Resistance Rooted in Survival

Germaine Ingram

Germaine Ingram (she/her) is a Philadelphia-based jazz tap dancer, choreographer, songwriter, vocal/dance improviser, oral historian, and cultural strategist. She creates evening-length pieces that explore themes related to history, collective memory, and social justice. Germaine extends her activism through art and design projects focused on illuminating community cultural history. She also collaborates with artists from diverse traditions and disciplines, including jazz/experimental music composers, site-specific choreographers, dance and vocal improvisers, African diasporic culture specialists, and visual/media artists.

“There's a connection between the satisfactions of ‘not knowing’ in the artistic process and the act of ‘spidering’ in the archival research process. Both processes require craft and rigor, as well as a willingness to be drawn into places where you can't see the end of the road.” - Germaine Ingram

q & A with Germaine

What connections have you noticed between your work and other Fellows’?
I think that each of us, in one way or another, is showing how people of color have taken oppressive or degrading circumstances and transmuted them into something that affirms their dignity and humanity.
How has archival research informed your activism?
I’ve looked to archival research to support my artmaking for many years. My artmaking is designed to create spaces to reveal and probe unexplored narratives and ironies in our histories and social conditions. Archival research is one of the ways that I bring specificity and a sense of historical continuity to that work.
What was it like to do archival research during a pandemic?
There was a long period during the pandemic when I rarely ventured outdoors. It was wonderful to have so much archival material available online. I thrived on the flexibility to do research at whatever time of the day or night I wished. Once archival institutions reopened and I was going out more, I enjoyed being able to handle the materials and dig through boxes to discover surprising connections to my research. Having to make appointments, often weeks off, to get into archives was sometimes a damper on enthusiasm and continuity of thought.

Interested in more stories about Black artists resisting limitations? Check out the work below:

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