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Emory to host Imagining America summer institute

By Kimber Williams | Emory Report | June 9, 2014

In preparation for the 2014 Imagining America National Conference, to be hosted by Emory in Atlanta this fall, the University will hold a summer institute that explores how grassroots and cultural organizing strategies can be used to tell the story of higher education and civic engagement. 

Co-sponsored by Emory's Center for Community Partnerships (CFCP) and the Center for Faculty Development and Excellence (CFDE), the Weekend Organizing Institute, "Telling the Stories of Higher Education," will take place Friday, June 20, through Sunday, June 22, in the Silverbell Pavillion of the Emory Conference Center and Hotel.

A Cultural Organizing Intensive, "Performing the Stories of Higher Education," which will be used to create a performance inspired by the preceding institute, will take place at Emory's Center for Community Partnerships on Monday, June 23, and a half-day on Tuesday, June 24.

A steeply discounted registration fee is available for Emory faculty and staff. Financial support from the CFDE will allow Emory employees to attend the organizing institute for $50 — the regular fee is $325.

The discounted fee to attend the performance intensive is $25; participants are not required to attend both events, but may register to attend either one or both. A limited number of need-based student and community scholarships are available through IA; early registration is encouraged.

The curriculum for the Weekend Organizing Institute builds off a workshop on narrative and organizing hosted by the IA in April. This month's event will explore theories and practices of broad-based and cultural organizing as a means to develop creative strategies for transforming the culture of higher education.

The institute draws on Roadside Theater's "Story Circle" methodology, Marshall Ganz' concept of public narrative, and theater practices developed by Augusto Boal.

Participants in the Cultural Organizing Intensive will explore the option of creating and presenting their collaborative performance at the IA National Conference in Atlanta, set for Oct. 9-11, where it may be used to invite leaders to help expand the understanding of forces driving change in higher education and in culture.

Formally launched at a 1999 White House Conference, IA works to foster and advance publicly engaged scholarship that draws on arts, humanities and design.

The consortium of colleges and universities seeks to catalyze change in campus practices, structures and policies that enable artists and scholars to thrive and contribute to community action and revitalization.

Those interested in attending should register online or email questions to Kevin Bott at Imagining America.