Dr. Bryan C. Keene Awarded a Faculty Development Seminar through the Council for American Overseas Research Centers

Apr 11

Dr. Bryan C. Keene (art and art history/theatre) was awarded a faculty development seminar to study Indigenous languages and cultures of Mexico through the Council for American Overseas Research Centers.

The Council for American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) has announced the 2024 awards for faculty to participate in an Overseas Faculty Development Seminar in Mexico. Fifteen faculty members from US community colleges and minority-serving institutions have been selected to participate in Mexico's Indigenous Languages and Cultures. Dr. Bryan C. Keene (he/él/they/elle), associate professor of art and art history and theatre, received an award and is eager to develop relationships with colleagues in Mexico to support possible exchanges with students, faculty, classified professionals, and administrators that center the arts and Indigenous communities here and abroad. The seminar collaborates with the Americas Research Network, providing intensive, on-the-ground training in Mexico City and Puebla.

Dr. Keene is most excited about this year’s seminar leaders, whose specializations in manuscript traditions, linguistics, museum curation, and theatre dovetail with Keene's various professional and personal experiences. Moreover, Mexico's Indigenous population is one of the world's largest, and Indigenous migrants from diverse linguistic and cultural traditions have come to the United States for decades, becoming integral community members, including at RCCD.

Dr. Bryan C. Keene is a strong advocate for RCC students, especially for Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and LGBTQIA2+ individuals. Additionally, Dr. Keene is an award-winning curator of fifteen exhibitions at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles and the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, author or editor of eight books, including Toward a Global Middle Ages: Traversing the Globe through Illuminated Manuscripts (2019) and The Fantasy of the Middle Ages: An Epic Journey through Imaginary Medieval Worlds (2022), and of fifty peer-reviewed articles. In collaboration with colleagues across RCCD, Dr. Keene co-authored and worked to receive approval for several new courses, including Mexican Art, Chicanx Art, Gender and Sexuality in Art, and Gallery and Exhibition Design. Prof. Keene has also been a key leader in a District-wide working group to develop a land acknowledgment in collaboration with local Indigenous community members. This work is relational and, therefore, ongoing. It also required significant research about the region's history and previous collaborations with Native groups in the area. His students inspired Dr. Keene to apply for the CAORC seminar.

For five consecutive semesters (2021-2022), Dr. Keene participated in the International Research and Exchange Board (IREX) Global Solutions Conversations program with Iraqi Kurdistan and Jordan university professors. These binational teams met for six weeks each term to discuss strategies for implementing the United Nations 17 Global Sustainability Goals by creating social media and physical projects in our community. Nearly 100 students benefited from the program, and each received professional badges for their resumes in international collaboration and cross-cultural communication. His leadership inspired several other faculty to participate in the program.

In fall 2022, college leadership voted to send a delegation of ten individuals, including Dr. Keene, to Ghana for the All African Diaspora Educational Summit at the University of Cape Coast. At the time, Dr. Keene's edited volume, Balthazar: A Black African King in Medieval and Renaissance Art (2023), was nearing publication, and the topic dovetailed with the histories of race, enslavement, and healing covered by the convening. Prof. Keene's students provided essential feedback on the volume in terms of accessibility of tone and design and about resources for teaching the book's content. Two direct results of Dr. Keene's participation in the Ghana convening include the public lecture and conversation with local curator-activist Tyree Boyd-Pates, who discussed community curation for Black audiences, sponsored by the Center for Social Justice and Civil Liberties, and the virtual master class Africa in Fashion with Ghanaian historian Ken Kweku Nimo, with whom Dr. Keene continues to collaborate.

Together with Dr. Laura Greathouse in Anthropology, Dr. Keene developed the professional development series called "Voices and Hands of the Community: A Year-Long Training and Celebration of Riverside." The panel discussion, "Muralismo: Latinx Stories of Art and Culture," offered perspectives about Chicanx/e and Indigenous histories of muralism in southern California. By organizing lectures or panels with community leaders on campus and by arranging off-campus outings to historic neighborhoods or sites, this series featured fifteen events in Fall 2023, and there are over ten sessions for Spring 2024.

In Mexico, Dr. Keene looks forward to connecting with his heritage and getting to know colleagues in Mexican institutions and peer educators in the US.

Join us in congratulating Professor Keene on this award!