transformative practice

Leah Gipson | Artist, Educator, Art Therapist




Divisive is a two-hour monthly broadcast on Lumpen Radio that explores the interstections and interactivity between politics and cultural work. Created by Keith Brown, Leah Gipson, and Craig Harshaw, the show is a live performance of political ideas and questions that consider the role of conflict and disagreement in freedom struggles. Instead of finger-pointing at bad art and bad people, we look for ways to have a public dialogue about art and media that can reveal or change our hegemonic views. We look to shift the accessibility of art and intellectual criticism toward greater equality, and conversations of blame toward responsibility. We believe that actual people, including ourselves, are impacted by a wave of cultural impulses that advance violence and harmful ideology.

Tune in to 105.5 fm LUMPEN RADIO CHICAGO at 6 pm on Wednesday July 19.

Craig Harshaw and Leah Gipson are going to get DIVISIVE for the next few months as we discuss Visual Art. Listen in as we discuss our reactions to several works from the 17th and 18th century and ponder the lingering influence of Jacques-Louis David and Gustave Courbet on how we view the relationship between revolutionary politics and cultural work. Join us as we travel the magical places in the Art Institute of Chicago. We will face the the church, the reformation, the revolution with oil paints and pastels. . . . This series will test our faith in contemporary ideas about the "power of art." How did the concept of the artist as activist emerge and can it be it real?

 Magical Modernity Part II: Do You Think American Fascist, Tiki-Torch Carrying Morons Ever Stop to Contemplate the Significance of the French Revolution? 8-18-17
Playing Tracks by: Patti LaBelle, Rebel Diaz, Paul Robeson

Magical Modernity Part I: Counter-Reformation and Revolution 7 -19-2017
Part One of a Five Part look at the relationship between visual art and political culture entitled Magical modernity. Tune in to 105.5 fm LUMPEN RADIO CHICAGO at 6 pm on Wednesday July 19.

SPECIAL EPISODE: Just Us for Justice 6-21-17

SPECIAL EPISODE: We Need to Talk About Meryl 5-17-2017


Are White Men Safe?
A five part series prompted by the Trump victory and comments made at the top of the November show about white men being safe and white safety in general, as a group Divisive decided to spend the next five months analyzing straight cis gender white males via cinema, literature, and popular culture.

Are White Men Safe? Part Five: Winning One for the Gipper 4-19-2017
Playing Tracks by John Lennon, Eminem .

Are White Men Safe? Part Four: Altered States 3-15-17

Are White Men Safe? Part Three: Impossible Things 2-19-17
Playing Tracks by Chris Tomlin, Frankie Lane George Michael

Are White Men Safe? Part Two: My Heart Belongs To Daddy 1-18-2017

Are White Men Safe? Part One: Good Good Fathers with special guest Dr. Reggie William 12-12-2016


This month Craig Harshaw, Leah Gipson, and Keith Brown process our post-election reality by discussing what we might learn from election exit polls, the rise of neo-fascism, what we did wrong on our show, what we learned, how we should think about the appointment of Stephen Bannon, reflections from national activists and what to do now alongside a brief impression of the new film Moonlight.


DIVISIVE is a two-hour monthly broadcast on Lumpen Radio created by Keith Brown, Leah Gipson, and Craig Harshaw that explores controversial issues related to cultural work, activism and social life. The Merriam Webster dictionary defines Divisive as “causing a lot of disagreement between people and causing them to separate into different groups.” The new show centers difficult and divisive conversations as central to all struggles for human liberation and environmental sanity. Democratic conversations are inherently ridden with discord and disagreement. It is time to stop hiding our heads in the sands of banality and false consensus. It is time to become divisive.

DIVISIVE airs LIVE every third Wednesday from 6-8PM! on Lumpen Radio

Trump of a Nation
Listen to this discussion on the artistic, historic and political qualities of Nate Parker's film BIRTH OF A NATION and reflect on the way the 2016 political campaign has brought the widespread problem of sexual violence and harassment to the forefront of American consciousness.
Recorded Live on Wednesday, October 19, 2016 at Co-Prosperity Sphere

Celebrity Edition
On this episode of Divisive hosts Leah Gipson and Craig Harshaw talk about "Celebrity," activism, and religion. 
Recorded Live on Wednesday, September 21, 2016 at Co-Prosperity Sphere

Strange State: The Divisive Election
On this episode of Divisive hosts Keith Brown, Leah Gipson and Craig Harshaw talk all about the ongoing election. 
Recorded Live on Wednesday, August 17, 2016 at Co-Prosperity Sphere

I Don't Love You: Deconstructing the Discourse of "Love"
On this episode of Divisive, Keith Brown talks with Yasmin Nair, Chicago writer and activist, discussing the idea of "Love" as a structuring principle of radical organizing, socially engaged art, politics, and much more. Keith and Yasmin discuss two pieces of writing as a jumping off point for this dialogue.Make Art! Change the World! Starve!: The Fallacy of Art as Social Justice – Part I and Fuck Love
Recorded Live on Wednesday, July 20, 2016 at Co-Prosperity Sphere

Turning Down Invitations of Power
DIVISIVE co-hosts talk with Black Lives Matter co-founder, Aislinn Pulley, about about turning down an invitation to the White House and other important topics. Aislinn Pulley is a lead organizer with Black Lives Matter Chicago, founding the chapter as part of the Freedom Ride to Ferguson in August 2014. She is an organizer with We Charge Genocide; a founding member of Insight Arts; as well as a member of the performance ensemble, End of the Ladder. Aislinn wrote a response to the widespread attention she received for declining President Obama's invitation. Black Struggle is Not a Sound Bite: Why I Refused to Meet with President Obama
Recorded Live on Wednesday, June 15, 2016 at Co-Prosperity Sphere

Critiques of Social Practice: Divisive Pilot Episode
Keith Brown, Leah Gipson and Craig Harshaw with guest Melissa Potter consider the lack of ethics in social practice, how social practice as a term itself is problematic and essentially neo-liberal, how social practice is represented in the academy, how artists can operate from an authentic place of legitimacy in accordance with their direct experiences, how social practice often does not do anything to confront power or address the roots of social issues, and how the most written about social practice work often blames victims of oppression and exploitation by oppressing and exploiting them.

Addendum: On July 27, 2016 Samantha Hill and Ed Woodham released a statement that highlighted the role of "art washing" in community marginalization Social Practice Artists Ran Out of Town.
Recorded Live on Wednesday, May 19, 2016 at Co-Prosperity Sphere

 Copyright 2013 Leah Gipson