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Emory community invited to Twin Memorials design sessions this month
Emory Gate

“We are ready to take it all in,” say Robert Burack and Toni Wynn about their imminent return to campus in association with the Twin Memorials project. The two are facilitators for Brocade Studio, which is working with the design firm Baskervill to conduct listening sessions this month on Emory’s two campuses and in the Atlanta and Covington communities. Eight sessions are slated for Sept. 12-15.

In June 2021, President Gregory L. Fenves charged the Twin Memorials Working Group — co-chaired by Carol Henderson, Molly McGehee 07PhD and Gregory C. Ellison II 99C — with designing and constructing twin memorials to honor the enslaved individuals and their descendants who lived and worked on Emory’s original campus, which is now Oxford College. Having two memorials is a means of articulating and interconnecting the shared histories of the Atlanta and Oxford campuses.

In spring 2022, more than 225 community members were part of 18 sessions, both virtual and in person, looking back at Emory’s history with regard to enslavement and forward to the Twin Memorials planned for the two campuses. 

“There was a lot of engagement from both campuses, and we welcome back those we met in the spring. But, equally, we extend an invitation to those who have not been part of the work thus far,” notes Burack.

Thoughtful partners in advancing the conversation

Burack founded Brocade Studio in 2016 to offer facilitation, strategy and interpretive planning services to nonprofits, universities and governmental agencies. He sees facilitation, the kind of work that his team is doing for Emory, as the practice of moving groups through a process or experience in a manner that encourages collaboration.

Big challenges motivate him — like the lead contamination in the water in his former town of Flint, Michigan. Ensuring that government lives up to its promise of promoting the public good is a problem he addressed through local action and by joining the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University’s Kennedy School, where he worked with cities to apply human-centered design and analytic principles to address pressing social issues and transform the way government delivers services.

For her part, Wynn has a background in facilitation, exhibit development, activism and arts education. She is also a trained conflict manager and a poet. Her three collections were published by Shakespeare Press Museum. As she thinks about a return to Emory, where her daughter is an alumna, she says, “I am looking forward to it as much as anyone else. To be a part of the community that is making this profound change and helping Emory and Oxford create a new relationship is special.” 

What to expect at the upcoming sessions 

In two-hour sessions open to all community members and running from Sept. 12 through Sept. 15, participants will have the opportunity to comment on more than two dozen design concepts as well as learn more about the possible sites for the memorials on the two campuses. 

As was the case in the spring, the Rev. Dr. Avis Williams 78Ox 98C 08T 18T will be on hand to provide the history lesson that she issued so powerfully in the previous sessions. Born and raised in Covington, Williams is a descendant of enslaved forebears who lived and worked in Oxford and Covington as well as one of the earliest African American graduates of Oxford College. In addition to being a member of the Twin Memorials Working Group, she also serves as the community liaison to Baskervill.

Burt Pinnock, the principal at Baskervill and the primary design consultant working with Emory, will present the designs along with members of his team. 

According to Pinnock, “We have crafted a ‘collective design narrative’ based on all the key takeaways from the spring engagement sessions. The design concepts we will present are variations on responses to the narrative. In the upcoming sessions, we want to workshop them with participants and ask, ‘What resonates with you? How can we refine, adjust and reach a consensus on what represents the spirit of Emory's Twin Memorials?’”

Burack points out that it will not be a matter of “choosing among” the slate of designs. Instead, after gathering feedback from the sessions, the designers will respond with final iterations in meetings that will take place later this fall. 

All of the concepts community members will encounter in these September sessions represent multiple voices and perspectives. In turn, these upcoming meetings will generate more feedback. Everyone will be heard and no one will be overwritten. The final product will be the voice of many, which in itself is imbued with a remarkable energy,” says Wynn. 

How do these designs speak to one another? How does one campus speak to another? What do you want to see? Are you seeing it? The Baskervill and Brocade teams will take careful notes in answer to questions like these. Members of the Twin Memorials Working Group also will attend. 

“Mark your calendars. This is all still malleable. We will be responsive to everyone’s voices,” promises Burack.

RSVPs are not required but will be appreciated. Register here. 



Monday, Sept. 12, 1:30-3:30 p.m.

Oxford College Student Center


Monday, Sept. 12, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Oxford College Student Center


Tuesday, Sept. 13, 1:30–3:30 p.m.

Oxford College Student Center


Tuesday, Sept. 13, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Mt. Zion Baptist Church

100 West Richardson Street

Oxford, GA 30054



Wednesday, Sept. 14, 1:30–3:30 p.m.

Emory University Student Center


Wednesday, Sept. 14, 5:30–7:30 p.m.

Emory University Student Center


Thursday, Sept. 15, Noon-2:00 p.m.

Ebenezer Baptist Church

101 Jackson Street NE

Atlanta, GA 30312


Thursday, Sept. 15, 4:30–6:30 p.m.

The Hatchery at Emory Point

1578 Avenue Place 


Atlanta, GA 30329

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