"Black Rainbow", Angela Hennessy; Exhibited in 2020 Queer Threads, Curious Spaces, curated by John Chaich

Holding Space: Breaking Barriers through Curation

Installation photo of Rikki Byrd’s curated show Behold, Be Held on view at the Block Museum of Art and Youth & Opportunity United, Inc., Evanston, IL April – August 2021

Presented in partnership with Textile Arts | Los Angeles on Friday, November 5, 2021 Holding Space: Breaking Barriers through Curation was a virtual panel discussion featuring three curators whose works explore themes of identity, culture, representation, and decolonization. Often utilizing fiber and textiles, their projects push the limits of curatorial practice within and beyond institutional settings. Speakers include Rikki Byrd, Kendra Greendeer, and John Chaich. The event was moderated by Diana N’Diaye.

This annual event is organized by SDA’s Equity, Access and Integration Committee. Holding Space celebrates, educates and encourages conversation with the intent of building a healthy, active, and diverse fiber community to drive change.

View the recording of the panel below.

*Originally aired November 5th, 2021 via Zoom

About the Panel

Rikki Byrd
Kendra Greendeer
John Chaich
Dr. Diana N’Diaye
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Rikki Byrd (she/her/hers) is a writer, educator and curator, with research interests in Black studies, performance studies, fashion studies and art history. Her research has been published in several academic journals and books, and exhibition catalogs. She has also written for Teen Vogue, Artsy, and Hyperallergic, among several other media outlets. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in African American Studies at Northwestern University, where her research focuses on the way clothing and textiles are used in performances of mourning across the Black diaspora. She is also a curatorial research assistant at Baltimore Museum of Art.

Kendra Greendeer (she/her/hers), a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation and descendant of the Red Cliff and Fond du Lac Bands of Lake Superior Ojibwe, is a Ph.D. candidate in Art History with a focus on contemporary Native women artists, the transformation of spaces, and decolonial museum practices. She is currently the Collections Manager for Little Eagle Arts Foundation, a Ho-Chunk run non-profit in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. She earned her B.F.A. in Museum Studies from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and M.A. in Art and Museum Studies from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

John Chaich (he/him/his) is an independent curator based in New York City interested in materiality, identity, and communication. He has organized solo and group exhibitions that have traveled worldwide. With Todd Oldham, he is co-editor of the artbook, Queer Threads: Crafting Identity and Community. He holds an MFA in Communications Design from Pratt Institute, where he is a visiting instructor.

Dr. Diana Baird N’Diaye, (she/her/hers) is a Senior Curator and Cultural Heritage Specialist at the Smithsonian’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage and a Fellow of the American Folklore Society. She is also a studio artist and designer working primarily in textiles. N’Diaye currently directs three Smithsonian living cultural heritage Initiatives: the African American Craft Initiative, the Crafts of African Fashion and the Will to Adorn: African American Style and the Aesthetics of Identity. The latter is the subject of an upcoming book. She is co-author of Curatorial Conversations: Reflections on the Folklife Festival, awarded the 2017 Smithsonian Secretary’s Research Prize, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Center for Craft.


Holding Space: Breaking Barriers Through Curation from Surface Design Association on Vimeo.