Texas Tech University

Mosaic Theatre Group: A Safe Space for BIPOC Students

Rachel Phillips

April 6, 2021

Carlos Medina-Maldonado

The newest student group in the School of Theatre and Dance brings BIPOC students together. Mosaic Theatre Group, formed by students in the fall of 2020, offers students of color within the school a place to discuss their experiences and to support one another in navigating their college journeys. 
“It is a safe space for BIPOC students. It is a place for them to come in and not be judged or feel that they have to be somebody else. They don't have to walk on eggshells,” says MFA student Carlos Medina Maldonado, one of Mosaic's founding members.
Medina Maldonado is not the group's leader, nor is anyone else. Mosaic Theatre Group is a collective of students who collaborate to make decisions, which include the group's direction and activities.
Currently the collective meets one to two times per month, and during meetings, students have the chance to chat or vent about their experiences or concerns. Taking advantage of Mosaic Theatre Group's safe space doesn't require a long-term commitment from students.
“If you want to come to one session, see how it goes, and want to continue coming, that's great,” Medina Maldonado says.
In addition to providing a safe space for BIPOC students, Mosaic Theatre Group helps to bridge the divide between graduate and undergraduate students, offering opportunities for graduates and undergraduates to connect with one another not only to share their experiences and provide resources, but also to build a network at Texas Tech and beyond. Students are able to get to know one another, to link one another to other safe spaces throughout the Lubbock area, and to connect one another to BIPOC artists throughout the world.
 “At the graduate level a lot of us have friends and colleagues who we know really well that are focused on BIPOC theatre,” Medina Maldonado says. “We can connect them. And I'm sure the undergraduate students have the same thing in terms of their own previous experience with other BIPOC artists who may not necessarily be at Tech.”
Medina Maldonado says that in the future, the group hopes to be a resource not just for current students of color but for prospective students of color, as well. Faculty would be able to refer potential students to the collective, and the group could provide information and resources.
“Lubbock is a different place if you're not from Texas and you've never come here before and you don't know what living in Lubbock is like as a person of color is like,” Medina Maldonado says. “Here's a group that meets every month of every couple of months. They can chat with you about the resources they've discovered and how to be a person of color here in Lubbock outside of the theatre scene and inside.”
Although they have at times compiled virtual callboards with resources for BIPOC theatre students such as podcasts and articles, the collective has mostly been taking things slowly, focusing in on offering that safe conversation space.
“At the end of the day if we can just have that space where we can all talk, honestly that's what's most important to me,” Medina Maldonado says.
However, according to Medina Maldonado, the students of Mosaic Theatre Group see the possibility of creating artistic work in the future.
“I know many of us want to create BIPOC-created student theatrical pieces that are talking about the things that we want to talk about because not necessarily every season can have eight BIPOC shows that tell different stories,” Medina Maldonado says. “So, this gives us another opportunity for us to create productions that are specifically based on minority stories.”
There are many forms this might take such as a one-act festival or working with the university to offer a performance during its annual Diversity Week. Yet, whatever shape these future opportunities may take, the collective creates a space for BIPOC students to share their experiences and to keep these important conversations going.
If you are a student who would like to get involved with Mosaic Theatre Group, contact Carlos Medina Maldonado at carlos.medina-maldonado@ttu.edu or Kerstin Vaughn at kerstin.vaughn@ttu.edu