About the Basement Workshop Digital Exhibit

The Basement Workshop Digital Exhibit is a series of curated capsule collections of photographs, artwork, and organizational archival documents depicting the history of the east coast’s first pan-Asian political and arts organization. What began as a small group of graduate students and young professionals of Asian descent, blossomed into a collective of activist, artists, and community members whose work and activism continue to impact not just Asian America, but the country as a whole.

This digital exhibit is intended as a starting point for learning about the long, multifaceted history of Asian American activism in the United States. While the capsule collections in this exhibit focus on the history and forms of activism taken up by members of the Basement Workshop, their work is intrinsically linked to the activism of many other Asian American organizations that rose across the US in the late 1960s until present day.  

This website exists as a living exhibit, meaning that the capsule collections and themes shown will change and shift as further research on the Basement Workshop develops by the curator. 

For those interested in learning about the Asian American movement, this exhibit paints a nuanced picture of who Asian American activists were, what ideologies they adhered to, and by what means their activisms took shape.

The Basement Workshop Digital Exhibit was selected as part of the 45th Asian American International Film Festival’s New Media Exhibition.

This exhibit and capsule collections are written, researched, and curated by christina ong, a PhD candidate in Sociology at the University of Pittsburgh studying the development of Asian America. She wrote her master’s thesis on the early days of the Basement Workshop (1969-1972) and their role in the development of Asian American identity. Her dissertation extends this work by examining how the Basement Workshop became a centerpoint for cultivating an imagined diasporic community of Asian America through building Asian American identity, emotional ties to other Asian Americans, and practices of activist placemaking.  
This scholarship is dedicated to and informed by Asian American activist elders from the Basement Workshop, and beyond. For references and a non-exhaustive list of resources for further learning, please visit the Resources and Acknowledgements page. 
If citing this digital exhibit, please utilize the recommended citation: ong, c., curator. (2022). Out of the Basement: The Basement Workshop and Asian American Movement Connective Threads. Retrieved month day, year, from http://thebasementworkshop.reclaim.hosting/