Summer Institute

Imagining America (IA) invites all artists, scholars, and citizens with a stake in the democratic future of higher education to participate in our cultural organizing institutes. Explore the theories and practices of broad-based and cultural organizing, and develop creative strategies for transforming higher education toward its civic purposes.

Cultural Organizing

Publicly engaged scholars, artists, and other community members are working with institutions of higher education in a wide variety of ways to revitalize and build an inclusive, citizen-centered democracy. IA believes that tools and practices from broad-based community organizing offer a powerful means of strengthening this work.

IA believes that tools and practices from broad-based community organizing offer a powerful means of strengthening this work.

The Institute will provide a space for working teams of three to four campus and community leaders to engage in deep reflection and discussion about theories and practices of organizing that draw on the strengths of arts, humanities, and design fields. Participants will experience how storytelling and “public narrative” can be used to define and shape individual and collective roles in the work of institutional and social change. Each team will develop specific action plans to take what they’ve learned home.

We invite a wide a range of stakeholders working in or connected to higher education, from all sectors and disciplines. We especially hope to work with community-based and student artists, humanists, and designers with an interest in exploring higher education’s role in a democracy.



Learning and Action Objectives

  • Learn different organizing models, philosophies, traditions, and literatures.
  • Learn and rehearse specific broad-based and cultural organizing practices.
  • Learn and experience collaborative art making processes that deepen understanding of a topic of common concern.
  • Reflect on and strategize about using cultural organizing in participants’ campus, community, and cross-sectoral efforts.




The planning team includes IA’s staff led by Co-Directors Scott Peters and Tim Eatman, and joined by local community-based artists and organizers as well as engaged faculty at regional IA member institutions.



The fee for attending the Institute will be $300 per person. Travel expenses, hotel accommodations, and some meal costs are NOT included in this fee, and must be paid separately by each participant. A block of rooms will be reserved in a nearby hotel.


How to Apply

Attendance at this Institute will be limited to a maximum of 40 people, comprised of teams of 3-4 campus and community members from IA’s member institutions. If you are interested in forming a team to attend, please complete the brief letter of interest and send to