MYRIAM D. DIATTA, BFA, MFA, PhD 

/meer-yam jaa-ta/
(b. 1990 Dakar)


1.  INFO
2. STUDIO
3. APPROACH
4. RESEARCH
5. CV




︎︎︎ New newsletter
 
︎︎︎ Follow the 50+ hyperlinks (in grey) I’ve packed into this website. Through them, I cite the lineages, friends, and networks to which my work is linked.


Stuff I’m reading
Stuff I’m watching
Stuff I’m hearing
Stuff I’m learning
Stuff I’m crushing on



APPROACH

On this page, I unpack the guts of my work for those of us who like to geek out on the ‘how’ of things.  I foreground why it matters socially and culturally.



What’s at stake?

When we do work that’s social and politicized, what we do in practice and what we commit to in theory constantly influence one another. Together, these two things can generate momentum and create congestion—ultimately, they give shape to what we produce. 

This has real implications at home, across institutions, with neighbors, and in our contemporary realities: The principles an organization claims to stand by are in deep conflict with how daily meetings are run; We break an agreement with housemates to wash the dishes and exacerbate waning trust between us; You know, ancestrally, how to manage grief but you find yourself depending on institutions that you know have a history of harming your family. Western systems, workplaces, and schools enforce the separation of knowing and being, making it disturbing for many of us to navigate. 

Both my professional and academic careers have been dedicated to investigating theory and practice; values and actions; knowing and being; the abstract and the concrete. What’s come of these past ten years are methods, processes, frameworks, and sensibilities for handling theory and practice.

Image credit: Philip Chang 2018 | Tanzania

Image credit: Philip Chang 2018 | Tanzania




︎   OUTCOMES 

What results from using the tools, processes, and frameworks.

  • Collective and personal shifts
  • Capacity to notice and read the ever-emerging riffs between theory and practice
  • Deepened self-accountability
  • Matured politicised commitments
  • Fluency and language for describing the goings-on between theory and practice

︎    TOOLS

The hands-on methods and materials I use with participants and collaborators in my practice.

  • Art-led methods
    Materials and techniques adapted from art-making
  • Design-led methods
    Exercises repurposed from industrial design, visual communication, and architecture practice


︎  PROCESSES

The felt and embodied techniques for making visible the intangible values, theories, and principles that need attending to.

  • Interiority
    Creating protected space to attend to the structures of interior life—things that are home, private, inner, intersubjective, and illegible to others. What is personal is political.
  • Reflexivity
    Using critical frameworks to revisit, fragment, and understand our past experiences.
  • Materialising
    Making visible and tangible what’s intangible—our values, principles, commitment, knowledge, emotions, and culture.
  • Abstraction and metaphor
    Through a unique balance of distance and familiarity, metaphors make it possible to engage with the ethos of theory and the concrete everyday at once.
  • Lateral thinking and speculation
    The ability to imagine despite an overwhelming number unknowns. We can draft speculative illustrations cast two days, two months; ten years into the future. From there, we can reverse engineer what we want, need, and do in the present.

︎   FRAMEWORKS

The behind-the-scenes architecture that ground the Tools and Processes described here. The lineages that make this work possible. See Research for more.

  • Doing theory, thinking practice
    Cultural studies, performance studies, queer theory, and critical autoethnography help us articulate the mutually influential relationships of knowing and being—and the institutions that police and maintain this binary.
  • Criticality
    Critiquing through the contemporary capitalist westernized imperialist realities in which we live and building otherwise and elsewhere. Black studies and Black critical thought equip us with the words and potential towards liberation and abolition.
  • Practice-led research
    Drawing from design-led research, approaching the art of inquiry in iterative and emergent fashion. Prioritizing the epistemic depths of creative, artistic, and design processes; decentering scientific and theoretical research as the standard approaches for inquiry.
  • Undisciplining
    Critically analyzing the ongoing disciplinary territories in which we are entrenched. Operating under false pretenses, with bad documents.

︎ For now, please view on a desktop browser!