Discussion+Art Instruction
The workshop (or workshops) should integrate two main activities:  Discussion of critical texts and Art instruction/creation.  We chose to frame the discussion using texts by Women of Color theorists, artists, and scholars. This discussion co-occurred while instructing participants-artists in creating written texts and visual artwork in response to these texts as a way to communicate their lived experience of being racially minoritized students in health/medical sciences.
Planning your Counterspaces+art workshop:

1.       What themes or issues do you want the group to explore via art or performance?  We chose three themes (more on these below) that spoke to the current anxieties and issues that students had previously shared with us.  Some of the emotion labor that we, as faculty of color in a Predominantly White Institution (PWI), engaged in was one of listening to students’ experiences of social marginalization in an institutional context that provided inadequate resources and lacked spaces of support while benefiting from the presence of students of color.
a.     Silencing: We learned that their experiences as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color BIPOC attending students a PWI and living in a place like Minnesota during the increase in social unrest in response to state-perpetrated police violence, and entering the health sciences/STEM worlds were of being silenced or experiencing the silence (and in some cases, apathy) of their non-BIPOC peers as well as members of the university around the daily microaggressions that defined their day to day as students of color. 
b.     Centering: The second theme of centering their voices as our praxis in making this space one where we uplifted them as knowledge creators. Students have often shared that their experience in this PWI has been one of tokenization or seemingly benign neglect by senior leaders and some student services staff. The last theme is connected again to those needs based on the context of place and space. 
c.     Transformation/Synthesis: Transformation, then, meant focusing on what they wanted to communicate to others and how they wished viewers could engage in this change.
2.       How many workshops? Due to time, we offered a series of 1.5-hour workshops, one via Zoom, one via a socially distanced gathering.  We recommend eight participants per group.
3.       Who are your participants-artists? This is a vital part of planning a counterspaces+art project. Many of our students are on a health sciences or STE< track educationally and may not have taken humanities classes.  The workshop provided them with creative prompts to write, which inspired them to create a visual product of their text.  This meant that the artist in this collaborative duo (Yuko Taniguchi) spent a fair amount of time meeting individually with each participant as they engaged in the creative process (with the many pains in between) of finishing their visual artwork and textual response.  We estimate engaging with each artist at least three times after the workshop’s end to provide mentoring as they create their piece.  For future iterations of our model, we will plan on having three-to-six additional workshops so that the participant-artists experience this form of art mentoring support in a collective space.
4.       Staying Faithful to the Counterspace+art Model:  We cannot emphasize this enough.  When planning your Counterspace+Art project, it must stay a socially transformative space for the community that needs it.  We had to emphasize early (as we advertised the project to potential participants) that there are individuals that belong to communities that the counterspace is meant to serve. At the same time, there are also individuals and groups (usually non-marginalized and privileged) where a counterspace is not needed.  The way white allies could participate in our project is outside the space and via a decentered role (as supporters, cheerleaders, facilitators of resources not open to us.)  Alternatively, a Counterspaces+art model and process could be adapted by white allies to empower more privileged others to use art to communicate solidarity.
5.       Logistics: We suggest advertising at least three weeks in advance, with reminders being sent weekly.  We planned to offer a boxed lunch and all supplies and prompts.  Readings were sent in advance to the workshop. Facilitators should also be ready to assist each participant-artist in developing an artist statement.
More on Themes

Taniguchi and Mejia planned to offer one workshop that would explore three critical themes that would help participants focus their intellectual energies and create a product that could eventually be exhibited to the public. 
1.     The first theme was that of Silence, which asked students to reflect on how Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and other marginalized individuals are often silenced and how potential white allies, when finding themselves observing socially unjust acts, remain in silence due to their inability (or unwillingness) to act upon these acts and in doing so, change norms, practices, and spaces that are harmful to BIPOC. 
2.     The second theme was Centering, which as participants explore how BIPOC and other socially marginalized voices tend to be muted, erased, or tokenized in various social spaces and cultural contexts.
3.     The third theme was Transformation, which focused on finding ways to use the artwork (and the connections created in the workshop) to move forward and support one another.
Creating Connected Knowers
Since the participants in the first workshop navigated educational and professional contexts that often go against their cultural practices of relationality, the students were introduced to Patricia Hill Collins’ work on Black Feminist Epistemology, focusing on her concept of an ethics of care. According to Hill Collins, ethics of care practices honoring knowledge(s) emerging from lived experience.  The expertise of a “connected knower” is more trusted than that of a “separate knower.” Below, Hill Collins expands upon this concept
Separate knowers try to subtract the personality of an individual from his or her ideas because they see positionality as biasing those ideas… Connected knowers see personality as adding to an individual’s ideas and feel that the personality of each group member enriches a group’s understanding. (2002, p. 283)
The art created in this workshop (itself a physical and intellectual counterspace) was a form of knowledge creation that communicated to others the experience of both being BIPOC in STEM and Health Sciences worlds and centered this knowledge in a time and on a place where connected knowers are not seen as legitimate. We also highlighted the practice of connected knowers since STEM practices tend to focus on Western knowledge creation and validation paradigms that focus on the individual and not the community as a producer of knowledge.