The Hildegard panel will tackle framing gender in the arts as our field attempts to include more fluid ideas and experiences around gender and the body.

March 9, 2021
6:00 pm
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Ideas have always been at the heart of our mission at National Sawdust. This year, we continue to foster intellectual conversations with a series of programs that address urgent issues in culture and society. The Hildegard panel will tackle framing gender in the arts as our field attempts to include more fluid ideas and experiences around gender and the body.  It will be presented on the week of one of our flagship programs - the Hildegard Commission and concert which specifically fosters female, trans and non-binary composers through mentorship, financial support and industry outreach. 

This discussion is made possible through our interdisciplinary collaboration with the Center for Ballet and the Arts at NYU. Our partnership goal is to foster a cohort of composers and choreographers who can collectively develop their skills while also creating new work as we prepare to rebuild the arts sector with a deepened sense of ethics, equity, and fairness as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic. This collaboration is made possible by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation.


benedict nguyễn is a dancer, writer, and curator based on occupied Lenape and Wappinger lands (South Bronx, NY). Their criticism has appeared in Vanity Fair, the Brooklyn Rail,

Shondaland, and the Establishment, among others. Their poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in AAWW’s the Margins, Flypaper, and PANK. They’ve performed in DapperQ Fashion week and in recent works by Sally Silvers, José Rivera, Jr., Monstah Black, and more. As the 2019 Suzanne Fiol Curatorial Fellow at ISSUE Project Room, they created the multidisciplinary performance platform “soft bodies in hard places.” They publish a monthly-ish newsletter “first quarter moon slush” and are sometimes online @xbennyboo. Benedict-nguyen.com

inti figgis-vizueta (b. 1993) writes magically real musics through the lens of personal identities, braiding a childhood of overlapping immigrant communities and Black-founded Freedom schools—in Chocolate City (DC)—with direct Andean & Irish heritage and a deep connection to the land. Her music has been praised by The Washington Post as “haunting” and “raw, scraping yet soaring”, The New York Times as “alternatively smooth & serrated”, and The National Sawdust Log as "all turbulence" and “quietly focused”.

inti maintains a private studio in NYC with regular guest composition workshops and presentations of her practice at music programs around the country. She focuses on queerness, indigenous forms of transmission, and connecting diaspora to musicmaking as well as expanded notational systems and non-linear forms.

inti has been commissioned by JACK Quartet, Crash Ensemble, National Sawdust, Music from Copland House, The Phillips Collection, Jennifer Koh’s Arco Collaborative, and cellists Matt Haimovitz, Amanda Gookin, and Andrew Yee, among many others.


Kiyan Williams is a multidisciplinary artist from Newark, NJ who works fluidly across sculpture, performance, and video.  Rooted in a process-driven practice, they are attracted to quotidian, unconventional materials and methods that evoke the historical, political, and ecological forces that shape individual and collective bodies.  

Williams earned a BA with honors from Stanford University and an MFA in Visual Art from Columbia University. Their work has been exhibited at SculptureCenter, The Jewish Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Socrates Sculpture Park, Recess Art, and The Shed. They have given artist talks and lectures at the Hirshhorn Museum, The Studio Museum in Harlem, Princeton University, Stanford University, Portland State University, The Guggenheim, and Pratt Institute. Williams’ work is in private and public collections including the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. 

Williams’ honors and awards include the Astraea Foundation Global Arts Fund and Stanford Arts Award. They were selected to participate in the 2019 In Practice: Other Objects emerging artist exhibition at SculptureCenter and are among the inaugural cohort of artists commissioned by The Shed. Williams was previously an artist fellow at Leslie-Lohman Museum and is an alum of the EMERGENYC fellowship at the Hemispheric Institute for Performance and Politics at NYU. Williams is the recipient of the 2019/2020 Fountainhead Fellowship at Virginia Commonwealth University, where they were on faculty in the Sculpture and Extended Media Department. 

Zan Emerson is a Brooklyn-based artist, designer, and marketer in the music industry and beyond. Employers, clients, and collaborators past and present include National Sawdust, Wordless Music, NYC Nightlife United, Death by Audio, and Le Poisson Rouge. 

For their unique take on bold, minimalist design, Zan was named Village Voice’s “Best Concert Poster Designer” of 2015. A deep believer in both workers’ rights and the life-altering power of live music, Zan strives to harness their passion for this line of work, not only to connect art with audiences, but to support and uplift the entire industry both on stage and behind the scenes. zanemerson.com

Mar 9

Hildegard: On Gender Inclusiveness – Hosted by Benedict Nguyen with inti figgis-vizueta, Kiyan Williams, and Zan Emerson