Cynthia Tobar

Cynthia Tobar portrait

Cynthia Tobar

Through my teaching, research and art practice, I want to contribute towards a more dynamic view of history making - one that validates and empowers narratives from marginalized communities that have had little say on how they have been represented. This provides a space for creative dialogue to address politically-charged issues that matter to the community and facilitates their participation as informed global citizens and agents of social change. In an effort to surface new definitions of community history, creativity is essential.

I embrace a participatory, community-based approach that acknowledges the reality of disparities that are the result of current power dynamics in knowledge production and culture. Culture is fundamental to knowledge. As such, knowledge that recognizes, reacts to, and commends cultural differences can be the starting point to ensuring that marginalized narratives are also embedded in our collective history. This expands our understanding of “imposed invisibilities” on definitions of nationhood, citizenry, community and identity. This approach informs my memory work, where I explore ways we can effectively dismantle social injustice and collectively reimagine alternate futures.

My intention is to center socially engaged art as a way to increase community participation and interaction with social justice issues. By doing so, I hope to promote social change on an interpersonal and community level in academic and public discussions regarding social justice and how those excluded can best advocate for themselves. I seek to increase awareness and empathy through stories that amplify critical and difference-centered perspectives, challenge dominant views of power, and better serve our communities.