Colleges and Universities.

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Recommended Reading: Screening the Los Angeles "riots": Race, Seeing, and Resistance (by Darnell M. Hunt)

Read chapter 2 entitled "Media, race and resistance." "Mass media are everywhere. Race is elusive. Resistance is unclear. For scholars who seek to study the interplay of mass media and race, these three assertions affirm the complexity of the enterprise. To begin with, mass media are so ubiquitous today that it is virtually impossible to distinguish the boundary of one medium from that of another. Defining meaningful boundaries of specific mass media texts is even more perplexing." (Note: This is a pdf document.) Read more.


Forgotten Black Women of Early Hollywood Take Center Stage at CAAM

Hollywood has long had a problem with representation and diversity, especially concerning anyone female and nonwhite. In the first half of the 20th century, black women were largely relegated to playing mammy and jezebel roles. D.W. Griffith’s 1915 classic “Birth of a Nation” even depicted African Americans as rapists and imbeciles, leading to a resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan. Read more.


You might see more women and minorities on TV, but Hollywood has a ways to go when it comes to diversity, report says (from Los Angeles Times)

The news is good but not great. Women and minorities have made modest gains in front of and behind the camera but remain significantly underrepresented as leading actors in films, as TV show creators, as writers who sweat out the dialogue — just about every part of the entertainment industry, according to a report to be issued Tuesday by UCLA. Read more.



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"Gary Simmons: Fade to Black" at the California African American Museum | Tito Molina/HRDWRKER
"Gary Simmons: Fade to Black" at the California African American Museum | Tito Molina/HRDWRKER

Kelsey Martin, neuroscientist

Dean of the David Geffen School of Medicine and Professor in the Departments of Biological Chemistry and Biobehavioral Sciences

Kelsey Martin was inspired to pursue a medical career by her experience as a Peace Corps volunteer. In addition to serving in her current appointments, Dr. Martin has been Chair of Department of Biological Chemistry and Co-Director of the UCLA-Caltech Medical Scientist Training Program. Martin has been a leader in UCLA’s drive to promote cross-disciplinary cooperation among scientists in neuroscience and other brain-related research. Her research focuses on how the brain stores memories. She has received numerous awards, including a W.M. Keck Foundation Distinguished Young Scholar in Medical Research Program Award, the Jordi Folch-Pi Award from the American Society for Neurochemistry and the Daniel X. Freedman Award from the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression.

Related content:

Recommended Reading: Cells of the Nervous System

This chapter was thoroughly revised by coauthor Kelsey Martin, with highlights that include several new developments in the field, including insights into optogenetics, a technique that uses channel rhodopsins and light to perturb the membrane; Signals that govern the formation and pruning of neural pathways; and signals and molecular mechanisms underlying synaptic plasticity. (Note: This is a pdf document.)Read more.


Music is Medicine: Using Art Therapy to Repair Pathways in the Brain

Restoring musical competence creates moments of epiphany for patients. In one case, relearning the scale created new brain paths that unlocked pockets of knowledge isolated by her accident. Now, she could regain free access to that previously learned information and use it readily as she played. Read more.


The Whole-Brain Child: Great Strategies for Creating Happy, Healthy Kids

After making the grade in high school biology class, many of us cheerfully forgot about the cerebral cortex, the amygdala and the hippocampus, but UCLA neuropsychiatrist Daniel J. Siegel and parenting specialist Tina Payne Bryson argue that understanding these terms, and the brain as a whole, is the most important thing you can do as a parent. Read more.




Aliens made by Calder Greenwood for "War of the Worlds" performance | Greg Grudt of Mathew Imaging
Aliens made by Calder Greenwood for "War of the Worlds" performance | Greg Grudt of Mathew Imaging

Peter Sellars, theater director

Distinguished Professor in the Department of World Arts & Cultures/Dance

Peter Sellars has gained international renown for his groundbreaking and transformative interpretations of artistic masterpieces and for collaborative projects with an extraordinary range of creative artists. He has several staged operas and has collaborated on the creation of many works with composer John Adams. Sellars has led major arts festivals, including the 1990 and 1993 Los Angeles Festivals and the 2002 Adelaide Arts Festival. He is a resident curator of the Telluride Film Festival, and was a Mentor for the Rolex Arts Initiative. Sellars is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, the Erasmus Prize for contributions to European culture, the Gish Prize, and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2014 he was awarded the prestigious Polar Music Prize and named Artist of the Year by Musical America.

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Peter Sellars Amplifies Female Voices at 70th Ojai Music Festival

Internationally acclaimed theater and opera director Peter Sellars, together with the event’s artistic director Thomas W. Morris, has created a program that promises to stimulate, provoke and continue to be boundary-breaking. Read more.


Skid Row and Central Avenue's Culture-Based Activism

This particular parade was a culmination of a long-term project that started in 2007 and which has since included discussion forums, public performances, concerts, readings, and of course, visual art. The overall goals of "Walk the Talk" were mainly to excavate and celebrate the personal stories that "have helped weave the social fabric of Skid Row. Read more.


'War of the Worlds' for the 21st Century Takes Over Downtown Los Angeles

Using the original radio script as the basis of this bold new performance piece, Yuval Sharon invited Annie Gosfield to compose the score, with Christopher Rountree (of wild Up fame) conducting the LA Phil New Music Group. With some 25 musicians performing at the Hall - instrumentation includes Theremin, celesta and sampling — the score was broadcast through three refurbished WWII-era sirens that have been reactivated for two-way communication. Read more.




Lili Bernard, "Blessed Mother and the Dragon," Oil on Canvas, 48”x36" © 2011 | Courtesy of the artist
Lili Bernard, "Blessed Mother and the Dragon," Oil on Canvas, 48”x36" © 2011 | Courtesy of the artist

In memoriam: Polly Nooter Roberts, scholar and curator of African arts

Professor in the Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance

Polly Nooter Roberts was trained as an art historian and became one of the world’s foremost scholars of African arts. She focused her research in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where she undertook long-term dissertation research among Luba peoples, and in Senegal, where she conducted field research on the arts of a local Sufi movement called the Mouride Way. Roberts studied the philosophical underpinnings of African visual and performance-based arts and was celebrated for her sensitive and innovative translation of cultural experience into museum exhibitions. She authored or co-authored 15 books; more than 100 scholarly articles published in noted books, academic journals, and online; countless brief entries in exhibition catalogues and encyclopedias. She also presented hundreds of keynotes, panel presentations and museum talks. She taught courses such as “Curating Cultures,” “World Arts/Local Lives” and “Arts of Memory.”

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Lili Bernard: Fighting Trauma With Art

Trauma is central to Bernard's work. The Los Angeles-based artist, who was born in Cuba and was raised primarily in New Jersey, delves into trauma experienced by African people brought to the New World as slaves and the scars that exist many generations later. She explores traumas experienced by women, whether it's the struggle to attain a beauty ideal to the pain of sexual assault. Bernard's work is boldly feminist and as universal in its themes as it is personal. Read more.


The Creators: South Africa Through The Eyes of Its Artists

Step into the lives of six artists sculpting South Africa's future from the fragments of a tumultuous past. Born in different areas of the formerly-segregated country, the artists separately recraft history -- and the impacts of apartheid -- in their own artistic languages. How does creative expression traverse the divide? The Creators was shot and edited entirely by South Africans, the majority of whom were trained while on the job and now work professionally in South Africa's burgeoning film industry. Watch now.


Umlilo on Rising Above Race, Gender, and the Mundane

Umlilo is part of the wave of South African artists who are revolutionizing the cultural landscape of the region. If you don’t fully understand his unique style, simply allow his experimental “Future Kawaii” style to stimulate your senses while he fuses kwaito and contemporary hip-hop, promotes androgyny and originality, and criticize injustice and intolerance. Read more.


Top Image: Dario Canul of artist collective Tlacolulokos stands in front of mural that depicts the two sides of Oaxaca | Gary Leonard




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