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ISD5: Collectively Envisioning Black Girl Futures


In this Working Group, our work sits at the crux of creative humanities and Black girlhood studies. We use literature and art to collectively reflect on our journeys as Black women working alongside Black girls to speculate Black girl futures.

Open to New People

Active since: 2022

  • Syracuse University
  • Cornell University

Collaborative Goals

Despite fragmented images of Black girls in schools and society, Black girls continue to dream about the futures they want to see for themselves (Turner & Griffin, 2020) and Black women dream alongside them. Thus, as a collective of Black women scholars and community members within and beyond Central New York, our Working Group has three aims:

  • Reflect and remember our Black girlhoods;
  • Speculate on Black girl futures through the arts; and
  • Engage in readers workshops that center Black women writers and inform a way forward for Black girl community work.

We will also continue to invite guests from outside of the Corridor, to include Black women who work with Black girls in academic and community contexts. By centering the works of Black women artists and authors who speculate on Black imaginations and futures, we have had the opportunity to foster a space of remembering to collectively envision a way forward for Black girls in all spaces. To that end, we desire to utilize this phase of our working group to bridge the intrapersonal reflections of our group and interpersonal community building to foster intergenerational conversation with middle and high school aged Black girls from Central New York (including Ithaca, Syracuse, and Binghamton).

Group Organizers

Courtney Mauldin

Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership, Syracuse University

Misha Inniss-Thompson

Assistant Research Professor, Department of Psychology, Cornell University

Group Outcomes

As evidenced in our various events and end-of-year survey responses, our Working Group members described our programming as an intimate learning experience that fostered community, belonging, and necessary dialogue as it relates to Black girlhood and womanhood. For 90% of our group members, there was a significant influence on research methods, development of new research, and professional development in their respective work areas. For instance, one participant noted that they were able to develop synergistic conversations for community organizations that struggled with implementing DEI and consideration of Black women while other members noted the ways they shifted their practices in research and community work with Black girls. Our ultimate goal of envisioning Black girl futures cultivated a space for Black women to also reflect and remember their own girlhoods which allowed for healing work. This impact was emphasized by a group member who shared that they found the working group programming to be restorative and integrated into their professional and personal life.

In addition, we cultivated collaborations with the Community Folk Arts Center (at Syracuse University) and the Africana Studies and Research Center (at Cornell University), university partners with a community focus on arts and humanities. Through our collaboration with the Africana Studies and Research Center, we have also connected with the Johnson Museum of Arts at Cornell University. We are excited to host a community-centered event in collaboration with the Johnson Museum in August 2023.

Further, we were intentional about supporting 210 Teas, a Black-owned business in the city of Syracuse. In our future funding cycle, we hope to continue supporting Black artists, Black-owned businesses, and other local and small-owned businesses in Ithaca and Syracuse.