Heather Hart and Jina Valentine, Co-founders of The Black Lunch Table

The Black Lunch Table (BLT) is an oral-history archiving project, first staged in 2005 and is an ongoing collaboration with New York-based artist, Heather Hart. The BLT’s primary aim is the production of discursive sites, wherein cultural producers engage in dialogue on a variety of critical issues. BLT mobilizes a democratic rewriting of contemporary cultural history by animating discourse around and among the people living it.

Organized around literal and metaphorical lunch tables, Black Lunch Table takes the lunchroom phenomenon as its starting point. Our roundtable sessions provide both physical space and allotted time for interdisciplinary and intergenerational discussions, bringing together a diversity of community members and fostering candid conversations. The Wikipedia edit-a-thons we stage mobilize a collective authoring of a specific set of articles pertaining to the lives and works of black artists.

Each roundtable’s dialogue will be documented on our online archive. The archive structure will enable web visitors to search this dynamic database using a variety of metadata tags. The BLT archive is significant in that it will provide a unique collection of primary source material relevant to the work of academics, cultural producers, researchers, and emerging artists, internationally–presenting contemporary cultural history as it is recounted.