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Lecture Series

The Common Ground: Artists Reimagining Community multi-part transdisciplinary lecture series pairs an artist and researcher in conversation to discuss concepts of “community” from their disciplines. Future spring semester 2021 discussions include panels on urban redevelopment, sex workers, and autism. Adjunct Visual Art Department professor Jennifer Vanderpool, Ph.D. created the programming for these lectures in conjunction with the exhibition. Inspired by mutual aid societies, Vanderpool integrated the participatory strategies of social practice art that organizes communities in debate and collaboration with curatorial activism approaches to develop Common Ground: Artists Reimagining Community. You can see upcoming events and archived recordings below.

Memories of Home: Memorial, Meaning, and Filmmaking

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This conversation pairs Atlanta-based documentary filmmaker djones in dialogue with Dr. James E. Young, Distinguished Professor Emeritus and Founding Director of the Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. They will discuss djones’ film 631, 2008, which documents his family’s stories through their ownership and struggles to maintain a multigenerational home in Youngstown, Ohio. Employing the film’s visual narrative as a lens, the panelists will address the intersections of personal narrative and how these shared private stories inform public socio-cultural discussions and understanding of memory and memorializing events.

View this archived lecture here.

NOTE: We recommend viewing djones’ 9 minute film 631 prior to the discussion. It is available free here.

Kindness and Aging with Jane Callister and Dr. Lené Levy-Storms

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Kindness and Aging pairs Artist and UC Santa Barbara Art Department Professor Jane Callister in conversation with Dr. Lené Levy-Storms, Hartford Faculty Scholar Departments of Social Welfare and Medicine/Geriatrics, Bedari Kindness Institute, UC Los Angeles. They will discuss concepts of kindness and its implementation in our communal world. Callister will address “kindness” as a theme in contemporary art practices and her new body of work It Started with a Crocofish created in collaboration with her father. Levy-Storms’ research addresses the role “kindness” as it intersects with modes of communication and caregiving to older adults living with Alzheimer’s and chronic disease and optimizing urban spaces for the well-being of the low-income community elders.

View this archived lecture here.

To see the videos mentioned by Dr. Levy-Storms in the lecture, please follow the links below:

Memories That Aren’t Ours: Experimental Films from Atlanta

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NOTE: We recommend watching the panelists’ short films prior to the lecture (though it won’t be necessary to enjoy the conversation). Their works can be seen here: Zameh Omonuwa Hood. (4:55 min) and Yusef  Ferguson Rebellion in the Valley (5:44 min). Film contains violence and language, may not be suitable for all audiences.     


Atlanta-based filmmakers Zameh Omonuwa and Yusef Ferguson will discuss their films exhibited in the exhibit Common Ground: Artists Reimagining Community. Omonuwa describes her film Hood. as “an experimental work that follows a White teen and a Black teen as they transfer consciousness by putting on an enchanted hood, and dives into the Black teen’s trauma, fears, hope, and wonder.” Ferguson’s film Rebellion in the Valley interweaves his grandfather’s stories about the Black LA art and film scenes in the 1970s with his intention of honoring filmmakers from this period, beginning with the 1965 Watts Riot.

View this archived lecture here. 

Framing Architecture and Reimagining Communities

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The CLU Galleries are excited to host an engaging discussion between an artist, a sociologist, and an urban planner to collectively examine the framing of communities through architecture, laws (written and unspoken), visual culture, urban planning, and more. Panelists will explore ways our living, working, and recreational spaces are approached, and imagine methods in which we might redefine constructs that delimit what communities are, and how we can pivot to opportunities fostering growth. Panelists include Arnold Tunstall, Director of the University Galleries at the Myers School of Art, at the University of Akron; Dr. Kelly Kinahan, Assistant Professor in the Department of Urban and Public Affairs at the University of Louisville, and Dr. Cynthia V. Duarte, Director of the Sarah W. Heath Center for Equality and Justice and Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology at Cal Lutheran.

View this archived lecture here. 

Autism Spectrum: Representation and Perception


This conversation pairs Los Angeles-based artist Deborah Martin in conversation with Dr. Emma Salzman, Assistant Clinical Professor at UC San Francisco Center for ASD & NDDs. Employing Deborah’s painting series “Portraits of Autism,” which seeks to create social awareness of children and adults on the Autistic spectrum as a starting point, the panelists will discuss public representations and perceptions of autism, support systems available, and the evolving sociocultural understanding of autism. Because this talk is cross-disciplinary, panelists will be looking at, and discussing, autism from different lenses, including using the language and concepts of their respective fields.

View this more on the event here.

Sex Work and Visual Culture 

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Employing artist Christopher Mason’s photographs of sex workers in Cleveland and communities in Northeast Ohio as a starting point, the panelists will discuss social practice photography, public representations and perceptions of sex workers, voyeurism, and sex workers’ labor and humanitarian rights. This conversation panel includes Dr. Barbara Tannenbaum, who is Chair of the Prints, Drawings, and Photographs and Curator of Photography at the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland-based photographer Christopher Mason, and Dr. Penelope Saunders, who is the Executive Director of the Best Practices Policy Project, a national policy platform dedicated to the health and rights of sex workers.

View this archived lecture here 

My Little Narrative: Artist Talk with Walpa D’Mark

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In this lecture artist Walpa D'Mark discusses Postmodernism and how it relates to his art. He states, "Postmodernism has many tenets; I am interested in multiculturalism and the death of the Metanarrative. Since we live in a pluralistic society, and our collective identity is made up of many little narratives, or as Jean-François Lyotard called Petit Recits, it is important for individuals to understand their own personal stories and to add to the broad discourse. I will be talking about my petit recit and will explain how I came to my narratives, and why this process is important." 

View this archived lecture here.  

To read more information about these lectures visit the Common Ground Events Page.

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