History

Hemi came into existence 20 years ago with an innovative vision: to bring together scholars, artists, and activists from throughout the Americas to think and create collaboratively across borders, languages, and disciplines. Founded by NYU Professor Diana Taylor with colleagues from Brazil, Mexico, and Peru, Hemi forged diverse spaces for dialogue, creativity, and exchange—from face-to-face gatherings, workshops, and forums, to online team-taught courses, digital archives, and publications.

Hemi sought to intervene in the often-siloed worlds of artistic practice, scholarly thinking, and political engagement. Practice and inquiry, knowing and acting—we insisted—are always critical and always creative. We sought to harness the combined power of ideas and practices to address some of the most pressing issues of our times, from human rights and migration to the violence of racial, economic, and gender inequalities. Hemi developed an anti-colonial model for engagement between ‘north’ and ‘south’ by promoting multi-sited, multilingual collaborations where all participants are recognized as producers of knowledge.

Sponsors

Hemi has received support from the Ford, Henry Luce, Andrew W. Mellon, Nathan Cummings, Rockefeller, Rockefeller Brothers, and Open Society Foundations, as well as the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, among others. At NYU, it became a Provostial Institute in 2007, establishing an endowment to sustain its creative inquiry and critical practice into the future.

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