Design Feast Interview with Nate Burgos

Design Feast Interview & Mapping Arts Project Updates

Design Feast's Nate Burgos interviewed me about work processes and Mapping Arts Project.

Also, If you've peeked at the project online, you might have noticed that Denver is online! And, we've changed the styling and search features. This is all still in progress, so you will see some continued changes over the next several months. In the meantime, check out the interview and the new Denver research on Mapping Arts Project. For Mapping Arts-Denver, students in my course, "Geographies of the Arts," at University of Colorado, Boulder, researched and wrote about the city's arts history from the 1950s - 1980s. This city's research and initial web launch was supported with the help of funding from Denver Arts & Venues' IMAGINE2020 Fund and the Laboratory for Race and Popular Culture at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and the awesome collaborative partnerships with Giant Hat Works and Blackbird Arts & Research.

Read the interview here, or via the text below.

Thanks for reading and for your support of my work!


"Pride, Work, and the Necessity of Side Projects: Lara Stein Pardo's Mapping Arts Project"
August 17, 2016
Interview with Nate Burgos and Lara Stein Pardo

Nate Burgos: What are you working on—on the side?

Lara Stein Pardo: I think I should first start by saying that I don’t see my projects as ‘side projects,’ even if they aren’t what I work on every single day. As someone who works across fields of art, anthropology and the web, all of the work I do is broken down into ‘projects.’ I work on them to varying degrees depending on the needs of the project, external factors like collaborative deadlines or grant deadlines, and a general timeline for a project’s progress.

In any case, the project I’ll share with you is Mapping Arts Project. It is a project, mapping cultural arts histories of cities through places where artists have lived and worked. Currently, the project includes three cities—Miami, Providence and Denver. Chicago is coming soon. We are in the middle of a big design transition. As we added Denver to the project we knew we needed to overhaul the searching and sorting features. We took the time to do UX research and testing that revealed some areas for improvement in the visual design and user flow throughout the site. We are making changes now, so the site will continue to look and feel different (and work even better!).

NB: How do you manage to work on your side project(s)?

LSP: In my daily life, the projects I’m working on take center stage. I have a fairly typical weekdays work week, with the occasional extended hours for a big push on a project, a guest lecture, or a grant proposal. On a daily basis, I use Google Calendar to plot out time to work on Mapping Arts Project, and all of my projects. Mapping Arts Project is collaborative, so depending on the task, say research or coding, I’ll work with others to define a timeline and benchmarks. Then, I work in times into the weeks ahead for the work that needs to be done. One thing that helps me manage my time is to set up calendar alerts for the goals and benchmarks, or even a reminder to check in with collaborators.

NB: Why have a side project?

LSP: For someone who has a full-time gig where they are working on someone else’s project, I can really see the value in having a ‘side project.’ It’s yours. It’s a place to learn, grow and have creative control. I’m in a different kind of position at the moment. All of my projects are truly my own. Perhaps that makes them all side projects, or a lot of sides that make the whole. I will say that there are times when I thought I wouldn’t be able to continue to grow Mapping Arts. Say, if I hit a stumbling block in terms of funding. But, the project itself is important to me; the significance of mapping out hidden histories and making artist visible for the role they have played in creating the places where we live and visit. The driving force in Mapping Arts—the idea of linking geography, art and history, inspires me to breath new life into it as necessary.

Featured on Creative Mornings

Thanks, Creative Mornings!

Today I was featured on Creative Mornings' Instagram page. They have been highlighting "creatives" in a wide set of fields through brief interviews on our practice and life in general. I've been inspired reading the profiles, and it's a honor to be included.

Creative Mornings has chapters around the world that meet monthly, usually for a breakfast talk. While I've been following online for a while, I started attending the Louisville gatherings in-person while I'm in the city for the summer.

To see the whole feature, where I talk about art and art practice, working independently, developing social networks, and even correspondence drawing class, head over to Creative Mornings' Instagram.


Photo by Vonda Kirby, 2016.

Spring Updates and Events

Over the past few months, it was great to hear from you, see some of you, and even meet some new people, at the conferences and events in the Fall. I have a few updates, and a new lineup of events for the Spring. Hope to see you soon!


I was interviewed by Erin Armstrong for, "Theory & Practice of 'Doing'//From Digital Humanities to Posthumanities."

New artwork and writing are on my website. Click over to see  "Archival Performances" from 2012, and "All the Things that Scare Me," from 2013-2014. More images will continue to be added.



This month, I will be heading to Fort Lewis College as a visiting artist/scholar. Then, in April, I am convening a workshop and talk with Ruth Behar at the University of Colorado. At the end of April, I will participate in the Fourth Exposure Symposium of the Dark Room: Race and Visual Culture Faculty Seminar at Mount Holyoke College.

Details for the events follow. As always, please share the information, and, if you are in the area, it would be great to see you.

Visiting Artist/Scholar

February 25-26, 2016 - guest lecture and jury the exhibition
March 2, 2016 - awards ceremony
Fort Lewis College

Workshop and Talk with Ruth Behar

April 6, 2016
University of Colorado, Boulder

Workshop - Ethnographic Writing, 9:30 - 11:30 AM, registration required. 

Talk - "Between Two Cubas," 5PM refreshments, 5:15 Talk, Center for British and Irish Studies, 5th Floor Norlin Library.

Convener: Lara Stein Pardo

Presented by the Laboratory for Race and Popular Culture and Blackbird Arts and Research

Grant funding from the Graduate Committee on the Arts and Humanities Visiting Scholar/Artist Grant.

Co-sponsored by: Anthropology, Film Studies, University Libraries, English, Latin American Studies Center, Art and Art History, Geography, Sociology, Critical Media Practices, History, Writing and Rhetoric, Ethnic Studies, and Jewish Studies

Fourth Exposure Symposium of the Dark Room:
Race and Visual Culture Faculty Seminar

April 23, 2016
Mount Holyoke College

Photograph from the Third Exposure Symposium at Wellesley College, 2015.

More details on my talk and the program coming soon.

Thank you for your support!
Lara Stein Pardo

Geographies of the Arts, Spring Course at CU

In the Spring, I will be teaching, "Geographies of the Arts," at the University of Colorado, Boulder. It is a Special Topics course in the Ethnic Studies Department. If you are a student at CU, and want to learn about concepts of geographies, arts, and cultural life, and work on a collaborative research and digital mapping project, this would be a good class for you. The class will culminate in the launching of Mapping Arts-Denver, and as a class, we will work on shaping, researching, and producing the project. Check out what we've done in Miami and Providence. If this sounds interesting to you, see you in January!

Fall Events and Talks - Boulder, Toronto, Denver

Happy almost Fall! I've arrived in Denver and started work in the Laboratory for Race and Popular Culture and the Department of Anthropology at the University of Colorado, Boulder. I have a few events and talks coming up - in Boulder, Toronto, and Denver - that I wanted to share with you. If you are in the area, it would be great to see you there.

Thanks for your support!

More details about each event below:

Silkscreen Print in Studio, 2010

Silkscreen Print in Studio, 2010

Engaged Anthropology: Responsibility and Scholarship in the Current Political Moment
University of Colorado, Boulder
September 25, 2015 at 10:45AM

I'll be a discussant on the panel, "Politics of Positionality and Engagement" for the Graduate Student Anthropology Conference on Engaged Anthropology. Find the full schedule here.

Photograph by Donnalyn Anthony, 2011

Photograph by Donnalyn Anthony, 2011

"Shooting in the Streets: Black Women Photographers and Documentary Practices”
American Studies Association Meetings in Toronto, Canada
October 10, 2015 at 10AM

In the talk, "Shooting in the Streets: Black Women Photographers and Documentary Practices” I discuss the intersections of photographic practice, race, gender, and public space. Street photography pictures life in public spaces. A person sitting on a bench waiting for the bus. A grandmother reaching out for a child’s hand as they cross the street. The way the street lights look as they reflect off store windows and black pavement. Along with these images, the space and idea of the ‘street’ or the ‘city’ conjures many images including bustling activity, commerce, danger, prostitution, drugs, and crime. The spaces of the street have a structure and a rhythm that normalizes who can freely negotiate its terrain. The work of women documentary photographers opens up new ways of seeing and experiencing the daily lives, practices, and nuances of public life. Further, attention to the ways street photography has been regulated by race and gender makes clear how the work of women photographers has been largely unseen as well as the implications of the images they produce.

FotoKonbit* participant photo, Haiti. Collaborative project, Noelle Théard.

FotoKonbit* participant photo, Haiti. Collaborative project, Noelle Théard.

"Looking Again: Race and Gender in the Practice of Photography and Ethnography"
American Anthropological Association Meetings in Denver, Colorado
November 20, 2015 at 4PM

In the book chapter, “Contemporary Black Photographic Practice in Miami, Florida: Noelle Théard and Donnalyn Anthony” in Transatlantic Feminisms: Women and Gender Studies in Africa and the Diaspora, I write about race, gender, photography, and transnational feminisms through a focus on practice. The practice of making art. The practice of picturing people. The practice of research and writing ethnography. This focus on practice shifts attention to how things and ideas are formulated. Importantly, in this book about the multiple definitions of feminisms, research about practice, opens up the space for defining, redefining, and differences. In this paper, I will discuss the chapter on black photographic practice and the works of Noelle Théard and Donnalyn Anthony. I reflect on the research, writing, discussion, and revision that were instrumental in the process of this ethnographic chapter, and research on artists overall.

*Special Note: FotoKonbit is currently running a funding campaign for new projects in Brooklyn and Port-Au-Prince! Contribute ASAP and receive photos and other items from the project:

Warren Center Newsletter Article and Upcoming Talks in April 2015

Well, hello, April! I have a few updates and upcoming events to share. This post includes info about a recent essay and two talks I will be giving this month.

The Spring 2015 issue of the Robert Penn Warren Center Newsletter features my essay, "Geographies of the Arts." In the essay I talk about my research on arts and places, and share stories of some of the challenges along the way. I also share updates on my research during my time as a Fellow at Vanderbilt, where I have been working with a group of faculty in the seminar, "Public Scholarship in the Humanities." Please click the image below to read the article.

This month I'm heading back to the northeast for a couple of presentations. The first stop is at Wellesley in Massachusetts for the "Third Exposure I The Dark Room" symposium on race and visual culture on April 11, 2015. The next stop is at Brown University in Rhode Island for "Writing the Undercommons," on April 22, 2015. The symposium at Brown is part of a 2014-2015 Research Seed Grant from the Pembroke Center. If you are in the area, I hope to see you there! 

My talk at Wellesley, "Palm Trees and Billboards: Navigating the Tropics in Art and Anthropology," is at 11AM on April 11, 2015. The symposium is free and open to the public, and runs from 8:30AM to 7PM. Click the image above for the program.

Elusive Landscape, Dinorah de Jesus Rodriguez, 2010.

Elusive Landscape, Dinorah de Jesus Rodriguez, 2010.

On April 22, 2015 at Brown University, I will present my research on "Cutting through the Archives." This research looks at the works of Dinorah de Jesús Rodriguez and Maria Martinez-Cañas, and their active production of archives and history through cutting, scratching, drawing, erasing, and painting film and photographs. The symposium will take place at Hillel on Brown's campus, from 9:30AM to 11:30AM. 

Mapping Arts-Chicago, coming soon

New Year, New City
Introducing Mapping Arts-Chicago!

Blackbird Arts and Research is happy to announce there will soon be a third city in the Mapping Arts Project. Welcome, Chicago! Mapping Arts-Chicago is the work of a partnership between Blackbird and Honey Pot Performance. Honey Pot Performance's project, Juke Cry Hand Clap, looks at the histories of house music in Chicago throughout the 20th century. They've been hosting workshops, creating dance performances, and gathering information about the people, places, sounds, and movements that have been instrumental in Chicago's music scene through the "Mapping Sessions." Now, we are collaborating to bring this to the MAP!

Juke Cry Hand Clap, photo by Michael Sullivan, 2014

Juke Cry Hand Clap, photo by Michael Sullivan, 2014

Juke Cry Hand Clap, Mapping Sessions, 2014

Juke Cry Hand Clap, Mapping Sessions, 2014

Social in Practice, on view at NYU

Photographs from Mobile Portrait Studio are on view in the exhibition, Social in Practice, at NYU from October 16 - November 29, 2014.

Read more from the Department of Photography & Imaging . . .

DPI Chair Deborah Willis and Photography & Imaging alumnus Hank Willis Thomas curated an exhibition entitled Social in Practice: The Art of Collaboration, which will be on view at NYU Tisch Gulf + Western Gallery & 8th floor galleries from October 16th through November 29th, 2014. The featured projects, each addressing a specific social issue, span an array of mediums and represent artists’ initiatives around the world.

Pete Brook at reviewed the show at its debut venue, The Nathan Cummings Foundation, and describes the “innovative” show as “teeming with powerful and important works.” The review goes on to give to great descriptions of all of the included projects. Link.

The exhibition showcases the work of DPI faculty Lorie NovakPaul Owen, and Bayeté Ross-Smith, and DPI alumni Wyatt GalleryKristina KnipeRichard RenaldiAlexandra DiraclesPetrushka Bazin Larsen, and Hank Willis Thomas. Other artists and collaborations, both local and international, include Sonia Louise DavisRussell FrederickLonnie GrahamEric GottesmanAyasha GuerinJamila Mohamad HookerLara Stein PardoNoelle ThéardHong-An TruongChristine Wong YapBe The WitnessThe Laundromat Project, and Question Bridge Interactive.

Event Date and Time:
October 16, 2014 – November 29th, 2014
Gallery hours are 9am-7pm weekdays, and noon to 5pm Saturdays.

Opening Reception:
Thursday, October 16th 6-8pm

Gulf + Western Gallery (1st Floor)
8th Floor Galleries @ DPI
721 Broadway @ Waverly Place
New York, NY 10003

Art Basel News, Brunch on 12/6

Join me at Global Caribbean V during Art Basel Miami Beach, where I will be showing Mapping Arts Project - Miami. The installation will highlight historic Caribbean-Miami artistic connections through artists including Zora Neale Hurston, Katherine Dunham, Desi Arnaz, Harry Belafonte, and Langston Hughes. Whether you're in Miami or not, you can access the site online and on most mobile devices including iPads, iPhones, and Android phones.

On Friday, December 6, from 10AM - 12PM, there will be an opening reception aka Basel Brunch at the Little Haiti Cultural Center, 260 NE 59th Terrace, Miami, FL. Parking is available on site.

The exhibition, overall, focuses on the visual discourses concerning the Caribbean that currently occur in Miami. Special performance by the Peter London Global Dance Company and participation of the FIU Digital Library Island Luminous online exhibit and the Mapping Arts Project-Miami. 

For the complete Art Basel calendar visit: 

Mapping Arts Project - Miami at Global Caribbean V is made possible through a partnership with the Green Family Foundation. Thank you!

Hope to see you in Miami!


Postdoc at Brown, Center for Public Humanities

Great news! Starting in August I will be a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage at Brown University. At Brown I will continue my research about contemporary artists and the relationship between Miami and the Caribbean that I began in my dissertation, work on building the Mapping Arts Project, teach a course entitled “Space and Place: Geographies of the Black Atlantic,” and a whole lot more, like meeting faculty and students, presenting talks, and going to conferences. Hopefully, I will get to work on a print series I have had in mind for a very long time. I recently made my first visit to Providence, settled on a place to live, and I am looking forward to joining everyone at the Center.

Pecha Kucha: Practice & Process, March 15

I will be presenting as part of an upcoming Pecha Kucha event at the Wolfsonian called “Practice & Process,” on March 15, from 7 – 9 PM. The evening focuses on the work that goes into creative productions rather than only the object itself. I will be talking about the Mapping Arts Project, and I’ll likely show some behind-the-scenes looks at the progress of the site and some of the newly acquired images.

Event Information

Once the heroic image of class consciousness and national character in the first half of the twentieth century, the worker has mainly disappeared from our contemporary visual landscape. This fast-paced program is designed to make visible the practice and process of a variety of South Florida workers, including Eleanor Hoh (wok star), Lara Stein Pardo (artist/anthropologist/Mapping Arts Project), Ruth Reitan (professor/independent filmmaker), Gabriele Marewski (farmer/Paradise Farms), Chana Sheldon (executive director/Locust Projects), Andrew Kaufman (photographer), Andrei Nana (ultramarathoner), and Mylinh Nguyen (art director/The Wolfsonian). Their presentations will reveal how the creative process and laboring journey is as important, if not more, than the final product destination.  Co-presented with AIGA Miami (American Institute of Graphic Arts). For more information, visit and contact Wolfsonian public programs manager Carl Hildebrand at or 305-535-2644.

Wolfsonian-FIU, 1001 Washington Ave., Miami Beach, FL

7 – 9 PM. Free

Reception provided by Apothic Wine.