May 6, 2014

Public: A Journal of Imagining America

We are pleased to announce the second issue of Public: A Journal of Imagining America:

“A Future-Oriented Democratic Revival”

The journal is now live at Aligned with Imagining America’s 2013 conference in Syracuse, the issue draws on past sources of creative and intellectual grounding, as well as ideas and practices that consciously break from traditional approaches, to imagine and create a future expressive of the deep cultural and political ideals of a diverse people.

Public Cover

We are equally pleased to announce the CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS for Vol. III No. 1:

“Organizing. Culture. Change.”

Accompanying Imagining America’s 2014 conference in Atlanta, this issue will explore how concepts, methodologies, theories, and knowledge from arts, humanities, and design contribute to organizing for culture change. We invite submissions that respond to such questions as:

  •  What practices, strategies, and tactics inspire and support organizing for culture change so as to help close the gap between the world as it is and the world as you’d like it to be?
  • What forces for culture change are already underway in our community-based, cultural, and educational institutions? In what ways and to what extent are they products of intentional organizing?
  • What specific approaches to organizing seem most useful at this time (e.g., action-research, cross-sector initiatives, popular education, etc.)?
  • What roles do you see for narrative in cultural organizing (such as the framework developed by Marshall Ganz featuring the “story of us” and “story of now”)? How can stories be used to ground, focus, and inspire effective organizing?
           - What cultural approaches contribute to effective dialogue across differences?
           - What re-framings of fact sets, alternative archive-building, and meaning-making processes provide ways of understanding and valuing a more critical, inclusive past to help lead to more desired futures?

The conference and journal issue are contextualized by IA’s vision: publicly engaged designers, artists, scholars, and others, in and out of academia, enriching civic life for all. Please integrate the arts, humanities, or design in submissions. We welcome contributors from academic, cultural, or community contexts.

You may submit to the journal independently of the conference or adapt a conference submission. Submissions will be accepted between 7/15/14 and 7/30/14.

We welcome the following formats, linked to the theme of the issue: Principles and Practices (critical pieces in any or multiple media, single or collaboratively authored, narrative or interview format); Case Studies and Resources (innovative research methods, syllabi, assignments, et cetera, at any level); and Proposals for Reviews and Reports (of relevant cultural events and artifacts).

Information is available at To consult about an idea, email   For the journal’s mission statement, click here.  For submission guidelines, click here. For a description of the peer review process, click here.

April 17, 2014

Summer Institutes in Atlanta

Imagining America and Emory University’s Center for Community Partnerships invite all artists, scholars, and citizens with a stake in the democratic future of higher education to participate in two cultural organizing institutes this June.

Click here for more information and to apply.

Explore the theories and practices of broad-based and cultural organizing, and develop creative strategies for transforming higher education toward its Democratic purposes.

Weekend Organizing Institute
Telling the stories of higher education
Emory University Conference Center, Silverbell Pavilion
June 20-22, 2014

Participants will learn the art of one-to-one relational meetings, and experience how storytelling and Public Narrative can be used to articulate strands of our common identity and surface collective action. Using tools of analysis, including the creative, participants will draw from the one-to-one meetings and the many stories shared to create dynamic, embodied “power maps” of higher education and its relationship to communities.

Cultural Organizing Intensive
Performing the Stories of Higher Education
Emory University’s Center for Community Partnerships
June 23-27, 2014

Using the practices and principles of grassroots art making, participants will collaboratively create a performance that draws on participant knowledge and the power of the cultural disciplines to tell higher education’s “story of now.” Participants have the option of presenting this work at the Imagining America national conference in Atlanta on October 9, 2014, where it will be used to invite leaders from across the country to help expand our collective understanding of the forces driving change in higher education and in the culture at large.

A limited number of scholarships are available to students and community partners.

The deadline to apply is May 16.

Click here for more information and to apply.

April 9, 2014

PAGE is accepting applications for 2014-2015 Fellows!

PAGE (Publicly Active Graduate Education) is Imagining America’s network for publicly engaged graduate students in humanities, arts, and design. PAGE enhances the theoretical and practical tools for public engagement, fosters a national, interdisciplinary community of peers and veteran scholars, and creates opportunities for collaborative knowledge production. The PAGE consortium, made up of alumni and allies of the program, promotes opportunities for mentorship and peer support from IA’s network.

Imagining America (IA) invites graduate students with a demonstrated interest in public scholarship and/or artistic practice to apply for a 2014-2015 PAGE Fellowship. Awardees receive $500 to attend a half-day Fellows Summit on October 8th and the 2014 Imagining America national conference, October 9th-11th in Atlanta, Georgia.

Fellows also commit to participating in a yearlong working group to promote collaborative art-making, teaching, writing, and research projects. PAGE alumni and Fellows will work together to organize monthly conference calls around themes and questions relevant to the needs of publicly engaged graduate students. In doing so, PAGE looks to foster a cohort of Fellows interested in pursuing collective and innovative scholarly practices. Fellows are asked to be active participants in the Imagining America network through posting on the IA blog, presenting at regional meetings or campus workshops, or other related professional convenings. Additionally, each Fellow will be tasked with co-facilitating a webinar or workshop during the 2014-2015 academic year. Past examples include: book group discussions, virtual dinner parties, guest lectures, skill-building demonstrations, and music performances.

Learn more about PAGE from its 10th Anniversary Retrospective Video:

Graduate students from IA member campuses at all stages of their MA/MFA/PhD programs may apply to be PAGE Fellows.

The submission deadline is May 16th.

For more information and to apply, click here.


April 3, 2014

Call for 2014-2015 JGS Fellows


Are you a photography or digital media student engaging in community?

Are you looking for an opportunity to collaborate with peers and mentors as part of a national network?

Thanks to a generous grant from Joy of Giving Something, Inc. (JGS), Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life invites publicly engaged students of photography or digital media from our member institutions to apply for a tuition award and to join a national working group of students. The goal of the IA/JGS Fellows program is to elevate photography and digital media as a pathway for students to pursue their careers and make a difference in their communities.

Criteria includes:

  • Financial need
  • Artistic merit
  • Quality of community-engaged practice  (e.g., students with demonstrated leadership facilitating community-based photo or media arts experiences with people unlikely to  otherwise have access to art-making)

To be considered, we ask the student to contribute three work samples and write an essay (please see prompt below), and to have a faculty or staff member email a letter of recommendation with information about the student’s financial need to The submission deadline is May 30thOnly one award will be given per school.

The 2014-15 JGS Fellows will receive tuition scholarships of $2,000 each and will commit to engaging in a yearlong learning exchange that will result in a collaborative media project. Fellows will be invited to participate in the 2014 Imagining America National Conference, October 9-11, in Atlanta, Georgia, and will be eligible for a limited number of travel stipends to attend the conference.

Fellows will be announced in July and the funds will be released shortly thereafter. Checks will be distributed to each Imagining America institution, and the faculty or staff nominator will be responsible for seeing that the winning student receives the scholarship funds.

Essay Prompt and Work Samples

Imagining America is a national consortium of more than 100 colleges and universities joining with publicly engaged scholars, artists, designers, and community members to advance the democratic purposes of higher education. We are the only national network working at the intersection of publicly engaged scholarship and the arts, design, and humanities. For context about the organization’s mission, please watch this video:

For the IA/JGS Fellows program, we seek students who are using their creativity and knowledge to address challenges and act on opportunities in their communities. We invite applicants to draw on their experience as publicly engaged artists and media makers to tell a story — through the essay and work samples — about their own lives and work. We are especially interested in stories that demonstrate the reciprocal value of having students and community members collaborate. Please consider at least one of the questions for the essay response and work samples:

  • What motivates you to use photography or digital media in your community engagement? (For example, was there something in your family upbringing that led you to this commitment?)
  • What was a pivotal moment that occurred for you doing this work?
  • What obstacles have you faced in realizing your community engaged art work?
  • In terms of the future – what’s at stake? what gives you hope?

Please write your story in less than 500 words and upload 3 work samples (e.g., photographs, videos, digital animation, stills from performances or installations). Be sure to curate your work samples to demonstrate your range of skills in art and community engagement. Fellows will have their multimedia essays published on the Imagining America website.

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July 9, 2014

Imagining America partners with the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture (USDAC)

Imagining America is excited to announce that it will be partnering with the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture (USDAC), a new people-powered initiative aimed at cultivating empathy, equity, and social change through creative, cultural action. The USDAC launched as an “act of collective imagination” at IA’s 2013 Conference and has continued to build momentum ever since. IA and the USDAC share a commitment to culturally democratic movement building and to bolstering the field of community cultural development both on and off college campuses. This new partnership offers a significant opportunity for mutual growth and impact.

Imagining America is supporting the USDAC’s pilot round of “Imaginings” taking place in 16 sites around the country this summer. These arts-infused gatherings bring together a diverse cross section of neighbors to imagine their communities in the year 2034 and to reflect on the role of art and culture in realizing these visions, leading to both local action and a national pool of ideas, images, and stories that will begin to inform the USDAC’s larger strategy. Each Imagining is hosted by one of the USDAC’s founding Cultural Agents. Take a look and see if there’s one near you.

Whether or not you can make it to an Imagining, the USDAC invites you to enlist as a Citizen Artist to stay posted and potentially get involved. (Note: You need not be a legal citizen of the U.S. or an artist to be a Citizen Artist with the USDAC!)