Understanding a Nonmonolithic Sense of Place

Contemporary historical research intersects with embodied memory as communities struggle to identify and situate their sense of “place” within an ever-changing ephemeral reality. This inquiry-based session will fuel the exploration of the nuanced nature of real and imagined belongingness – where experiences are embedded as seeds for long-term, intergenerational growth.


Okja Kwon

Okja Kwon is a Korean-born, transracial adoptee artist who communicates through intimate illustrative image-making. She explores the erasure of self in relation to the constructs of nationalism and belongingness. Kwon’s work whispers ideations of (re)imagined recollections of the fragmented memories of in-betweenness, loss and the repair and rebuilding of relationships.

Kwon has exhibited artwork in various state, national and international galleries and educational institutions. She holds BFA degrees in painting and drawing and narrative print and forms as well as an MS in the cultural foundations of education for which she wrote about the cultural and legal implications of family detention at T. Don Hutto in Taylor, Texas. Kwon’s current scholarship focuses on how archived histories create complex negotiations for ideas of nationalism, impacting those deemed “other.” Kwon teaches critical thinking and writing in the Department of Art and Design at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works as a cultural strategist and editor with artists, creatives and educational institutions.