Ashley David, MFA/PhD, is an interdisciplinary and social practice artist who combines techniques and traditions from ethnography, theatre, community arts, poetry, film and digital media, visual arts, and scholarship to explore questions about community and creative place-making. Poetry, prose, and project-based work have featured widely, and she has performed and installed pieces across the U.S. and overseas.

As Exquisite Knowing, she collaborates—in the role of consultant, mentor-teacher, and facilitator—with nonprofit organizations, universities, schools, and individuals to explore creative and critical thinking and communication and to tackle issues related to social, economic, and environmental justice.

Degrees include a PhD from The University of Georgia, an MFA from the University of Michigan, an MA in cultural anthropology and a Certificate in culture and media from New York University, and an AB in cultural anthropology from Stanford University. She was a pre-doctoral resident-artist fellow at the Vermont Studio Center from 2011-2012.

Community members collaborate with each other and American (post).

Creative work has been featured in Web Conjunctions 05.06.14,  Hyperallergic, Michigan Quarterly Review Blog, The Offending AdamAlimentumCenterGreensboro ReviewHanging Loose, Michigan Quarterly Review, Mid-American ReviewSouth Dakota Review, Southern Review, Toad, Verse, and Women’s Studies Quarterly.

Scholarship on Toni Cade Bambara’s The Salt Eaters appears in The Future Is Now: A New Look at African Diaspora StudiesLet Spirit Speak!: Cultural Journeys through the African Diaspora; and Turning Points and Transformations: Essays on Language, Literature and Cultureand op-ed features on education, the environment, and social justice have appeared in The Flagpole.

Grabbing a bite to eat with some of the MQR Blog crew at AWP 2012.

As the editor-in-chief of the multicultural publication, Mandala Journal from 2009-2011, she took the journal online and established an international presence with readers in 80+ countries using 30+ languages. As the the founding blog editor (2010-2014) and the online producer (2013-2014) for the Michigan Quarterly Review, she developed and implemented dynamic models to publish diverse voices weekly and to expand and extend MQR’s reach and impact domestically and internationally via online channels.

Artist Statement:

I begin my work with the question, “if everything you do every day is considered art, how do you perform your life?” because it redefines daily living as a creative act. It also challenges each of us to participate, and through our incremental and conscious actions, personal empowerment accrues and transforms the collectivities we comprise.

This foundational premise has led me, most recently, to explore questions about memory, loss, and community transformation via pinhole camera photography and storytelling in urban and rural communities and about belonging at the intersection of wilderness, indigeneity, and sustainability via storytelling and everyday performance along the entire 2000 miles of the Rio Grande watershed.

By embedding myself for extended periods in landscapes and communities across the globe, I hope to catalyze possibility with each other and for the planet through site-specific work defined by everyday, mutual, and reciprocal exchange.

From daily performance anchored by burning questions and coupled with the immersive and extended research they facilitate, I create text and objects, which traverse a spectrum of literary, visual, auditory, and performative media, often in collaboration with diverse community stakeholders. Together, we explore mutual and reciprocal community-making and fuel creative place-making.

CV: (available upon request)

Website Photo Credits: All photos, unless otherwise indicated, are by Ashley David.