Disrupt/ed (a mem-noir) by Pamela Woolford A MEMOIR & MULTI-SENSORY EXHIBITION

With illustrations by nationally-syndicated editorial cartoonist Walt Carr.


mem-noir: [mem-nwär] NOUN, A memoir, written in short paragraphs or verse, concerned with being a person of the Black race within the context of a specified subject, time period, or circumstance. Visual art or photographs, especially biographical in nature, are often incorporated.

A Pamela Woolford Project

Supported in part by two grants from the Maryland State Arts Council, a Changemaker Challenge Award from Horizon Foundation and United Way of Central Maryland, a NES Artist Residency in Iceland, an upcoming Storyknife Writers Residency, Busboys and Poets, and St. Mary's College of Maryland, Disrupt/ed (a mem-noir) is a two-pronged project, a Pamela Woolford memoir in verse with drawings by editorial cartoonist Walt Carr and a multi-sensory exhibition with performative videos of Woolford, who is an interdisciplinary artist.

In the memoir Pamela Woolford explores her early childhood in the 1970s in the planned integrated town of Columbia, Maryland, amidst this nation's legacy of enslavement of Black people, like her. The book also includes stories of Black Freedom Visionaries from her hometown. In the exhibition Woolford immerses viewers in aspects of her childhood, her present, and her future through video installations and an augmented-reality installation.

With the creation of Disrupt/ed (a mem-noir), Woolford originates the term "mem-noir."

"Powerful stories" --Baltimore Sun Media

BOOK, launch date in 2021 TBA

Busboys and Poets (coming to Columbia, MD), “a cultural hub for artists, activists, writers, thinkers and dreamers”

EXHIBITION, premiere date in 2021 TBA

The Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery at The Smith Center, Washington, DC, exhibiting “fine art that explores the innate connection between healing and creativity”



I AM AWED BY ITS DELICATE BEAUTY AND POWER AND FIERCE HONORING OF OUR TRUTH!...this is an extraordinary book. The young heroine is rendered with such tenderness for who she was then, such deep understanding of the complexities of her internal and external worlds that I immediately fell in love with her. She is just the kind of heroine readers will love, smart and tough and curious and brave and wondering. Although this is a memoir of coming of age against the backdrop of a racist society it has much that will feed and nurture all readers, any reader who has been a child. There are so many lovely lines of lyricism and stark reality, .... . --Marita Golden, NPR Best Book Author and Two-Time NAACP Image Award Nominee

Photo: Pamela Woolford at NES Artist Residency in Iceland, where she conceived and produced one of the videos for Disrupt/ed (a mem-noir). (Photo by Bridget Turner.)

Thank you Walt Carr, Marita Golden, Lela Sewell-Williams and Erin Berry and Columbia Archives, Daniel Grant, Chelsea Lowe, NES Artist Residency, Storyknife Writers Retreat, Andy Shallal and Busboys and Poets, Lindsey Yancich and Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery at the Smith Center for Healing and the Arts, Leah Mazur and St. Mary's College of Maryland Department of Theater, Film, and Media Studies, Bridget Turner, OkCello, Towanda Worozbyt, Veda Frye, Sarah Trembath, Sadie Woolford, Zora's Den, the Binders, Changemaker Challenge, Horizon Foundation, United Way of Central Maryland, and Maryland State Arts Council's Creativity Grant program! To discover more about MSAC and how they impact Maryland, visit msac.org.

The Impetus for

Disrupt/ed (a mem-noir)

In 2017 Pamela Woolford wrote an essay entitled “Here I Am Looking,” in which she discusses aspects of her life, the Trump election, and America’s legacy of enslavement. The essay was soon published in Eunoia Review, just before the first Women’s March in Washington, DC, and was later translated into German for Briefe aus Amerika and selected for anthologies. In 2018 the essay led to a podcast interview in which Woolford spoke about her finding politics traumatic long before the Trump election. That conversation and a flood of childhood memories months later created the seed for Disrupt/ed (a mem-noir).

For more info on Pamela Woolford: