Coming to the UCR SEASGRAD conference on Southeast Asian Studies

Kaysone Syonesa and I are are honored to be presenting at the inaugural UCR SEASGRAD conference on Southeast Asian Studies. Through the lens of the Laomagination project we will share our work addressing the themes of SOUTHEAST ASIA AND THE DIASPORA: ​GENDER, LABOR, AND PERFORMANCE.  We’ll see you in Riverside next month!

Our specific title is Laomagination in the Land of 10,000 Stories: Where does the refugee imagination fit into their diaspora? In this presentation and performance, award-winning Lao American writers will discuss the relationship of speculative literature, the imagination and creativity in refugee communities as part of a strategy to address issues of social justice and capacity building. They will look at internal and external community barriers, resources and opportunities. They will take a particular look at 20 years of the Laomagination movement to engage Lao refugees in the arts around the world, including exhibitions, conferences, performances, and experimental community conversations.

Bryan Thao Worra is the Lao Minnesotan Poet Laureate and the author of 10+ books. He holds over 20 national and international awards for his writing and community leadership. He is the president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association and 2019 Joyce Fellow. He holds an NEA Fellowship in Literature, and represented the nation of Laos during the 2012 London Summer Games as a Cultural Olympian.

Kaysone Syonesa is a Lao American theatre artist and playwright with a BA in Theatre Arts from the University of Minnesota. She has a theatre background as a performing artist/actor, director, set/costume designer and playwright. She has performed with various theatre companies including Pangea World Theater, Teatro del Pueblo and Green T Productions in over 13 plays, films and televisions shows. She has also directed and devised original theatre work with artists and youth of color as a platform to uplift diverse and underrepresented voices in the Twin Cities. Kaysone has strengths in bringing communities together to create space and devise work to uncover and imaginatively tell stories that reflect the human experiences. In the past she was inspired to raise the artistic voices of women of color and created Moonlight Collective with three theatre artists who were Latina American and African American. Together they wrote, designed, directed and produced a play called Many Routes, about women’s stories integrating spoken word, dance and storytelling. She has also worked with and trained Laotian and Hmong youth to become theatre storytellers through playwriting and performance art.

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