A conversation between Xavier's very own Robin Vander and Ron Bechet hosted by CAT+FD's Bart Everson and Elizabeth Yost Hammer, on the contemplative breakthrough, Imagining Grace.
Robin G. Vander is Associate Professor of English and African American and Diaspora Studies at Xavier University of Louisiana. She earned her doctorate in Comparative Literature from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) where her training developed at the intersections of literary studies, Performance Studies, ethnography, and Diaspora Studies.
She is co-founder of Xavier University's Performance Studies Laboratory, contributing editor to the Xavier Review, and has served as guest editor for a special issue of The Review of Black Political Economy examining recovery and development in post-Katrina New Orleans.
The Imagining Grace project sits at the intersection of Dr. Vander’s interests: the use of literature as the beginnings to how we might learn to navigate immense challenges, vulnerabilities, and uncertainties, imagine our individual and communal possibilities, and embody grace and gratitude through the processes.
Ron Bechet was born in New Orleans and lives in the Gentilly neighborhood. He began his college career with an athletic scholarship at Mississippi State University but returned to study art at the University of New Orleans where he earned a B.A. degree. He went on to earn an MFA degree in Painting from Yale University School of Art. He is also the Victor H. Labat Professor of Art at Xavier University of Louisiana where he has been teaching for more than twenty years. He is known for intimate large-scale drawings and paintings. This work is inspired by his experiences and observations of the consequences of forces of nature and time, on the place and the human experience.
Elizabeth Yost Hammer is the Director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development and a Kellogg Professor in Teaching in the Psychology Department. She received her Ph.D. in experimental social psychology from Tulane University.
Bart Everson is a media artist and creative generalist at Xavier University's Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development. His recent work draws on integrative learning, activism, critical perspectives on technology, and Earth-based spiritual paths.