Alice Fox, Wrapped Stone: Dandelion Braid

SDA 2024 Conference - Parallel Play

Exploring the Intersection of Individual Artistic Vision and Group Creativity

January 27 February 3, 2024




How does collective creativity impact your practice? How do you draw inspiration from your creative community? SDA’s 2024 online conference, Parallel Play, builds a collective space to delve into the intersection of individual artistic vision and group creativity. Join fellow makers in exploring how cross-disciplinary interactions, interpretations and discoveries generate new ways of thinking. Parallel Play includes presentations from featured speakers Ruth E. Carter and Nnenna Okore, as well as more than 15 hours of programming spread across an entire week.

Please register through SDA’s website. The conference will be held over Zoom and will be recorded and available to attendees until the end of March 2024. See below for detailed program descriptions.

Parallel Play includes presentations from featured speakers Ruth E. Carter and Nnenna Okore, as well as more than 15 hours of programming spread across an entire week.

Ruth E. Carter

Nnenna Okore

Use the following links to navigate the conference website:

Schedule Quickview
Registration + Fees
Featured Speakers
Program Details
Sponsors and Partners

Schedule Quickview

Times shown are Eastern Time. Convert to your time zone.
Saturday, January 27, 2024
12:00 pm Welcome
12:10 pm Featured Speaker, Nnenna Okore: Walking the Talk through Social Dialogue
1:15 pm Break
1:30 pm People and Plants: Collaboration with the Natural World featuring May Babcock and Alice Fox
2:30 pm Break
2:45 pm In Conversation: Community and Criticality featuring Patricia Miranda with guests Jonathan VanDyke, Melissa Hilliard Potter, and Martha McDonald
4:00 pm Closing
Sunday, January 28, 2024
7:00 pm Mentor/Mentee Meet-Up: Engaging in Professional Relationships to Develop Your Career with Merill Comeau and Jodi Colella
Monday, January 29, 2024
2:00 pm Artist in Residence, Theda Sandiford’s Open Studio for Collaborative Play and Creation
7:00 pm Student Meet-Up with Beatrice Opokua Atencah and Nora McGinnis
Tuesday, January 30, 2024
2:00 pm SDA Member Studio Visits with Monika Häußler-Göschl (Germany), Evan Rosenberg (MA), and Ksenia Semirova (UK)
7:00 pm Educator and Teaching Artist Meet-Up with Emily Yurkevicz, Maggie D’Aversa, and Maggie Keef
Wednesday, January 31, 2024
7:00 pm SDA Member Studio Visits with Sofia Gonzalez (CA), Susanna Gaunt (MN), and Lissa de Sailles (Australia)
Thursday, February 1, 2024
2:00 pm Artist in Residence, Theda Sandiford’s Open Studio for Collaborative Play and Creation
7:00 pm SDA Social Hour with Board Members Andrea Vail and Betsy Konop
Saturday, February 3, 2024
12:00 pm Elisheba Johnson: Wa Na Wari
12:50 pm Break
1:00 pm Featured Speaker, Ruth E. Carter in conversation with Karen Baker, Fiber With A Cause
1:45 pm Break
2:00 pm Artists in Community with SDA Grant Awardees Gabi Nirino of the Chala Project and Jess Jones of Lost Weavings
2:45 pm Break
3:00 pm Artist in Residence: Theda Sandiford
3:30 pm Parallel Play
4:00 pm Closing

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Registration + Fees

  • Member: $150
  • Non-Member: $175
  • Student: $75 / Institutional Affiliate pricing upon request. Please contact us for details

SDA is working hard to remove barriers to participating in our programming. If the cost of attendance presents an issue, please complete and submit our short scholarship application. This opportunity is open to both members and non-members through January 15, 2024. The scholarship application is now closed.


Featured Speakers

Ruth E. Carter in Conversation with Karen Baker, Fiber With A Cause

Saturday, February 3, 1PM ET

Ruth E. Carter (she/her) is the two-time Academy Award winning American film costume designer. Best known for turning the Black Panther superhero into an African King, Carter makes history as the first Black person to win the Costume Design category and earns Marvel Studios their first Oscar recognition. For Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Carter makes history, again, for her outstanding costume design work and becomes the first Black woman to win multiple Academy Awards in any category and the first costume designer to win for the first film and its sequel.With over three decades in film, television, and theater, Carter has earned seventy credits and collaborated with prolific directors, including Spike Lee, Steven Spielberg, Ava DuVernay, and Ryan Coogler. Carter’s outstanding costume design work has been honored with Academy Award nominations for Malcolm X (1993) and Amistad (1998) and an Emmy nomination for the miniseries reboot of Roots (2016). The impact of her career in filmmaking has been recognized with the Costume Designers Guild’s Career Achievement Award (2019) and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (2021).

As Founder of Fiber With A Cause and Ethnographic Fiber Artist + Documentarian, Karen Baker (she/her) has been weaving and knitting for eight years. She focuses on using natural and organic fibers and materials to design ethnically handcrafted textiles, accessories, and rugs. Karen is researching the patterns, dyeing, weaving techniques and process of enslaved African American weavers before the Great Migration to fiber and textile design. From the research, she integrates their techniques into her artwork. Karen is currently completing a documentary on the history and narratives of African American weavers before the Great Migration under her Doctor of Design program at North Carolina State University. Karen is an SDA Board Member and part of the Equity, Access, and Integration Committee. In addition to Founder/Board President of the DC based nonprofit, Social Art and Culture, founded in 2009.


Nnenna Okore: Walking the Talk Through Social Dialogue

Saturday, January 27, 12:10PM ET

Nnenna Okore (PhD) (she/her) is a Professor at Chicago’s North Park University. Straddling art, research, and teaching, Okore engages ecological problems through her arts-based participatory practice. As an internationally acclaimed artist, Okore has been involved in numerous environmental art projects and exhibitions designed to produce research, dialogue, and artmaking about current waste issues. Largely deriving inspiration from her natural surroundings, Okore creates delicate works of art using biodegradable materials like bioplastics to engender awareness about sustainable practices in the art field.


Program Details

Saturday, January 27, 2024

People and Plants: Collaboration with the Natural World featuring May Babcock and Alice Fox

May Babcock (she/her) is an eco-centric artist who transforms sediment, seaweed, and excess plants into handmade paper, revealing the complexities of various waterways in New England. Rooted in place, her interdisciplinary practice reconnects people to the voice of the land and waters, transforming site materials into expansive installations, organic sculptures, analog photos and prints on paper, and textured pulp paintings. Babcock has exhibited nationally and internationally at places such as the RISD Museum of Art, New Bedford Whaling Museum in Massachusetts, National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute, and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in Louisiana. Awards include a creative community fellowship from National Arts Strategies and a Citizen’s Citation for Environmental Education from the mayor of Providence. Babcock has installed public art at Brown University, Illinois State Museum, Rhode Island State House, and T.F. Green International Airport. She is the founder of and is a certified invasive plant manager and master gardener.
Sustainability is at the heart of Alice Fox’s (she/her) practice. The desire to take an ethical approach has driven a shift from using conventional art and textile materials into exploring found objects, gathered materials and natural processes. Establishing her allotment garden as a source of materials for her work has provided a space where Alice can experiment, exploring the potential of what grows there, planted and wild, as well as other materials found on the plot. Following a first career in nature conservation, Alice studied Contemporary Surface Design and Textiles at Bradford School of Art (2011), followed by an MA in Creative Practice at Leeds Arts University (2019) in the UK. She has had work acquired by Bodelain Libraries, Oxford, Newcastle City Library, the International Quilt Museum, Nebraska and the Ahmanson Collection, USA. She was commissioned by the clothing company TOAST and Kettles Yard, Cambridge for their Re-New project in 2019. She is published by Batsford (2015 and 2022) and has a number of self-published titles.

In Conversation: Community and Criticality featuring Patricia Miranda with guests Jonathan VanDyke, Melissa Hilliard Potter, and Martha McDonald

Patricia Miranda (she/her) is an artist, curator, and educator. She is founder of The Lace Archive, an historical community archive of thousands of donated lace works and family histories; The Crit Lab, graduate-level critical seminars for artists; and MAPSpace exhibition and residency space. Patricia manipulates donated and repurposed lace and linens to create sculptures, installations, and two-dimensional works. The aggregation of individual stitches into monumental works makes visible the untold stories of labor, and labor of care, in the lives of women.

Jonathan VanDyke’s (he/him) work reflects on the unfolding of art objects in a dynamic relationship to the passing of time. Manifested through installations, paintings, videos, sculpture, writings, collaborative projects, and live and durational works featuring performers from the queer community of which he is a part, VanDyke’s work prioritizes slowness, pauses, subtexts, and doubt. He has exhibited internationally, has been a resident at Yaddo, The Hans Scharoun House of the Ferdinand Moller Foundation in Germany, Qwatz in Rome, and several other prestigious institutions. He received his MFA from the Milton Avery School at Bard College.

Melissa Hilliard Potter (she/her) is a feminist interdisciplinary artist, writer, and curator whose work has been exhibited in numerous venues including White Columns, Bronx Museum of the Arts, and Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, to name a few. Her films have been screened at international film festivals, such as the Cinneffable and the Reeling International LGBT Film Festival. Her work considers women’s culture through their handicraft, social customs, and gender rituals. She focuses on traditions that are endangered, underpaid and under-recognized due to industrialization, war, gender bias, and globalization.

Martha McDonald (she/her) makes performances and installations that feature handcrafted costumes and objects, which she activates through movement and song. She often develops site-specific interventions grounded in deep research into collections, archives, and historic material practices; and in response to the physical site. Her work has been shown extensively internationally and was included in Textiles: The Art of Mankind (Thames & Hudson, 2012) by Mary Schoeser. She received an MFA from Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.

Saturday, February 3, 2024

Elisheba Johnson: Wa Na Wari

Elisheba Johnson (she/they) is a curator, public artist, administrator, and disruptor. Feeling left out of the traditional art world, Johnson has dedicated her career to building bridges for artists of color to grow and thrive in our local arts community. Johnson, who has a BFA from Cornish College of the Arts, was the owner of Faire Gallery Café, a multi-use art space that held art exhibitions, music shows, poetry readings and creative gatherings. For six years Faire Gallery Café provided space for Seattle’s young BIPOC arts ecology to create new work, meet future collaborators and experiment with new ideas. She has since worked extensively within her local art community including Americans for the Arts Emerging Leaders Network advisory council, Seattle Office of Arts and Culture, the 2019 Portland Biennial, The Share Fund, Harvard’s Young American Leaders Program (YALP), and currently co-manages Wa Na Wari, a Black art center in Seattle’s Central Area that uses the arts to build community and resist displacement. Johnson has been awarded four Americans in the Arts Public Art Year in Review Awards and her personal art practice examines the beauty and triumph of Black life in America through mixed media and poetry.

Artists in Community with SDA Grant Awardees Gabi Nirino of the Chala Project and Jess Jones of Atlanta’s Lost Weavings

Gabi Nirino (she/her) is a weaver who creates two-dimensional and sculptural works of art. The Chala Project is a compilation of her work with corn husks (chala in the Quechua language) for over 12 years. Her research began as a part of a yarn production project with discarded materials at the National University of Lanús where she was teaching at the time. Her work with corn husks circles around art, jewelry, and identity. Corn is a foundational crop in the Americas. It is an apparent waste, which invisibly protects the earth and generates energy when it is thrown in the field. It appears as an element of cultural resistance, in relation to the defense of the original seeds and more just and sustainable ways of producing food.

Jess Jones (she/her) is a textile artist and Associate Professor of Textiles at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia as well as Affiliate Faculty with the Institute of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Jones’s work examines psycho-geography, textiles’ relationship to the urban environment, and the creation of digitally derived layered and stitched compositions. Her series, Weeping Quilts, can currently be seen at the Momentum Gallery in Asheville, NC.

Artist in Residence, Theda Sandiford

Theda Sandiford (she/her) is an award-winning self-taught fiber and installation artist based in Jersey City, NJ. Using racial trauma as a starting point, Theda juxtaposes various fibers with a variety of found materials using free form weaving, coiling, knotting, crochet, and jewelry making techniques. Meticulously collected materials and community donations, transformed by their collective memory become “social fabric,” weaving together contemporary issues and personal narratives. Community art making is key to her process. Theda curates’ multi-disciplinary experiences pairing people, sound and art making to create a safe space to explore themes such as equity & inclusion, sustainability, and personal wellbeing. Theda has shown extensively nationwide; including Expo Chicago, Untitled Art Fair, Governor’s Island, New Jersey Arts Annual and American Contemporary Craft: National Juried Exhibition. Among others, Theda received the 2020 Jersey City Arts, Visual Artist Award, the 2021 Fellowship in Craft from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and 2022 Jersey City Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship.

Meetups – Open to All

We’re excited to meet all of you! Meetups are casual, moderated Zoom Meetings and are a great way to connect with fellow participants while working on a lap project. Take advantage of this real-time opportunity to network or talk about what you have learned during the week. All are welcome!

Check out our Meet Ups schedule!

Sponsors + Partners





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