6/20/16 - 6/4/17

Ghana ThinkTank:
Christopher Robbins
Carmen Montoya
John Ewing

Sonnet Coggins, project curator

Terence Washington MA `17, assistant project curator, action team co-leader

Alex Mendez `17, action team co-leader

The Rotunda becomes the hub of WCMA’s yearlong collaboration with the international collective Ghana ThinkTank. Ionic columns make way for a Moroccan riad in an installation that explores what happens when power dynamics are flipped, and perspectives of people across the world are brought to bear on problems in our own backyard.

Ghana ThinkTank “develops the first world” by flipping conventional power dynamics. The artists collect problems in the US and send them to citizen think tanks in “developing” countries to generate solutions. They then put these solutions into action back in the US. What follows is a range of interventions and exchanges that reveal blind spots, challenge cultural assumptions, and turn the idea of expertise on its head.

WCMA and Ghana ThinkTank have teamed up to apply this process here in the Berkshires.

This project received generous support from the Compton Foundation.

Collecting Problems: September 2016

Last fall, the Ghana ThinkTank student Action Team refurbished and operated a teardrop trailer that traveled around the Williams College campus and beyond to collect answers to the question: How does climate change affect YOU? They gathered over 200 responses, ranging from the witty to the dismissive to the enthralled. Here’s a sampling of what we heard.

The Action Team and artists reviewed these 200 problems, and narrowed them down to a handful to send to think tanks in Morocco and Indonesia:

Ghana ThinkTank problems

Ghana ThinkTank problems 01

Generating Solutions: November 2016

This selection were then sent to citizen think tanks in Morocco and Indonesia. They met up in their homes and offices to discuss our climate changes problems, come up with solutions, and send those solutions back to Williamstown.

Their discussions yielded these solutions:

Ghana ThinkTank solutions 02

Ghana ThinkTank solutions 01

Building the Project Hub: January 2017

A group of students worked directly with members of the Ghana ThinkTank collective to design and implement an installation in WCMA’s rotunda that functions as both an active workspace and display to engage the public with Ghana ThinkTank’s project at Williams.

ARTH 15 Public Art and Climate Change: Ghana ThinkTank and the Making of a Museum Installation

Think Tanks visit Williamstown: March 2017

Six think tank members travelled from Jogjakarta, Indonesia, and Marrakech, Morocco, to campus to advise on the project. How should their solutions be turned into actions?

Trip to the American Riad project in Detroit: March 2017

Five students hit the road with Indonesian and Moroccan think tanks to join up with the artists in Detroit, home of Ghana ThinkTank’s American Riad project. The group helped lay the groundwork for a project that will bring the installation at WCMA to Detroit to create a shared courtyard on the site of a community land trust project.

Photo courtesy Ghana ThinkTank.

Making it happen: The Action Team

The Ghana ThinkTank Action Team is a group of Williams College students who lead the project through its many phases: from problem collection to solution implementation. Last fall, the team operated a mobile unit, collecting problems and engaging community members. This spring, they’re working closely with the Ghana ThinkTank artists to turn the Moroccan and Indonesian think tanks’ solutions into actions.


Erica Gibble ’20
Sarah Hollinger ’19
Eleanor Lustig ’18
Alex Mendez ’17, action team co-leader
Hannah Rabb ’17
Crispin Jay Salapare ’20
Terence Washington MA ’17, project co-curator and action team co-leader

Fall Action Team Members
Claudia Reyes ’18
Fangyuan Zhao ’18


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The Project in Images