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10 things to do at Emory in January
Vega Quartet

The new year is just getting underway, but the January calendar is full of activities to enjoy around Emory. One highlight will be a concert celebrating Lunar New Year on Jan. 22 with the Vega Quartet.

— Fernando Decillis

The new year is just getting underway, but Emory campuses are already busy with events. Here’s a sampling of activities you can enjoy this month, many of which are free.


1. Cheer on Emory athletic teams.

Celebrate Emory athletes during Champions Weekend WinterFest Jan. 1315, a three-day event chock full of women’s and men’s swimming, diving and basketball action. All competitions are at the Woodruff P.E. Center. 

Basketball season continues through the month with additional home games set for the Oxford men’s team and the women’s and men’s teams on the Atlanta campus. The women’s and men’s swimming and diving teams conclude their regular home seasons with Senior Day on Saturday, Jan. 21. 

All Emory Athletics events are free.


2. Observe the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

Emory will honor the memory of Martin Luther King Jr. with multiple activities in January. Both the Atlanta and Oxford campuses will host a “day on” with service projects on the official MLK holiday on Monday, Jan. 16. 

Other highlights of the week include: 

  • A viewing and discussion of the documentary “I, Too,” from Carol Anderson, Emory’s Charles Howard Candler Professor of African American Studies
  • Oxford College’s celebration of the life of Martin Luther King Jr. with keynote speaker Marla Frederick, Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Religion and Culture at Emory’s Candler School of Theology
  • A lecture and book signing (“Call My Lawyer: Fred Gray and Civil Rights Lawyering in the African American Freedom Struggle”) with civil rights attorney and former legislator Fred Gray 
  • The 2023 MLK Jr. Day Lecture with keynote speaker Janai Nelson of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund 

View Emory’s full King Week 2023 schedule.


3. Satisfy your musical tastes. 

Emory’s Schwartz Center for Performing Arts plays host to multiple musicians in January. 

First up are jazz musicians Fred Hersch and esperanza spalding on Thursday, Jan. 19, at 8 p.m. The piano/vocalist duo’s performance celebrates music from their album “Alive at the Village Vanguard” in an evening featuring songs from the Great American Songbook, music from Brazil and new jazz compositions. 

That weekend, one of the world’s preeminent wind players — clarinetist David Shifrin — joins the Vega Quartet and pianist William Ransom for a performance of Rebecca Clarke’s Duo; Brahms’ Sonata in F Minor, and Mozart’s celebrated Quintet for Clarinet and Strings. The free program is Saturday, Jan. 21, at 8 p.m. 

The first installment of the popular Cooke Noontime Concert Series for 2023 features violinist Itamar Zorman with pianist Liza Stepanova. Their performance at noon on Friday, Jan. 27, is presented by the Emory Chamber Music Society of Atlanta. 


4. Connect creativity and history. 

On Sunday, Jan. 22, at 2 p.m., have some creative fun during the “Rattle, Rattle, Shake, Shake: Make a Sistrum” workshop at the Carlos Museum. Museum educator Alice Vogler will teach about sistrums (a hand-held percussion instrument that originated in ancient Egypt and was often played by priestesses in honor of Isis) and participants will have the chance to make their own. The program is designed for children ages 8-12.


5. Read and discuss a book. 

The popular Carlos Reads book program through the Carlos Museum begins its 2023 selections with “Tomb of Sand,” written by Geetangjali Shree and translated by Daisy Rockwell. 

On two Monday evenings — Jan. 23 and 30 — Emory professor of English Deepika Bahri leads readers through the 2022 Booker Prize-winning novel. Discussions will be at 7:30 p.m. in the Carlos Museum’s board room. 


6. Visualize the future through dance. 

staibdance — an Atlanta-based contemporary dance company founded by Emory dance professor George Staib and others — embarks on a futuristic journey into the matter of becoming. When life forces alter paths, plans and projections, what happens when one faces new terrains and the opportunity for reinvention? “ARARAT, the beginning” is a work that asks audiences to consider the countenance of the human spirit. If all things are new, how important is the old?

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26, Friday, Jan. 27, and Saturday, Jan. 28, at the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts. 


7. Learn something new through expert lectures. 

January brings the chance to learn about international cultures through two special programs. 

In a lecture titled “The Ancient Maya: (Not a) Lost Civilization,” Megan O’Neil, assistant professor of art history at Emory, discusses her new book in the Reaktion Books Lost Civilization series, “The Maya,” in which she demonstrates that this remarkable culture is anything but lost. The free online program is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 19, at 7:30 p.m. 

Learn more about Buddha’s life story on Sunday, Jan. 29, during a 2 p.m. lecture at the Carlos Museum and online. In “The Vow that Began the Buddha’s Path to Awakening,” Andy Rotman, Sydenham Clark Parsons Professor in the Department of Religion at Smith College, discusses why the story of Prince Gautama’s vow that he would one day become a buddha was so popular and what it tells us about the Buddha’s biography. 


8. Celebrate Lunar New Year. 

Mark the beginning of Lunar New Year with a special concert on Sunday, Jan. 22, at 4 p.m. The Carlos Museum and the Emory Chamber Music Society of Atlanta celebrate the Year of the Rabbit with classical music performed by the Vega Quartet and Chinese traditional music performed on the guzheng (Chinese zither) and bamboo flute by Yao Lu. The performance will be in Ackerman Hall at the Carlos Museum and is free. 


9. Delve into contemporary questions of race and difference.

The Race and Difference Colloquium Series, a weekly event through Emory’s James Weldon Johnson Institute, features local and national speakers presenting academic research on contemporary questions of race and intersecting dimensions of difference. 

The 2023 series begins with Dennis Tyler of Fordham University as he presents “The Problem of the Color Line in the Age of COVID-19” on Monday, Jan. 23. Then on Monday, Jan. 30, Akira Drake Rodriguez of the University of Pennsylvania will address “What is Our City Doing for Us?: Placing Collective Care into Atlanta’s Post-Public Housing Movements.”

All series presentations are at noon in the Robert W. Woodruff Library’s Jones Room and are free.


10. Join the climate conversation. 

Emory students, faculty and staff members are invited to share perspectives on the university’s climate action plan through a series of sessions called “Community Conversations: Emory Talks Climate Action.” Sponsored by Emory’s Office of Sustainability Initiatives, the first session for spring semester is Wednesday, Jan. 25, at 11 a.m. in the Grace Crum Rollins Building (Rita Ann Rollins Room).

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