Temple Contemporary Questions

Temple Contemporary’s Advisory Council—consisting of a diverse group of Philadelphians, including high school, Tyler and Temple University students, faculty, community activists, civic leaders and more—meets regularly to discuss pressing questions that inform our programming. At each meeting, our advisors vote on the questions that they feel have the greatest local relevance and international significance. 

Questions we are currently working on are:

"Are we listening?" 
With the national political climate polarized on an unprecedented scale and social media algorithms increasingly insulating us from perspectives we do not "like," there are diminishing opportunities to listen—really listen—to one another. The profound irony is that we have never in human history been better connected to such a diverse range of sources of information and individual perspectives. Are we losing patience with different or opposing opinions? Are we even hearing them anymore? Have we really stopped listening?

"What does it mean to be counted? Who counts?"
Up to $40 billion dollars will be reapportioned in accordance with the upcoming census. Based on the significant undercounting of Philadelphia’s disinvested neighborhoods in the 2010 census, this city is now cited as one of the most at risk counties in the state to be undercounted in the 2020 census.  How can we hold onto the histories and communities of our proud neighborhoods while living in one of the United States’ most rapidly gentrifying cities? Questions of citizenship, belonging and displacement are prevalent throughout Philadelphia and our nation’s borders. Recognizing that culture often leads policy, how can we as cultural producers lead in the effort to recognize, honor, and show who counts?

“What is play?”
Why is play only acceptable up until a certain age? Can we play through hard things? Can play be used as a tool to think through something else? At what age do we turn play into a commodity? What is the age that you need to have gear to play? How can we play more in work? Unleash people in their office. How do you assess play? What does it mean to introduce and create play in difficult environments? Race has a role in play. Playing quietly is different from loud play and it is interpreted differently in regards to race. How can this be re-interpreted? Our public education system is struggling to learn from play – taking out recess, gym, music and art class. Increasingly maturity is being falsely equated with a seriousness that is devoid of play and being playful. You can’t wear cat sweaters.