Tamejavi Cultural Organizing Fellowship Program

After ten years organizing the Tamejavi Festival, we shifted our focus beyond the frame of a bi-annual festival and towards supporting immigrant cultural holders, oral tradition masters, leaders, and organizers in their efforts of building strong and culturally vibrant communities.

This ambition was realized through the Tamejavi Cultural Organizing Fellowship Program (TCOFP).  Launched in the fall of 2011, TCOFP is an 18-month fellowship program designed to strengthen the cultural organizing skills of Central Valley’s emerging cultural leaders. Ten grassroots cultural leaders are selected to participate in TCOFP each cycle. Selected fellows learn the basic principles of popular education, participatory action research, and cultural organizing. They are also provided with resources to inspire the collective artistic and cultural creativities within and beyond their own communities

Each cohort of fellows spans a wide range of approaches to leadership, cultural organizing and artistic production nevertheless they are all committed to helping their community find a sense of belonging and build broader civic and political participation in Valley life. They all believe that the arts, creative expression, and traditional practices compose the lifeblood of indigenous and immigrant cultures and has an important role to play in catalyzing broader political participation and power.

Each inaugural fellow initially forms a local learning group to conduct a community assessment and cultural inventory to gain a better understanding of pressing concerns, collective cultural assets, and the impact of migration and displacement on individuals, families, and cultures in their community. Based on the findings of this collaborative community assessment, fellows and learning groups design a public cultural and/or art projects to mobilize local capacities and address common concerns. At the culmination of the program fellows present their project during the Tamejavi Cultural and Art Series