Published: Sept. 12, 2022

Activism and Engaged Humanities Event Series will last throughout the year, with the first presentation on Sept. 21

From musical performances and poetry to speeches and printmaking, the Art, Activism, and Engaged Humanities series highlights how artistic achievements and performances synergize art and activism.

The series seeks to inspire and encourage participation both in and outside the University of Colorado Boulder community in the engaged humanities, a cross-disciplinary effort to make the humanities more accessible to the public.

“Too often in the humanities, we fail to make visible why and how our research and teaching matter to public life,” says Laurie Gries, an associate professor in writing and rhetoric and communication at CU Boulder and one of the series’ organizers.

Starting late September and lasting through spring, the series will host a range of performances, talks, workshops and community collaborations. These events will bring together students, faculty, staff and local Boulder community members to see, hear and experience various forms of art and allow them to join discussions about community involvement, activism and social issues.

Participants will discover how “to talk about pressing social matters and explore how art, in a broad sense, can work toward social justice in powerful publicly engaged ways,” says Gries.

Events included in the series are as follows:

A two day event on hip hop and social justice

The Politics of Race, Rap and Incarceration: A Conversation with Mark Katz and Mariah Parker aka Linqua Franqa

Date and Time: Sept. 21, 3:30 – 5 p.m.

Location: Center for British and Irish Studies room, Norlin Library, M549

This event is being organized by the Center for Humanities & the Arts and American Music Research Center.

A Musical Performance with Linqua Franqa

Date and Time: Sept. 22, 7 p.m.

Location: The Dairy Arts Center, Gordan Gamm Theatre

This concert (followed by Q&A) is being organized by The American Music Research Center and The WRITE Lab/Program for Writing and Rhetoric. Tickets are free, but registration is required. Please click on this link and click on "Tickets" and fill out all necessary information. 

A Workshop with Mariah Parker on Artmaking, Activism and Political Engagement

Date and Time: Sept. 22, 11 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Location: UMC Room 247

For this event, organized by the WRITE Lab/Program for Writing and Rhetoric, Mariah Parker will speak about the process of becoming politically engaged through the art-making process.

Workshop max: 40 participants. Workshop registration required.

A panel and workshop on fighting for reproductive rights and justice

Virtual Panel of Community Organizers, Lawyers, Scholars, Activists

Date and Time: Oct. 27, 3:30 – 5 p.m.,

Location: Zoom (Registration Required)

Moderator: Samira Mehta (assistant professor, Jewish studies and women and gender studies)

Participating organizations, scholars and community members: Alexis Moncada (outreach coordinator of COLOR: Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights), Arianna Morales (policy manager of New Era Colorado), Dr. Warren Hern (Boulder Abortion Clinic), Jennifer Hendricks (professor of law) and Chenthu Jayton (executive director of Equity Labs).

Workshop with New Era Colorado on Reproductive Rights Advocacy and Organizing in Storytelling

Date and Time: Oct. 27, 5:30 - 6:30 p.m.

Location: Hellems 241

Facilitators: Aaron Lombardi and Kate Kelly, New Era Colorado

This interactive workshop will dive into the history of organizing in Colorado and the role storytelling has played within the reproductive-rights movement. Participants will explore different mediums of storytelling for advocacy and discuss tools and/or resources to become an advocate in one’s community.

Workshop registration required. Workshop is limited to 30 participants. Organizers will email you to confirm registration and communicate any necessary instructions.

2022 Kwanzaa Celebration

Date and Time: Dec. 1, 2022, times TBD

Location: TBD

Kwanzaa is a week-long holiday from Dec. 26 through Jan. 1 that celebrates the African diaspora, family and community contributions. To celebrate Kwanzaa and to demonstrate its potential for the engaged humanities, the Center for African and African American Studies is hosting a two-part event. Using the seven principles of the Ngozu Saba, a speakers event will feature presentations and performances from students and faculty in CU Boulder community related to research, entrepreneurship and activism. Directly following the event will be a karamu, or feast with traditional foods found in the Black community, which is an essential cultural practice of the holiday.

Printmaking as Activism

The CU Art Museum is hosting a two-day event in February, opening with a lecture by a printmaker or artist whose practice works toward social justice, followed by Q&A and discussion. On the second day of the event, the museum will lead a hands-on workshop on poster making and activism with opportunities for students to participate in art making. The invited artist will be selected from the museum’s current exhibition, Lasting Impressions. Potential artists are Delita Martin, Alison Saar, Rose B. Simpson, Dyani White Hawk and William Villalongo.

More than Words—A Digital Performance Installment

This virtual installment will explore the theme "More than words." Curated by Donna Mejia (associate professor, theatre and dance and Inaugural Chancellor's Scholar in Residence at the Renee Crown Wellness Institute), this program will feature visual and performing artists who use multiple formats of communication, incorporating or expanding beyond words in their activism and public works. This presentation will explore what is conveyed, transmitted and exchanged through art when words may not be enough, or can be augmented by nonverbal intelligence with the same precision as the written word.

Audience members will be invited to engage and open to duende (Spanish): the experience of being moved deeply or activated by the expressive arts.

Note: This event may be followed up by an experiential dance workshop.

Speaking Out against Gun Violence

Edna Lizbeth Chavez is a social justice activist, supporter of immigrant rights, and a survivor of gun violence. In 2018, she headlined and delivered a powerful speech at the March for our Lives rally in Washington, D.C. Chavez has lost many loved ones to gun violence and has become a leading gun control advocate and student voter registration organizer.

For this event, Chavez will give a talk, followed by a workshop for students on Using Voice for Social Justice.

This event is sponsored by the WRITE Lab/Program for Writing and Rhetoric, the English department and the College of Arts and Sciences’ Office for Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

The event series is hosted by the College of Arts and Sciences' Office of Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, the WRITE Lab within the Program for Writing and Rhetoric, the Department of English, the Division of Student Affairs, the School of Music, the CU Art Museum, the Department of Ethnic Studies, the Center for Arts and Humanities and The Center for African and African American Studies.