Saturday Concurrent Sessions

Morning Session, 8:45–10:30am

Morning Session, 11:00am–12:45pm

Lunch Session, 12:45–2:15 pm

Afternoon Session, 2:30–4:15 pm

Evening Activities


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Morning Session, 8:45–10:30am

Voices and Visions: Re-Imagining America Media Exhibition
721 Broadway, Lower Level, Rooms 010 & 014 

Organized by Bill Aguado, former executive director, Bronx Council on the Arts.
Curated by independent NYC artists Kanene Holder, Elizabeth Hamby, and Hatuey Ramos-Fermin.

The Voices and Visions Media Exhibition presents the work of artists and artist collectives whose practices articulate the mission of Imagining America by thriving in and contributing to community-based action and revitalization. The program is divided between two screening rooms, focusing on the strategy and practice of community-based art work. “Visions,” (Room 010) presents documentation of tactics used to engage with a variety of publics to initiate dialogue and catalyze meaningful change. Featuring the work of Ghana Think Tank, Rise Wilson, The Tax Dodgers, Kanene Holder, and Housing is a Human Right, this program looks at the strategies that a diverse group of artists use to collaborate with different communities, instigating broad conversations about history, culture, and politics. “Voices,” (Room 014) presents the work of MetaLocal Collaborative, Rockafella, La Bruja, Michael Paul Britto, and Zachary Fabri, showcasing the product of community-based artistic practices. The works presented in this program emerge from long-standing relationships between artists and their communities, and demonstrate the power of large-scale collaboration in production, performance, and design.

In addition, monitors in the atrium of the screening rooms will feature the work of youth from the Global Action Project, and the artist Shani Peters. All of the artists and artist collectives whose work is presented in the Voices and Visions Media Exhibition occupy a complex place between the art world, activism, and social practice. Their work presents actionable strategies to achieve Imagining America’s ambitious vision of an enriched civic life, facilitated by publicly engaged artists, designers, scholars, and other community members working with institutions of higher education.

*Please Note: “Voices and Visions” is an ongoing media exhibition that will run all day Saturday and Sunday. Drop in anytime!


Imagining America Journal Launch
721 Broadway, Lower Level, Room 017

Join the editors and members of the editorial board to mark the official launch of Imagining America’s e-journal, to be published by Syracuse University Press. The journal will focus on ways that the arts and culture – as texts, video, photography, and interactive media – partner with other forms of knowledge to animate civic life. We encourage contributions about projects, pedagogies, resources, and ideas incorporating humanities, arts, and/or design. The journal will strive to connect what we imagine with what we can do through cultural practice, scholarship, and action.

Journal designers Brian Lonsway and Kathleen Brandt will show the publication mock-up. Senior editor Jan Cohen-Cruz will describe the mission, editorial policy, and expansive approach to peer review. Managing editor Suzanne Guiod will answer questions regarding submissions in multiple formats. We welcome your thoughts as we shape a publication foregrounding ways that artists, scholars, and designers participate in a broad array of interdisciplinary efforts in public life!


  • Jan Cohen-Cruz, Senior Editor, IA Journal; Former Director, Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life; University Professor, Syracuse University
  • Kathleen Brandt, Design Editor, IA Journal; Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator, Art, Design, and Transmedia, College of Visual and Performing Arts, Syracuse University
  • Brian Lonsway, Design Editor, IA Journal; Associate Professor, School of Architecture, Syracuse University
  • Suzanne Guiod, Managing Editor, IA Journal; Editor-in-Chief, Syracuse University Press


Developing and Assessing Community-Campus Partnerships in Liberal Arts Colleges
Silver Hall, Room 206

In 2007, Franklin and Marshall College, Niagara University and Rhodes College received a grant from the Teagle Foundation to develop a consortial approach to the assessment of community-based learning at liberal arts colleges. This panel brings together faculty and staff at five colleges participating in the grant to discuss their recent efforts to define and assess what community/college partnerships look like at small, liberal arts colleges. Questions we plan to address include: How do the shared qualities of liberal arts colleges (teaching focused, undergraduate student body, limited resources) shape community collaborations? How can we assess community/college partnerships in such institutions?  How can we integrate engaged scholarship efforts across departments, programs, and services in order to make the most of our resources?


  • Suzanne Bonefas, Director of Special Projects, Rhodes College
  • David Taylor, Associate Professor and Director, Institute for Civic Engagement, Niagara College
  • Eleanor Weisman, Assistant Professor of Dance and Movement Studies, Allegheny College
  • Katie Flowers , Director, Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
  • Margueritte S. Murphy, Associate Provost, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
  • Carole Calo, Professor of Art History and Chair, Department of Visual and Performing Arts, Stonehill College
  • Elizabeth Belanger, Assistant Professor of History, Stonehill College


Mapping the Field: A Workshop Conducted by the Community Knowledge Collaboratory
721 Broadway, Lower Level, Room 006

What is your picture of the field in which the work of Imagining America takes place? What is the landscape of artists and scholars in public life? What are the signs by which we navigate this world? What conceptual routes do we take to get from place to place? This workshop will consist of a collective response to a series of visual maps and prompts through which participants will revise and expand our visual imagination of the commons we inhabit. We will identify the key arcs of our shared story, the diversity of our expressions, the lineaments of our history, the political economy of our organizational firmament, and the axes of our leadership, initiative and direction. The maps will draw from the mission, vision, and values of Imagining America, but also provide a graphic portrait of the key dimensions of our past, present and future. The process will be critical and iterative. Our aim is to propose certain key terms and questions and alter them in response to what participants suggest regarding priorities and foundations. This workshop is the culmination of the activities of the Community Knowledge Collaboratory, which aims to value and recognize the myriad expressions of knowledge and sense making that spring from community-based arts, design and humanities practice. By mapping the field, the workshop will contribute to a richer and more synthetic articulation of where we are in the world and who is this, we that engages in this work.


  • Pam Korza, Imagining America Board Member; Co-Director, Animating Democracy
  • Randy Martin, Imagining America Board Member; Professor and Chair, Art and Public Policy, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University
  • Jack Tchen, Imagining America Board Member; Associate Professor, Gallatin School of Individualized Study, New York University
  • Kim Yasuda, Imagining America Board Member; Professor of Spatial Studies, Department of Art, University of California, Santa Barbara


Town Hall Nation: A National Act of Civic Imagination
721 Broadway, Lower Level, Room 018

Town Hall Nation is the national engagement initiative of WAITING FOR YOU ON THE CORNER OF (…), a devised performance, conceived and created by Sojourn Theatre (Portland, OR) and The TEAM (New York City) to respond to the paucity of opportunities for ideologically diverse people to make democracy function together. WAITING FOR YOU… the production (premiering at Kansas City Rep Winter 2013) will combine fictional narratives drawn from research with participatory strategies developed from established and original models of civic dialogue methodology.

Through Town Hall Nation, Sojourn and The TEAM are inviting arts organizations, universities, high schools, and community groups to bring artists and civic partners together to create events that demonstrate, present, or embody an ideal town hall meeting.

Between January 3, 2012, and December 15, 2012, Town Hall Nation Events have/will take place across the country through partnerships with organizations, community groups and universities. As of mid-summer 2012, over a dozen universities around the nation have projects underway. The project also functions as a collaboratory with core partner Imagining America, through which ongoing planning meetings and shared research has been taking place since Fall 2011.

This session offers an opportunity for conference attendees to:

  • Learn about Town Hall Nation;
  • Join a conversation about its practices with scholars/artists from sites around the country who have initiated their own projects; and
  • Potentially, create a Town Hall Nation event at their home sites.


  • Michael Rohd, Sojourn Theatre and Northwestern University
  • Kate Collins, Ohio State University
  • Jessica Decky Alexander, Eastern Michigan University
  • Bob Leonard, Virginia Tech


Theater, Prisoner Reentry, and Higher Education: Performances for Movement-Building (Part 2)
Silver Hall, Room 207 

A roundtable discussion that uses as its starting point the Friday night reentry performances, this session includes performers as well as educational, policy, and advocacy leaders who will discuss: (1) theater’s power as a way to develop knowledge, transform lives, and mobilize social change; (2) higher education’s centrality in transforming the lives of people with criminal justice histories; and (3) changes needed to realize higher education’s role in advancing these aims, in collaboration with communities. Attendees need not have attended Friday night’s performance to participate in this session.


  • Vivian Nixon, Director, College and Community Fellowship
  • Glenn Martin, Vice President of Development and Public Affairs; Director of the David Rothenberg Center for Public Policy, Fortune Society
  • Ronald Day, Program Coordinator, The Osborne Association
  • Kendall Thomas, Nash Professor of Law and Director, Center for the Study of Law and Culture, Columbia Law School
  • Kevin Bott, Associate Director, Imagining America
  • Susan Sturm, Director, The Center for Institutional and Social Change at Columbia Law School (moderator)


Balancing Research and Community Engagement for Junior Faculty
 721 Broadway, Lower Level, Room 007

This roundtable examines the challenges and opportunities presented to junior faculty committed to both their research and their community engagement. The faculty on the roundtable will discuss the ways they have tried to balance their research agendas with their work with community partners and the challenges they faced along the way. Often when we talk about balancing research and community engagement, the concern turns to rewarding community engagement in the tenure process. This panel focuses less on rewarding the work faculty do as part of the tenure process and more on the challenges junior faculty face to foster relationships with community partners while pursuing complementary/parallel research agendas. We will interrogate how faculty can work simultaneously in both areas and develop the connections between them. Whiles some of our participants are currently on the tenure track, the panel also represents the voices of postdoctoral fellows, instructors, and lecturers.

The roundtable features faculty from across different disciplines whose research projects and relationships with community partners are quite distinct from one another.  Faculty from the disciplines of American Studies, Anthropology, Computer Science, Economics, English, Environmental Studies, History, and Spanish will speak.  They have taught service-learning classes and directed community-based honors theses.  They have worked with community organizations in their own research, and they have volunteered their time with organizations on projects that seemed peripheral to the research agendas.

The roundtable as a whole is animated by a concern with balancing the participants’ desires to have meaningful and useful collaborations with community partners without sacrificing or significantly shifting their desired research agendas.


  • Elise Dubord, Assistant Professor of Spanish, Drew University
  • Karin Friederic, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Wake Forest University
  • Eric Larson, Lecturer in History and Literature, Harvard University
  • Peter Likarish, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, Drew University
  • David Osborn, SINQ/Capstone Instructor, University Studies/Academic Affairs, Portland State University
  • Maliha Safri ,Assistant Professor of Economics, Drew University
  • Sarah Wald, Assistant Professor of English and Environmental Studies and Sustainability, Drew University


Engaged Music
 721 Broadway, 12th Floor, Dean’s Conference Room

This Roundtable session by members of the College Music Society (CMS), which has promoted and nurtured engagement activities within its programs and membership for several years, will generate discussion around three topics and issues of music and community engagement: (1) the broad goals and objectives of music and community engagement, (2) theory vs. practice, and (3) partnership issues.  To set a context for the session, the facilitator will introduce each participant, their specific music engagement project, and the unique experience they bring to the table.  Then, each participant will speak in turn for five minutes about their project and how it relates to one of the three identified topics, issues, or challenges. After the short presentations, we will open the session for discussion and feedback from the audience. Our objective in this session is to establish a working music network in Imagining America, and to that end we will break into small focus groups if the number of attendees is too large for everyone to have a voice.


  • Suzanne Burton, CMS-IA Liaison and Chair, CMS Committee on Community Engagement, University of Delaware
  • Katie Carlisle, CMS Committee on Community Engagement member, Georgia State University
  • Keitha Lucas Hamann, CMS Committee on Community Engagement member, University of Minnesota
  • Tayloe Harding, CMS past president, University of South Carolina
  • Cynthia Taggart, CMS past president, Michigan State University
  • Kristin Wendland, CMS Committee on Community Engagement member, CMS-IA Liaison, and Roundtable facilitator, Emory University
  • David B. Williams, CMS President, Illinois State University Emeritus


Widening the Impact of Youth Activism through Photography
 721 Broadway, Lower Level, Room 008

This roundtable will focus on ways in which image-making can be more effectively organized as a tool to empower youth activism through Critical Consumption (media literacy, critical thinking) Purposeful Production (self expression through a curriculum meaningful to the individual) and Relevant Distribution (social media/exhibition of final work). It will also focus on the importance of a rigorous curriculum and structure that is co-created with participating students, where power and authority are shared, eliminating the hierarchical structure of “teacher/student” relationship.

Some of the questions we will consider: How might we create a forum or platform for young people to engage with each other on specific issues and topics with their art? How can we provide guidance and support for youth to become more civically engaged? How can we organize existing photography and media art programs to unify youth voices nationally? How can higher education, not-for-profits, and community organizations work in concert to support youth activism? What are the possibilities for teaching and learning using the technologies (smart phones) and spaces (Facebook) relevant to youth today? How do/can students consume and simultaneously transform their culture?

We encourage participation and insight from a wide spectrum of conference goers to identify goals, build alliances, and awaken our collective impact potential.


  • Stephen Mahan, Director of Photography and Literacy Program, Syracuse University
  • Lacy Austin, Director of Community Programs, International Center of Photography
  • Mike Jolley, Doctoral Candidate in Sociology, Graduate Center, CUNY
  • Adam Lutwin, English teacher, George Fowler High School, Syracuse City School District
  • Wayne Maugans, Director of Education and Outreach, Joy of Giving Something, Inc.


Expanding Engagement: University Staff as Agents of Social Change
 721 Broadway, Lower Level, Room 012

The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) is a large urban research university with a vexed history of interacting with Chicago’s multiple communities, especially those displaced to make way for its current incarnation. Its commitment to provide underserved and underrepresented students with an education they might otherwise find inaccessible has sometimes been understood as a sort of compensation for that loss.

UIC’s mission statement begins with the goal of “creating knowledge that transforms our views of the world and, through sharing and application, transforms the world,” suggesting a one-way flow of information from the University to communities through translational research, health care services, and patents. This has recently been reconfigured as “engagement,” primarily engaged scholarship developed in collaboration with and for the benefit of the communities it involves. The responsibility for connecting scholarship with the “real” world is assumed to rest with faculty, who also provide students with opportunities for internships, research projects and other community-based activities.  Yet activist staff are also positioned to forge new pathways within the institution while creating two-way, beneficial, links between academe and communities.

In this panel, we address how activist staff work both in and outside of UIC and negotiate insider/outsider dynamics by designing interdisciplinary programs, engaging public intellectuals and university scholars in shared forums, serving as advocates for specific campus constituencies, developing forums for applied research off campus, and initiating partnerships between faculty or research institutes and community organizations. How is this work different from faculty’s, some of whom fear that engaged projects will threaten their progress toward tenure but who also have research support, long-term contracts, and a position in the academic hierarchy staff lack.  How does the lack of both pressure and resources affect staff members’ ability to take on engaged projects?  How can faculty and staff forge collaborations that further the mission of the university?


  • Lori Baptista, Director, African American Cultural Center, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Megan Carney, Director, Gender and Sexuality Center, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Francesca Gaiba, Associate Director for Research, Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Laura Stempel, Special Projects Coordinator, Office of the Vice Provost for Planning and Programs, University of Illinois at Chicago


Confronting the American Civil War
 721 Broadway, Lower Level, Room 003

Richmond, Virginia, was a center of the American slave trade and the capital of the Confederacy.  That history has been a heavy burden for the last century and a half.  This session will show how The Future of Richmond’s Past  has brought together leaders of historical societies, museums, city commissions, tourism, national parks, and higher education institutions in support of “Civil War & Emancipation Day: the 150th Anniversaries.”   The Future of Richmond’s Past grew out of a widely felt need that City of Richmond residents needed to have a better understanding of the history beneath their feet as we approached and advanced through the years of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and Emancipation.

The University of Richmond, Virginia Union University and Virginia Commonwealth University hosted community information programs during 2009-2010 that showcased the preparation being done by historical organizations throughout the city to commemorate this period in our nation’s history.  Question-and-answer sessions were offered at the conclusion of each program.  These conversations were taken to local neighborhoods through the Community Conversations sponsored by The Future of Richmond’s Past.  “Civil War & Emancipation Day” has become a signature event throughout the City, expanding participation among area organizations every year with more than 25 venues opening their doors free of charge for the day in 2012.   Attendance and diversity among participants has grown with each annual event, from just over 2,200 in 2010 to more than 4,700 in 2012.  Participation has also increased among area organizations with 29 venues opening their doors free of charge for the day.  Free shuttle service throughout the city made it possible for people to hop off at participating sites, all of which were on the shuttle route. The Future of Richmond’s Past has secured funding from corporations throughout the City to support its efforts for the five Sesquicentennial years.


  • Edward L. Ayers, President, University of Richmond


Religious Studies as Engaged Methodology
721 Broadway, Lower Level, Room 002 

The discipline of religious studies has long grappled with how to speak to, for, or with religious communities. Indeed, religious studies scholarship purports to address some of the deepest, most fundamental values of communities. With this task come both challenges and opportunities. Religious studies can catalyze engagement by explicating deeply held values that promote civic and democratic engagement. On the other hand, religious studies scholarship sometimes stands as an “outsider” discourse, critiquing the self-understanding of religious communities.

This workshop will explore what publicly engaged scholarship can learn from conversations about the discipline of religious studies, and what religious studies can learn from conversations about publicly engaged scholarship. We hypothesize that the desire for full, equitable partnerships in campus-community collaboration and the desire for diversity in engagement efforts are two issues for which this type of reflection will be particularly fruitful.

The distinction between the personal and the scholarly is often troubled by the practice of religious studies scholarship. By helping a religious community to understand that its own teachings involve commitments to social justice, or that its own tradition has a history of perpetuating injustices, religious studies scholarship contains a potentially transformative public dimension. However, there has been relatively little reflection on what it would look like to actuate this potential in a manner that affirms the full and equitable partnerships between scholars of religion and religious communities. What sorts of more robust relationships are possible beyond, for example, student visits to religious communities or class visits by religious leaders? From the opposite direction, publicly engaged scholarship often taps the arts as a mobilizing resource for democratic civic engagement, but might religious values also play a similar mobilizing role?


  • Philip Arnold, Associate Professor of Religion, Interim Director of Native American Studies, Syracuse University
  • Vincent Lloyd, Assistant Professor of Religion, Syracuse University
  • Netta Avineri, Civic Engagement Fellow, Center for Jewish Studies, UCLA
  • Mary Pinkerson, Community Affairs Coordinator, Center for Jewish Studies, UCLA
  • Robert Duke, Associate Professor of Biblical Studies, Azusa Pacific University


Full, Equitable Partnership: Southern Oregon University and Oregon Humanities
Silver Hall, Room 405 

This presentation will focus on the collaboration between Southern Oregon University (SOU) and Oregon Humanities as a case study of how universities can form mutually beneficial, equitable, and constructive partnerships with state humanities councils to promote the common good toward a flourishing democracy.

The session will include a brief account of the collaboration thus far between SOU and Oregon Humanities; a presentation of our ongoing collaboration, future plans, projects under development, and an assessment of potential outcomes; and finally, a conversation with participants about the challenges, opportunities, and benefits of partnerships between universities and state humanity councils, especially against the backdrop of diminishing resources.

In the 2009-10 academic year, SOU initiated an annual campus theme program. The goal of the program is to create opportunities to engage faculty, staff, students, and the community in intellectually stimulating and healthy conversations across disciplines on a common topic or issue.  Inspiration for Campus Theme comes from SOU’s deep commitment to dialogue across disciplines and to bridge higher education to the context of its broader community.

That same year, in conjunction with the campus theme program, Drs. Chenjeri and Morris took a component of the theme on the road as part of the Oregon Humanities Conversation Project to engage Oregonians across the state. The Oregon Humanities Conversation Project engages “community members in thoughtful, challenging conversations about ideas critical to our daily lives and our state’s future” (Oregon Humanities website). Since then, Professors Morris and Chenjeri have continued to hold conversations relative to the SOU campus theme throughout the state and nationally.

This connection with the Oregon Humanities has opened the doors for increased collaboration between our two organizations, seeking a more equitable and mutually beneficial partnership between the two institutions.


  • Prakash Chenjeri, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Director, Philosophy and Honors Programs, Southern Oregon University
  • Daniel R. Morris, Professor of French and Director, Arts and Humanities Council, Southern Oregon University


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Morning Session, 11:00am – 12:45pm


Creating and Sustaining a College Immersion Experience: Some Provisional Lessons from Three College-Community Partnerships

Silver Hall, Room 405

The presenters for this roundtable represent three participating partnerships in a college/community connections program funded by the Teagle Foundation and designed to help financially disadvantaged, but talented high school students prepare for and succeed in college. The three New York City-based partnerships include: Manhattan College and Kingsbridge Heights Community Center; Drew University and the Union Settlement Association (East Harlem); SUNY Old Westbury and Harlem RBI. For each partnership, the Teagle funding supports a summer program and academic year activities. The partnerships involve students in academically ambitious programs — with significant components in the arts and humanities — designed to increase their knowledge and skills even as they encourage students to think expansively about the colleges to which they might ultimately apply.    The purpose of the roundtable is to discuss the challenges of developing these partnerships and implementing the programs together, as well as the successes and discoveries that have resulted from the three or six years that the partners have been working together.

The roundtable will address the following questions, and will allow for ample discussion with those attending the session:

  • Who are the key players in your partnerships? Who needs to be on-board and supportive within the institution or organization in order for such partnerships to succeed and to be equitable partnerships?
  • What are the major challenges you face in such partnerships?
  • What changes have you made in the program from one year to the next in response to a challenge or problem or a better understanding of the needs of the partner institution?
  • How do you integrate the work of the partnership into the life of each institution over time?
  • What surprised you – what resulted from the partnership that either or both organizations really didn’t expect but that was enlightening or transformative?


  • Annie W. Bezbatchenko, Program Officer, Teagle Foundation
  • Allison Torres,  Program Coordinator, College Directions Program, Kingsbridge Heights Community Center
  • Daniel Collins, Associate Professor of English, Manhattan College
  • Rob Maitra, Director  of Programs, Harlem RBI
  • Diana P. Sukhram, Chair and Assistant Professor, Exceptional Education and Learning Department, School of Education, SUNY College at Old Westbury
  • Charmaine Massiah, Director of College Readiness, Union Settlement Association
  • Wendy K. Kolmar, Professor and Chair of English, Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, Director of Summer College, Drew University


PAGE: Publicly Active Graduate Education
Silver Hall, Room 206

This panel presentation will highlight the local and regional work of the PAGE Fellows and address graduate students’ need for mentorship, fellowship, and collective action to support graduate education and community engagement on a national scale.  Throughout the 2012-13 academic year, the PAGE Fellows are working to create and participate in a series of workshops and webinars that will bring them more closely into the research, programming, and larger mission of IA. By fostering and nurturing a culture of peer mentorship and collaboration, PAGE is working to create a new model of graduate student training and support. Learn more about the PAGE program and the work of the Fellows at


  • Adam Bush, PAGE Director, Imagining America; Founding Director of Curriculum, College Unbound
  • 2012-13 PAGE Fellows (TBA)


Equitable and Sustainable Partnerships and Collaborative Research in Post-Post-Katrina New Orleans
721 Broadway, Lower Level, Room 018

The Arts, Culture and Community Development collaboratory works to document shared and contrasting experiences of university and community/cultural partnerships by pursuing case studies of such partnerships in cities. During our first, pilot case study in New Orleans, we have begun to compose a forward thinking repertoire of “promising practices” for locally-scaled, culturally-specific, and often institutionally marginalized arts and culture-based community development initiatives. Our research in New Orleans centers on questions about how organizational scale, place, and history shape possibilities for equitable partnerships between universities and community cultural organizations. What challenges do we confront as we attempt to change organizational cultures to support campus-community partnerships for community revitalization? How do the temporal differences between campus and community life influence our practice? How do university/community programs that use cultural engagement to deal with structural racism shape and become shaped by larger institutional practices and top down narratives about community and cultural development within the context of neoliberal urban redevelopment and gentrification?

We will engage these questions through two presentations and a discussion, which will include the audience. First, Ron Bechet (Xavier University) and Carol Bebelle (Ashé College Unbound) will discuss the implications that ACU’s partnership with Roger Williams University have for equity and sustainability in university/community partnerships. ACU students will then present a short performance that reflects on the long-term impact of their program’s full and equitable partnerships between university administrations, curriculum committees, and cultural organizations.

Next, Cheryl Ajirotutu (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) and Ruth Janisch Lake (Macalester College) will present the short documentary film that is the first product of the AC&CD collaboratory’s research in New Orleans. Featuring interviews and conversations between students, community members, and program directors, our film reflects on Xavier, Macalester, and UMW’s complementary work to generate models for equitable community/cultural partnerships that support community revitalization in post-Katrina New Orleans.

A roundtable discussion will follow.


  • Cheryl Ajirotutu, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Interim Associate Vice Chancellor, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • Carol Bebelle, Executive Director, Ashé Cultural Arts Center; Faculty at Ashé College Unbound
  • Ron Bechet, Professor of Art, Xavier University of Louisiana
  • Adam Bush, Director of Curriculum at College Unbound
  • Ruth Janisch Lake, Assistant Director, Civic Engagement Center, Macalester College
  • Catherine Michna, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Tulane University


Acting Together on the World Stage Documentary
721 Broadway, Lower Level, Room 017

Acting Together on the World Stage is a collaboration between Brandeis University and Theatre Without Borders that for seven years has been exploring the intersection of performance and peacebuilding. Acting Together tells the story of artists, educators and activists engaging communities in creative acts of courage and moral imagination. Over the years of the project, we have cultivated a community of inquiry committed to rigorous reflection, honest exchange and reciprocal support for our individual and collective efforts to strengthen work at the nexus of arts, culture, justice and peace.  In 2011, we completed a two-volume anthology, Acting Together: Performance and the Creative Transformation of Conflict (New Village Press), an award-winning documentary film, and a toolkit. In this Imagining America conference session, Dr. Cynthia Cohen (Brandeis University) and Dr. Daniel Banks (CUNY and Theatre Without Borders) will present the Acting Together project, which — with its film, anthology and toolkit — has ignited a national and international peacebuilding performance movement that is linking researchers and practitioners on every continent.  The presenters will reflect on experiences building a lasting global community of inquiry, and, with Lynne Elizabeth of New Village Press, facilitate a conversation about the possibilities and challenges of this particular kind of university-community collaboration.


  • Daniel Banks, Co-Director, Theatre Without Borders and DNAWORKS; Faculty, MA in Applied Theatre, CUNY
  • Cynthia Cohen, Director, Program in Peacebuilding and the Arts, Brandeis University; Director, Acting Together on the World Stage
  • Lynne Elizabeth, Founder and Director, New Village Press; Past President, Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility


Savoring Food Stories: Community-Based Knowledge through Oral Histories
721 Broadway, Lower Level, Room 007

The call to promote more effective democratic dialogue across differences represents a significant challenge in conservative political environments in which opinion is strongly polarized around entrenched positions.  One means of facilitating equitable ties across groups is to begin dialogue around an issue that is commonly shared and provides opportunities for cooperative action.  One such issue is food and food policy.

As part of the Town Hall Nation initiative, we organized a series of preparatory events designed to culminate in a celebration of National Food Day. The final event will consist of a Food Day dinner for Oklahoma producers, the campus community, the local Stillwater community and legislators. Plans for the program include performing stories, serving locally grown foods and dialogue around voting with your mouth.  The preparatory events were tied to campus issues through a local Green Grant Initiative on campus, for which graduate students worked on consciousness-raising regarding food and sustainability resources. To build broader campus-community partnerships and to better savor local community issues and understandings, we collected food stories at farmer’s markets.

This workshop focuses on the collection and analysis of oral histories as a means of accessing community-based knowledge.  We discuss our use of oral histories in order to facilitate dialogue about food and food policy.  We collected oral histories from producers, consumers, and policy makers and then analyzed the discourse to identify emerging themes.  The themes discovered provided points of convergence and divergence that informed our identification of key issues for community-based dialogue.

This workshop will take participants through the detailed process of oral history collection, considering issues of informed consent, interview techniques, equipment, and transcription.  We will also provide an example of the thematic analysis of the histories and discuss how such themes can be fruitfully woven into dialogue-generating events.


  • Carol Lynn Moder, Professor of English and Department Head, Oklahoma State University
  • Rebecca Lynn Damron, Associate Professor of English, Director, OSU Writing Center, Oklahoma State University
  • Melody Denny, Teaching Associate, Department of English, Oklahoma State University


Doing History in and for the Civic Engagement Movement
721 Broadway, Lower Level, Room 008

What role does history play in the civic engagement movement? What do we know about the movement we claim to be a part? For many, the civic engagement movement traces roots to the 1980s and 1990s with the emergence of volunteerism and service-learning in higher education. Others make connections, rightly, to the civil rights movement and the struggle for equality and justice.

In many ways, these movements popularized the idea that higher education and community organizations had an active and contributory role to society. However, such a view of the development of the civic engagement movement is partial when we take a longer look at the lost and hidden influences on contemporary engagement. During the Progressive and New Deal eras numerous scholars, activists, and administrators sought to transform the world around them in positive ways. What they did and how they approached their work can be instrumental to us today as we think about how to foster equitable partnerships and relationships with others.

This panel will focus a discussion on the constructive and instructive possibilities as well as the uses of history, including oral history and narrative.  This session is framed as a conversation with John Recchiuti, Timothy Shaffer, and Scott Peters speaking from specific cases/projects from the early part of the 20th century, all the while welcoming others to contribute.


  • John Recchiuti, Professor of History, Director of the American Studies Program, John E. and Helen Saffell Endowed Chair in Humanities, University of Mount Union
  • Timothy J. Shaffer, PhD candidate in Education, Cornell University; Research Associate, Charles F. Kettering Foundation
  • Scott J. Peters, Co-Director, Imagining America; Professor in the Cultural Foundations of Education Department, and a faculty affiliate with the Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration (PARCC) in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University


Creating Landscapes: A Collaboration that Fosters Aesthetic Aliveness, Good Health, and Political Freedom
721 Broadway, Lower Level, Room 012

Creating Landscapes (CL) began as a summer pilot program for children in 1990 on the Allegheny College campus in Meadville PA and has grown to be a collaborative non-profit network committed to joyful, intergenerational, interdisciplinary, active learning that bridges the arts and sciences.  CL hinges on the belief that education must empower by informing, inspiring, and animating the whole person rather than simply transferring information. For the last twenty-three years our distinctive approach to learning and teaching evolved to include seven very different but interrelated educational venues: four on the campus of Allegheny College and three in the city of Meadville.

The Meadville learning venues have become grass roots organizational structures.  These structures bring students and faculty from the College and the Crawford Central School District (CCSD) together with community partners to participate in shared experiences.  These experiences have the potential to help people first identify then meet their needs.  In other words, participation is about ownership rather than membership.

The CL network now includes Landscapes for Families, a Community Garden, a Pennsylvania approved, independent K-4 School, and an Adult Learning Force that provides programs for life-long-learners who serve as a pivotal volunteer base for after school programs. Allegheny and CCSD students participate as interns in all programs.  These internships serve as practical examples of imaginative and collaborative agency at work. Just as we learned to listen to and be inspired by the curiosity of children in 1990 so today CL learners drive programming as they identify what they need to achieve aesthetic aliveness, good health and political freedom.

This round table will provide a venue for CL collaborators to share perspectives and provide insights on: What we have discovered, what it means, and why it matters.


  • Jay Hanes, Associate Professor of Art Education, Edinboro University; Board Member, Creating Landscapes Learning Center(s) Inc.; Former Instructor, Creating Landscapes Summer Program
  • Janyce Hyatt, Professor Emeritus of Dance Studies, Allegheny College; CEO, Creating Landscapes Learning Center(s), Inc.; Director, Creating Landscapes, Allegheny College
  • Erin Sweeney, Allegheny College alum; former member, Americorps*VISTA; Creating Landscapes for Families and the Ackerman Community Garden; Nutrition Coordinator, Creating Landscapes Summer Program
  • Eleanor Weisman, Associate Professor and Director of the Allegheny College Dance and Movement Studies Program, Intern Coordinator for Creating Landscapes Summer Program, Creating Landscapes Learning Center(s) Inc. Board Member, former Instructor in Creating Landscapes Summer Program
  • Dana Hunter Yeager, Allegheny College alum, Director of the Creating Landscapes Learning Center K-4 School, Creating Landscapes Learning Center(s) Inc. Board Member, Coordinator Creating Landscapes Summer Novices Program


Sharing Stories: Fostering Connections with Community-Based Projects
721 Broadway, Lower Level, Room 003

In this presentation, we will have a lively conversation about organizing community-based design research and activities to address issues of identity for non-profit institutions.  The session begins with an overview of a few design projects and the forays made by the organizations, once faculty member, and two dozen students to understand them and to brand them within their entry sequences and spaces.  Projects like these have been accomplished throughout the United States by design and arts faculty peers and their students…and I acknowledge that commonality among the attendees of the Imagining America meeting.  What is missing is a way to gather and share stories, issues, ideas, and challenges of this type of advocacy through design…on both the local and national levels…throughout the year, in between formal gatherings.   With our conversation, I aim to utilize the collective wisdom of those gathered to overcome this gap in information and idea sharing…and participants can take the conversations from the session back to their own respective work.

For the largest portion of the session, I will provide a series of prompts, organizing participants for group discussion around unresolved topics that each faculty member faces: identifying financial support; getting the word out to others about the importance of design issues for non-profits; managing university relations (in light of restrictions regarding promotion and tenure and additional financial strictures); finding additional community partners and projects; and mobilizing students.

In the end, discussants will summarize and I will post the results of the conversations in a more polished form on a blog for further dissemination and comment. By starting the conversation, I hope to create a digital place and a web of relations to make possible rich and engaging community-based design research and activism – a challenge that faces all session participants.


  • Patrick Lee Lucas, Associate Professor, Interior Architecture, University of North Carolina at Greensboro


Seminar – The Erasing Boundaries Project
721 Broadway, Lower Level, Room 002 

Note: This is a seminar for which participants have prepared in advance. All are welcome to attend, but we ask that those who have not prepared participate as auditors.

In this seminar we seek to extend the work of the Erasing Boundaries Project through collaboration with scholars/teachers from the design/planning fields and beyond. The Erasing Boundaries Project is a cross-institutional network of partners from the design disciplines. It aims to serve as a conduit for enhancing the quality of community-engaged work in the design disciplines, to help achieve better integration of service-learning in design and planning curriculums and foster new teaching and research collaborations with sister disciplines, institutions and community partners.

We seek to involve architects, planners, landscape architects, geographers, artists, poets, and performers who are involved in community-engaged teaching/creative work/research in a dialogue regarding how to extend and sustain meaningful engagement within the design fields.

Seminar participants will be provided material detailing how a national consortium of educators from the design and planning disciplines (architecture, landscape architecture and urban planning) have come together to advance the pedagogy of service-learning and community engaged teaching and research in their fields. They will be provided with information on two themes that have emerged from our work: (1) learning to see, comprehend and distinguish “otherness”, and (2) deepening professional education through critical reflection and evaluation.  The seminar seeks participants from a variety of disciplines involved in community-engaged teaching and research.  Participants will prepare for the seminar by addressing the following issues prior to the conference:

  • What tools and methods have you used to plan, execute and assess your work?  What has worked and why?
  • Can case study methodology be used to gain analytical insight into community-engaged work?  Can lessons learned from such a process be used to improve community-engaged practice and pedagogy?
  • What theories and practices have been useful in conceptualizing community-engaged research/teaching activity? How can we create a body of knowledge specific to engagement or service-learning in design/planning?

Seminar participants will begin a conversation regarding these issues through a blog/website before the conference. We will deepen the dialogue at the conference and develop a network that can continue this work beyond the conference.


  • Mallika Bose, Associate Professor, Landscape Architecture, Penn State
  • Cheryl Doble, Associate Professor Emeritus, Landscape Architecture, SUNY ESF
  • Paula Horrigan, Associate Professor, Landscape Architecture, Cornell University
  • Sigmund Shipp, Associate Professor, Urban Affairs and Planning, Hunter College
  • Kathleen Brandt, Assistant Professor, Industrial and Interaction Design, Syracuse University
  • Caitlin Cahill, Assistant Professor, Environmental Psychology, City University of New York
  • Stacy Harwood, Associate Professor, Urban and Regional Planning, University of Illinois
  • Laura Lawson, Professor and Chair, Landscape Architecture, Rutgers University
  • Brian Lonsway, Associate Professor, Architecture, Syracuse University
  • Astrid Reeves, Professor, Landscape Architecture, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
  • Deni Ruggeri, Assistant Professor, Landscape Architecture, University of Oregon
  • Arijit Sen, Associate Professor, Architecture, Buildings-Landscapes Cultures, University Of Wisconsin Milwaukee
  • Frank Sleegers, Assistant Professor, Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • David Watts, Assistant Professor, Landscape Architecture, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
  • Kim Yasuda, Professor, Spatial Arts, Dept of Art, UC Santa Barbara University of CA Institute for Research in the Arts
  • Jocelyn Zanzot, Assistant Professor, Master of Landscape Architecture Program, Auburn University


Seminar – On the Practical Uses of Media Art for Economic Revitalization
The Humanities Initiative, 20 Cooper Square, 5th Floor

Note: This is a seminar for which participants have prepared in advance. All are welcome to attend but we ask that those who have not prepared participate as auditors.

This seminar focuses on the uses of media as art (social media, video, web sites, etc.), created by people inside and outside of academia, that encourages economic revitalization in a specific location. Looking at methods that go beyond civic boosterism and documentary, participants in the seminar will share projects in which media have functioned significantly in connecting the arts and a business community with the shared goal of viable and sustainable development. Projects can be in the pilot stage, but should be directly connected to a specific location, community, or constituency.

“Social practice” is an academic term heard often in relation to work created by artists that directly engages with communities in venues outside of the traditional art world. Seminar organizers wish to encourage inquiry about what the ideal application of “social practice” might be, using various popular media forms. How is the value of artistic practice determined in this context? What is the relationship between aesthetics and effected change or awareness? Does one have to be more important than the other? Participants will be asked to share projects that seek to initiate dialogue between traditionally trained and non-traditional artists about the same subject—a location and community. Ideally, the projects will include an audience and/or participants who are members of that community such as businesspeople, students, residents, activists, and other stakeholders.

Project descriptions, including images, clips, links, or other forms will be shared in advance of the conference. One outcome of the seminar may include developing a best practices document as a blueprint for organizations hoping to develop effective community/arts collaborations. This information might be shared among IA participants and, more broadly, through accessible media outlets. Academic publishing venues would not be precluded, but the priority would be to make the outcomes readily available through social media.


  • Colette Gaiter, Associate Professor, Department of Art, University of Delaware
  • Amy Hicks, Assistant Professor, Department of Art, University of Delaware
  • Kermit Bailey, Associate Professor, Graphic Design, North Carolina State University
  • Robert Lawrence, Associate Professor, Art, University of South Florida
  • Ventris Woods, Faculty, Political Science, Santa Monica College; American Association of Evaluation; Moneta Garden Improvement
  • Jocelyn Zanzot, Assistant Professor, Master of Landscape Architecture Program, Auburn University

Closed Session – Building the Architecture of Inclusion through Higher Education: Sustaining and Scaling Full Participation at the Intersection of Public Engagement and Diversity, Part 1
19 West 4th St., Room 101 

A diverse group of institutional teams from across the nation were selected to participate in this interactive session to identify potential linkages among diversity and public scholarship on their campuses and in their communities; the opportunities to cultivate these synergies; and the challenges they must face in building this work into the hard-wiring of their institutions.  This double session builds on Imagining America’s ongoing “Linking Full Participation” research initiative, developed in collaboration with Syracuse University and the Center for Institutional and Social Change at Columbia University Law School.

Through this facilitated dialogue, we seek to build capacity for institutional teams to:

  • identify and generate strategies, indicators, and networks for linking diversity and public scholarship,
  • mobilize and build the collective capacity of cohorts of individual and institutional innovators to make demonstrable progress toward this goal, and
  • build national momentum to catalyze cross-institutional learning and policy change.


  • Susan Sturm, George M. Jaffin Professor of Law and Social Responsibility, and Director, Center for Institutional and Social Change, Columbia University Law School
  • George Sanchez, Vice Dean for Diversity and Strategic Initiatives, University of Southern California
  • Margaret Salazar-Porzio, Associate Research Scholar of the Center for Institutional and Social Change, Columbia University Law School
  • Deirdra Stockmann, Imagining America Associate Research Director


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Lunch Sessions, 12:45-2:15pm

The Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU presents:
Beasts of the ‘Northern’ Wild:
Why Benh Zeitlin’s Indie Film is So Important
721 Broadway, 12th floor, Dean’s Conference Room

Described by A.O. Scott as “a passionate and unruly explosion of Americana,” Benh Zeitlin’s ambitious Beasts of the Southern Wild, which has taken the film festival circuit by storm, is set to become an American classic. A magical realist post-apocalyptic tale set in a watery Louisiana basin and starring a 6-year-old girl named Hushpuppy, the film speaks to contemporary concerns about environmental preservation, sustainable food practices, and cross-racial alliance building.

Join folklorists Steve Zeitlin (Founding Director, City Lore) and Amanda Dargan (Education Director, City Lore)—who also happen to be Benh’s parents—and Dan Romer (the film’s co-composer), interdisciplinary writer Jessica Hagedorn (author of Toxicology), Carol Bebelle (Co-founder and Director, Ashe Cultural Arts Center), and writer Carrie Leilam Love for a series of diverse readings on the film’s power, relevancy, and magic. Jack Tchen (Founding Director, Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU) leads a wrap-up discussion on what it means to be an American, devising decolonizing collaborations, New Orleans, and concerns of representation. Lunch will be provided.

Space is limited. Please RSVP by Thursday, October 4, 2012 online, via email (, phone (212.992.9653).


Closed Session – The New York State Council for the Humanities hosts a lunchtime discussion between the leaders of Imagining America and state humanities council leaders from around the country.
The Humanities Initiative, 20 Cooper Square, 5th Floor

Please note that this is a closed luncheon.

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Afternoon Session, 2:30 – 4:15pm

Liberal Arts Colleges and the Copernican Moment: Transforming Undergraduate Education for the 21st Century

Silver Hall, Room 207 

The Call for Proposals for this conference articulated the goal of creating “an occasion to reflect critically on the shared predicaments of democratically-oriented, cultural work in higher education and community-based organizations; to articulate languages and practices of possibility; and to develop and strengthen cross-sectoral networks committed to moving such work forward.”  It is our hope that this seminar can begin a dialogue about the capacity of liberal arts colleges to examine how our institutions might address the predicaments, practices and collaborations that help us to advance or stagnate in the face of the dramatic challenges facing higher education today.

Seminar participants will, in preparation for the discussion, read David Scobey’s “Civic Engagement and the Copernican Moment.” (Plenary Address, Imagining America National Conference, Minneapolis, September 21, 2011)  During the seminar, David and Holly Lasagna will guide discussion, the goal of which will be to collectively address how liberal arts colleges can tackle some of the issues that David raises, among them; exploring the changing landscape of higher education, how our institutions can address these changes even while they are seen as disruptive to the status quo, and what will make the most difference in the future of student engagement and success.

The discussion will not only touch on broad topics such as those above but will also look at activities that work in our own institutions that use “high impact practices” like community-based learning and first year seminars to advance learning and make our institutions relevant in the 21st century. We will also think collectively about practices that might not be so apparent vis-à-vis the changing landscape of higher education such as student leadership development, work study, summer fellowships, and study abroad.

While the issues are complex and the ways in which we might address them daunting and potentially disruptive, we hope that this discussion will be the beginning of an ongoing dialogue about the philosophical, theoretical and practical ways in which the liberal arts can address the demands of the current and future higher education learning environment.

Outcomes for this seminar will be that participants will have a greater understanding, through collaborative thinking, about the issues that face the liberal arts now and in the future, methods for beginning to address the issues through civically-engaged student learning, and a plan for how to continue these discussions within and among our institutions.

Participants are asked to read David Scobey’s “Civic Engagement and the Copernican Moment.” and be ready to discuss what possible responses are to the issues raised and how they can be implemented at liberal arts institutions.  It can be accessed at;


  • Holly Lasagna, Associate Director, Community Based Learning, Harward Center for Community Partnerships, Bates College
  • David Scobey, Executive Dean, The New School for Public Engagement, The New School


“What You Need to Know About Me…”: A Sharing
Silver Hall, Room 206

On Friday, October 5, dozens of youth participants will participate in a “cultural hackathon” workshop in Brooklyn where they will collaborate with local teaching artists to create short arts-based performances, collages, visual arts works and other sharable forms in response to the question, “What do you need to know about me?” This session will present those responses, a sharing that will address intergenerational language barriers and explore the ways in which young people relate to, partner with, critique, and resist the colleges and universities in their communities.

Following the brief sharing, the young people will speak  about their experiences and personal stories and we will engage in a dialogue about strategizing how to create and sustain successful and mutually beneficial intergenerational partnerships within Imagining America and in our communities.


  • Youth participants from New York City
  • Dana Edell,  Executive Director, SPARK Movement; Faculty, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, New York University
  • Kathy Engel, Faculty New York University
  • Naliaka Wakhisi, Young People’s Project, New York City
  • Adrianne Koteen, New York City
  • Leah Thomas, New York City


Movement to Movement: From Social Contract to Social Entrepreneurship
721 Broadway, Lower Level, Room 017

Community-based arts organizations that were developed out of the Civil Rights Era were created to give voice and visibility to communities of color. Important to the mission of these organizations was the stabilization and revitalization of their communities, as well as, giving a public forum for racial and cultural rights, civil and social justice.  Today, a new social movement engages internet-based, crowd-sourcing strategies to animate public consciousness and support for social issues and community-based work. However, what is the impact of this shift? What is the new social contract being forged in this age of monetization? How do we assure that the public sector and private foundations meet their commitment to eliminate discriminatory cultural arts practices and that previous marginalization practices are not re-instituted in covert ways? How can social entrepreneurship and social impact financing be best conceived and employed to beneficially impact all of America’s communities? Social Impact/Responsibility/Entrepreneurship – How “democratic” is funding through crowd-sourcing?


  • Marta Moreno Vega, President/Founder, Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute
  • Alfred Bennett Spellman, Jr., Former Deputy Director for Programs, National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)
  • Susan Cahan, Associate Dean for the Arts at Yale College


Aligning Missions and Methods in Public Humanities Initiatives: The Role of Humanities Institutes and Centers
721 Broadway, Lower Level, Room 018

In this roundtable, members of the IA working group, “Public Humanities Institutes and Centers,” invite conference participants to join a conversation about the mission, activities, and potential of public humanities centers and initiatives to support and even inspire a range of publicly engaged practices.  Drawing from our ongoing work to document and evaluate the full range of activities that connect our universities with public audiences – from research grants and residencies for students and faculty to lectures, workshops, exhibits, and collaborative research projects, we hope the roundtable will deepen understanding of the particular obstacles and opportunities those involved in publicly engaged humanities encounter.

Among the questions the session will consider are:

  • In times of strained budgets, few staff, and increased demands for faculty members, how do we determine which activities to support and why? What might be the benefits (or limitations) of expanding the category “public humanities” to include a range of activities from a scholar’s talk at a public library to multi-year, large scale community-based project?
  • What role do partnerships (on and off campus) play in our programs?
  • How might we better prepare scholars, staff, students, and community leaders to form mutually beneficial partnerships and to collaborate successfully?
  • If one goal of public humanities scholarship is to change views of the world, how do we measure success? By what other measures can we think about (and assess) impact?

We invite everyone working in the humanities and negotiating the unique challenges of fields new to collaboration, project development, diverse audiences, and community-based work to join us in addressing these questions. We look forward to sharing experiments from our centers and learning from participants how centers can actively contribute to the mission, impact, and value of our institutions, our disciplines, and Imagining America.


  • Anne Valk, Center for Public Humanities, Brown University
  • Teresa Mangum, Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, University of Iowa
  • Inmaculada Lara-Bonilla, La Casita Cultural Center, Syracuse University
  • Ann Ardis, Interdisciplinary Humanities Research Center, University of Delaware
  • Mona  Frederick, Robert Penn Warren Humanities Center, Vanderbilt University
  • Anne Davis Basting, Center on Age and Community, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • Sophia Krzys Acord, University of Florida Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere
  • Jay Lamar, Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts and Humanities, Auburn University
  • Leah Nahmias, New York Council for the Humanities
  • Carolyn de la Peña, University of California-Davis Humanities Institute
  • Rick Livingston, Humanities Institute, Ohio State University


Performance and Dialogue – “We’d Rather Not Be on the Rolls of Relief”: Leveraging Civic and Educational Engagement through Archival Music, Images, Narratives, and Oral Histories of the Depression and New Deal
721 Broadway, Lower Level, Room 006

Tom Naples, Peggy Milliron, and Mike Frisch make up The 198 String Band. We are musicians, historians, and researchers from Buffalo NY who have developed a unique repertoire of music from the Great Depression and New Deal. Our songs come from Library of Congress and other archives, including Farm Security Administration (FSA) migrant camp field recordings from the late 1930s and early 1940s that have rarely been performed and never commercially recorded.

We present Depression Era/ New Deal music in a multi-media format combining live performance and large-screen projection streaming FSA and other documentary photographs from the period. In concert, the counterpoint of live music/lyrics/audio sources with sequences of still images opens a powerful, open-ended reflective space in which resonances between historical and contemporary contexts unfold naturally.  For examples of the programs and samples of the music/photography combination, see

Our session will offer a performance presenting selected materials from the Depression in this multi-media format, which we are broadening to include period audio sources—excerpts from oral histories, poems, and narratives—as well as photographs. As a particular feature for this year of Woody Guthrie’s centennial, we will include songs by another Oklahoma musician and songwriter, Jack Bryant, about whom absolutely nothing is known aside from songs he recorded in the FSA migrant camps. Spotlighting his work will underscore the regional, historical, and community dimension of powerful folk music and how it speaks to us today even (or especially) when not mediated through the kind of celebrity Woody became.

In the “performance and dialogue” format IA is introducing in this meeting, our performance will be set within an informal workshop setting, in which we can discuss with participants these remarkable songs, lyrics, photo images, and audio documents and how they can be leveraged most productively with students or public groups to link history to contemporary issues and resonances.


  • Tom Naples, The 198 String Band
  • Peggy Milliron, The 198 String Band
  • Mike Frisch, The 198 String Band


Building Home: A Case Study and Workshop on Art and Culture in Civic Discourse
 721 Broadway, Lower Level, Room 007 

This interactive workshop will present Building Home, a project of the Department of Theatre and Cinema at Virginia Tech and the New River Valley Planning District Commission (PDC), as a case study and as an entry into story-telling and other theatre exercises used by the project.  The workshop is intended to open a discussion with participants about how arts and culture intersect with community and economic development, as well as community cultural development.

In structure and purpose, Building Home reflects the understanding that art and culture are essential elements in the sustainability of communities.

Building Home has trained a team of student and community actors in interactive theatre and community dialogue facilitation. We have developed a close partnership with the PDC, as an innovative and creative part of our region’s current three-year comprehensive planning process.  Utilizing a variety of interactive theatre techniques, we have organized and facilitated more than 20 community gatherings throughout our 4-county region, thereby directly including the perspectives and opinions of people whose voices have in the past not typically been present in planning processes.

Building Home has fostered relationships with many New River Valley community organizations including NRV Community Action, NRV Head Start, transitional housing units, ReNew the New (a clean-up/environmental organization), Senior Citizen Services, and several African American organizations.

Using the models developed by the late Brazilian theatre practitioner August Boal, the American interactive theatre practitioner Michael Rohd, and the Story Circle work of Roadside Theatre, the Building Home team has successfully provided accessible and safe forums for an inclusive diversity of community members to voice their perspectives on:

  • Pressing regional issues (i.e. food systems; affordable housing; substance abuse and public health; land use in rural communities facing changes in populations, ways of life, and the economy; transportation, etc.)
  • Healthy civic discourse.  As we all experience the extreme polarization of thought through the media, Building Home has joined with the Sojourn Theatre/Imagining America initiative Town Hall Nation to begin to open a way for people intentionally to reach across difference through love of community.

Specific goals of our workshop will include:

  • Offering workshop participants access to our particular use of Roadside Theatre’s Story Circle methods, Boal’s Image & Forum Theatre models, and Rohd’s Activating Scene work
  • Identifying collective community interests and concerns through an exploration of personal narrative and interactive theatre techniques
  • Exchanging with workshop participants strategies and practices for organizing and facilitating community dialogue, and for partnering to include art and culture in civic discourse and community development.

Associated organizations:

  • Department of Theatre & Cinema, Virginia Tech
  • New River Valley Planning District Commission
  • A multitude of organizations or nodes within our region that have aided the project


  • Robert H. Leonard, Professor, Primary Advisor in the Master of Fine Arts program in Directing & Public Dialogue, Department of Theatre & Cinema, Virginia Tech
  • Kim Thurlow, Project Coordinator, Livability Initiative, New River Valley Planning District Commission, Radford, VA


Creating Public-Public Partnerships: Participatory Budgeting with the NY City Council and Brooklyn College
721 Broadway, Lower Level, Room 008

Last year, four NYC Council Members (CMs) turned over 6 million dollars to the residents of their districts and empowered them to submit proposals AND choose which ones to fund.  Students at Brooklyn College (BC) were so inspired that they too constructed such a procedure and next year 4 more NYC CMs are joining in.  This process, called Participatory Budgeting (PB), started more than 20 years ago in Porto Alegre, Brazil and is now practiced in more than a 1000 cities across the globe and more than a few universities. What makes PB so attractive and potent is that not only does it authorize communities to make these decisions (it’s not a mere consultation or advisory committee) and develop the capabilities of community members (re: learning how budgets work, working with experts to develop proposals), it addresses the needs of the community as the community defines them.  It also promotes the values of transparency, equality, and accountability and the notion that all urban residents have a “right to the city.”  A particular focus in this session will be on how BC has played a role in this process and how other universities might utilize PB to democratize aspects of their own institutions in two ways: by connecting students, faculty and administration within the campus but also to create community-university or public-public partnerships that promote economic development that is inclusive and sustainable.  In this roundtable discussion, representatives from the relevant organizations will present (e.g. Brooklyn College faculty and student, community organizer and the council member’s office).


  • Joan Bakiriddin, Co-chair of 45th PB District Committee
  • Kwabena Edusei, Brooklyn College student and member of the NYC Solidarity Economy Network
  • Michael Menser, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Brooklyn College, and Associate, Participatory Budgeting Project
  • Thanddness Palmer, Brooklyn College student and 45th District Budget Delegate
  • Donata Secondo, Project Coordinator, Participatory Budgeting Project
  • Jumaane Williams, NYC Council Member, 45th District (Invited)


Buildings-Landscapes-Cultures: A Critical Examination of Fieldwork
 721 Broadway, Lower Level, Room 012

This session hopes to examine how “field” can be a site of data collection, area of disciplinary knowledge, location of community-based engagement, metaphor for ecological thinking, as well as an object of study. Participants will compare approaches of field schools and community based practices in order to place four definitions of the term “field” under close scrutiny and explore how this term can be both useful and ineffective.

First, the act of documenting and analyzing the physical environment brings forth a notion of the field as material culture. Field in this form involves places where we collect data and engage with empirical knowledge. Second, field is also a location where students and scholars meet users, stakeholders and builders of that environment. It is here that they hear diverse interpretations of these places from individuals who live here. We find that the field is politically charged. Third, the field is also a part of a larger social, cultural, historical and ecological landscape. William Cronon’s Center for Culture History Environment espouses, “Many historical events, hitherto explained solely in terms of human enterprise, were actually biotic interactions between people and land.” Finally, in the academy our disciplinary field reflects our curricular and scholarly home. This use of the term represents theories and methods we use within our disciplines and reflects scholarly persuasions embedded within the politics of our disciplinary fields.

Gupta and Fergusson write that although many researchers conduct their studies in the field, the location itself remains relatively unexamined. Gupta and Fergusson’s imperative for a critical reexamination of the “field” and fieldwork comes out of necessity in a transforming globalized, uber-mobile world where “groups are not tightly territorialized, spatially bounded, historically self-conscious, or culturally homogenous” entities. While Gupta and Fergusson speak as anthropologists, scholars of the built field have yet to begin such a critical discussion.


  • Meghann Jack – graduate student, Memorial University of Newfoundland
  • Gerald Pocius – University Research Professor, Memorial University of Newfoundland; Director, Keels Field School in Canada
  • Arijit Sen – Associate Professor of Architecture, Buildings-Landscapes-Cultures, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee
  • Chelsea Wait – graduate student, Buildings-Landscapes-Cultures, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee


The Declaration Initiative
 721 Broadway, Lower Level, Room 003

In 2010, The Declaration Initiative (TDI) was formed to inspire members of American communities to invest together in eliminating the destructive conditions that trap children and families in poverty through several generations.  Such conditions limit access to opportunity permanently and to the founding aspirations of the US…”life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.  Poverty is not inevitable, but there are structural reasons for its persistent and pernicious consequences that entrap people in physical, economic, social, cultural and political ways. The goal of TDI is to greatly reduce persistent poverty in the US by 2026.

How can true broad based community engagement (across race, class, age and gender) interrupt and dismantle these crippling poverty triggers? Our experience shows that the most effective and lasting solutions have to come from the most local level–the communities themselves–and involve those members whose lives are directly affected.

In this workshop, attendees will work with facilitators to:

  • identify, examine, and assess proposed methods of connecting higher education institutions with the resident-driven approaches that address persistent poverty; and
  • create key design elements to measure long-term social change that involves significant community engagement.


  • Linetta Gilbert, Co-Leader, The Declaration Initiative
  • Melissa Howell, Director, The Declaration Initiative


Beauty in the Struggle: Realizing Full Access to Higher Education
 721 Broadway, Lower Level, Room 002

The underlying question that guides this session is: How do we change ourselves, individually and collectively, in order to be able to change/shift larger, oppressive systems and institutions?

One example: collaborative initiatives on our campus that have emerged from the grassroots level at our institution are currently leveraging institutional goals and strategic initiatives that have been highlighted under our new executive leadership. We hope to develop and expand our role in the community as an advocate and active participant for the right of all people, from youth to the aged to have access to a full and dynamic educational experience.

Our dialogue will center on the relationship between access to a dynamic education, which includes the arts and engenders creative and critical thinking, and a thriving democracy. In order to create systems that do not perpetuate inequity, we seek to bridge the unnatural divide between theory and practice through conscious integration and application of both. The desire to pursue this theme and learn with others is driven by our own experiences which brought us to a significant threshold and insight: while transformative moments depend on invested, passionate individuals, we need to create more collective and accessible models that nurture and provide tools for dedicated, energetic and creative people.


  • Julia van derRyn, Director of Service-Learning, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Dominican University of California
  • Lynn Sondag, Department Chair of Art, Art History, and Design, Assistant Professor of Visual Art, Dominican University of California


Seminar – Communications and Technology: Innovations, Cogitations, and Cool Tools to Tell the Story of Engagement
The Humanities Initiative, 20 Cooper Square, 5th Floor

Note: This is a seminar for which participants have prepared in advance. All are welcome to attend but we ask that those who have not prepared participate as auditors.

While Imagining America’s members recognize the potential of community-campus partnerships as sites for building and sustaining democratic culture, such potential is not widely recognized by the public. This seminar aims to engage participants in critical discourse about how communications strategies and tools can be effective in making this potential visible to broad audiences. The seminar’s goal is to develop strategies and action plans for communicating stories about community-based art and scholarship, as well as for using communications to coalesce all those (nationally and globally) using humanities, arts, and design to enhance democratic culture.

In a virtual exchange prior to the conference, seminar participants will be asked to share and analyze the tools they are using, excited about, struggling with, or developing. Such tools might include websites, databases, maps, blogs, webinars, social media, e-portfolios, platforms for open-source collaboration software, and more. For example:

Animating Democracy’s new Drupal website provides artists, educators, community partners, and funders with user profiles, resources on making the case for the social impact of the arts, and case studies and trend papers.

American Commonwealth Partnership’s blog and social media platform facilitate conversation about the public purposes of higher education and encourage youth participation.

University of North Carolina-Greensboro’s database of community partnerships improves communication about and reporting on engagement projects.

Roadside Theater’s forthcoming Drupal website will give users access to a visualized database of multimedia resources (licensed for free reuse by Creative Commons) about “Art in a Democracy” in order to curate and publish new methodologies, plays, courses, and more.

American Democracy Project’s eCitizenship initiative encourages campuses to incorporate social media into civic engagement work to understand how technology shapes citizenship behaviors.

Through storytelling, participants will share personal experiences of a communications strategy that either successfully or unsuccessfully brought a coalition together around a shared vision, mission, values, and goals. Participants will leverage the knowledge in the group to troubleshoot challenges with design, development, and implementation – especially with regard to the use of communications and technology that exemplify democratic values like reciprocity, transparency, participation, and dialogue.


  • Kristin Buchner, Communications & Partnerships Manager, Office of Research & Economic Development, UNC-Greensboro
  • Victoria Docu, Community Manager and Digital Media Coordinator, Joy of Giving Something, Inc.
  • Jen Domagal-Goldman, National Manager, American Democracy Project
  • Jamie Haft, Communications Manager, Imagining America
  • Mark Kidd, Communications Director, Roadside Theater at Appalshop
  • Pam Korza, Co-Director, Animating Democracy at Americans for the Arts
  • Cecilia Orphan, PhD student in Higher Education, University of Pennsylvania
  • Tamara Berg, Associate Professor and Director, Women’s and Gender Studies, Winona State University
  • Joan Francioni, Professor, Computer Science, Winona State University
  • Elizabeth Goodhue, Assistant Director, English and Public Humanities, UCLA; Campus-wide Civic Engagement, UCLA Center for Community Learning
  • Adele Holoch, Instructor, English, University of Iowa
  • Michael McNally, Faculty Coordinator and Faculty Associate for Public Scholarship, Center for Community and Civic Engagement, Carleton College
  • Jennifer New, Assistant Director, Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, University of Iowa
  • Seth Pollack, Professor of Service Learning, Service Learning Institute – Organizational Sociology, California State University, Monterey Bay
  • Victoria Robinson, Director, The American Cultures Engaged Scholarship (ACES) Program, University of California, Berkeley
  • Paul Schadewald, Associate Director, Civic Engagement Center, Macalester College
  • Maureen Sweatman, Associate Director of Engaged Learning, Office of University-Community Partnerships, Emory University
  • Ella Turenne, Assistant Dean for Community Engagement, Office of Community Engagement, Occidental College
  • Elizabeth Werbe, Associate Director, Arts of Citizenship, University of Michigan
  • Bobby White, Instructional Designer, Educational Technology Services, University of California, Berkeley

Closed Session – Building the Architecture of Inclusion through Higher Education: Sustaining and Scaling Full Participation at the Intersection of Public Engagement and Diversity, Part 2
19 West 4th St., Room 101 

Please note: This is the second par of a two-part closed session. 

A diverse group of institutional teams from across the nation were selected to participate in this interactive session to identify potential linkages among diversity and public scholarship on their campuses and in their communities; the opportunities to cultivate these synergies; and the challenges they must face in building this work into the hard-wiring of their institutions.  This double session builds on Imagining America’s ongoing “Linking Full Participation” research initiative, developed in collaboration with Syracuse University and the Center for Institutional and Social Change at Columbia University Law School.

Through this facilitated dialogue, we seek to build capacity for institutional teams to:

  • identify and generate strategies, indicators, and networks for linking diversity and public scholarship,
  • mobilize and build the collective capacity of cohorts of individual and institutional innovators to make demonstrable progress toward this goal, and
  • build national momentum to catalyze cross-institutional learning and policy change.


  • Susan Sturm, George M. Jaffin Professor of Law and Social Responsibility, and Director, Center for Institutional and Social Change, Columbia University Law School
  • George Sanchez, Vice Dean for Diversity and Strategic Initiatives, University of Southern California
  • Margaret Salazar-Porzio, Associate Research Scholar of the Center for Institutional and Social Change, Columbia University Law School
  • Deirdra Stockmann, Imagining America Associate Research Director


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Evening Activities


Plenary Session, 4:30–5:45pm
Narratives of Possibility: The Theory and Practice of Full Participation
19 West 4th St., Room 101 

We are at an inflection point in our nation’s history.  The economic downturn and growing inequality threaten the future prosperity of our communities and our nation.  Economic and civic revitalization requires the full participation of our increasingly diverse communities, in both higher education and public leadership.  Full participation focuses on creating institutions and collaborations with communities that enable people, whatever their identity, background, or position, to thrive, realize their capabilities, engage meaningfully in institutional and community life, and contribute to the flourishing of others (Sturm, Eatman, Saltmarsh and Bush 2011).

This plenary will provide a framework and narratives for advancing full participation under conditions of increasing diversity, declining budgets, growing inequality, and legal uncertainty.  Susan Sturm (George M. Jaffin Professor of Law and Social Responsibility and Director of the Center for Institutional and Social Change, Columbia University Law) will provide a framework and theory of action for advancing full participation by linking diversity and engagement and building both into the hardwiring of higher education institutions and community collaborations.  This framework has informed an ongoing IA collaboration with the Center for Institutional and Social Change entitled “Building the Architecture of Inclusion through Higher Education: Sustaining and Scaling Full Participation at the Intersection of Public Engagement and Diversity,” a project that includes four collaborative working groups and a total of 21 institutions.   Project participants actively engaged in making full participation real on their campuses and in their communities will describe the theory-in-use:

  • How does the framework facilitate work on the ground?
  • What does “full participation” look like in practice?
  • How are change agents building this architecture?
  • What are challenges to linking diversity and engagement and sustaining this work?
  • What does this work mean for engaged arts and scholarship, and for the future of university-community partnerships?
  • How do change and policy leaders build out systematically from hubs and hot spots at the forefront of change?

Panelists will discuss possibilities for how communities can critically engage with universities to build integrated movements for full participation now and in the future.


  • Susan Sturm, George M. Jaffin Professor of Law and Social Responsibility, Director of Center of Institutional and Social Change
  • Glyn Hughes, Director of the Office of Common Ground, University of Richmond
  • Maria Avila, Civic Engagement Consultant and Post Doctoral Fellow, University of Southern California
  • Bea Gonzalez, Dean, University College, Syracuse University


Curator-led Tour of The New School Art Collection, 5:00–6:00  pm
Reservations required. The tour accommodates up to 30 conference attendees. RSVP to Amy Minter (

The New School art collection holds over 2,000 postwar and contemporary works of art, including examples in almost all media by some of the most innovative and creative artists of our time. Installed throughout the university campus and transforming the public spaces into lively forums for examining contemporary art, the collection offers students and faculty a rare opportunity to engage with art on a daily basis, making it a distinctive component of their educational experience.

Please join Silvia Rocciolo, Curator, The New School Art Collection, in an art tour that will highlight works from the collection, including the historically significant José Clement Orozco murals as well as important site-specific commissions by Sol LeWitt, Martin Puryear and Kara Walker.

Participants should meet the guide in the lobby of 721 Broadway at 4:30 pm or walk to 66 W. 12th St. (between Fifth and Sixth Avenues). Tour begins at 5:00 in the lobby of 66 W. 12th St, the landmark modernist building designed by Vienna-born artchitect, Joseph Urban. For more information on the art collection, visit:


Syracuse University Graduate School Press Book Launch, 6:00–7:00 pm
The Humanities Initiative, 20 Cooper Square, Fifth Floor

Collaborative Futures: Critical Reflections on Publicly Active Graduate Education
Edited by Amanda Gilvin, Postdoctoral Fellow, African Art and Architecture, Mount Holyoke College, former PAGE Fellow; Georgia M. Roberts, former PAGE Fellow; and Craig Martin, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, St. Thomas Aquinas College.

Wine and hors d’oeuvres reception is sponsored by the Syracuse University Graduate School Press.


Evening Performances, 7:00pm and 9:00pm
The D.R.E.A.(M.)³ Freedom Revival
The Performance Project @ University Settlement
184 Eldridge St.

Come for the Fun, Stay for the Freedom! A community-campus arts partnership sponsored by Imagining America, this  “secular Revival for freedom and democracy” is a rip-roarin’,  participatory, musical celebration that uses the rich histories of Syracuse and Central New York as its point of departure to engage audiences in issues that affect our lives.

Led by artistic director and IA associate director Kevin Bott, the DFR features IA co-director Tim Eatman; residents of the city of Syracuse, New York; and Syracuse University students and faculty. With special musical guests, The 198 String Band (7pm) and The Following (9:00pm).

Two Shows: 7:00pm and 9:00pm
Tickets: $10
Reservations recommended: