Conferences & Symposia

Vision & Justice

Vision & Justice: A Convening

“Vision & Justice” is a two-day creative convening (April 25–26, 2019) that will consider the role of the arts in understanding the nexus of art, race, and justice.

Schedule

List of Participants

Biographies

#visionandjustice


Registration

Registration for the Thursday, April 25, event has limited capacity. Please click here to register for the lottery for a chance to secure a ticket. The lottery opens on April 10.

Tickets for the three Friday, April 26, sessions (morning program, afternoon program, and evening program) will be handled through the Harvard Box Office. Please click here to be directed to their site. Tickets will be available for Harvard ID holders on April 10 and the general public on April 11.

Harvard Box Office Advance Sales Booth
Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center
1350 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday, noon–6 PM
Phone: 617-496-2222
Customer Inquiry Contact:
tickets@fas.harvard.edu


The event will be webcast live on this page on April 25 and 26. Registration is not required to view the webcast.

How to watch the live webcast


This public event, conceived by Sarah Lewis, an assistant professor of history of art and architecture and of African and African American studies at Harvard University, grows out of the award-winning "Vision & Justice" issue of the photography journal Aperture (May 2016), which she guest edited. The convening is organized around three guiding questions: How is the foundational right of representation in a democracy—the right to be recognized justly—tied to the work of images in the public realm? What is the role of the arts for justice? How have narratives created by culture—the arts, performances, and images—both limited and liberated our definition of national belonging in this digital age?

Cover of the Vision & Justice issue of the photography journal Aperture (May 2016) courtesy of Aperture. Photo: Richard Avedon. Martin Luther King, Jr., civil rights leader, with his father, Martin Luther King, Baptist minister, and his son, Martin Luther King III, Atlanta, Georgia, March 22, 1963 (C) The Richard Avedon FoundationCover of the Vision & Justice issue of the photography journal Aperture (May 2016) courtesy of Aperture. Photo: Richard Avedon. Martin Luther King, Jr., civil rights leader, with his father, Martin Luther King, Baptist minister, and his son, Martin Luther King III, Atlanta, Georgia, March 22, 1963 (C) The Richard Avedon Foundation

The convening takes its conceptual inspiration from Frederick Douglass’s landmark Civil War speech “Pictures and Progress,” about the transformative power of pictures to create a new vision for the nation. In this long-understudied speech, Douglass described a vision of race, citizenship, and image making that he stated might take a century or more to be understood. This “Vision & Justice” convening will focus on both the historic roots and contemporary realities of visual literacy for justice in American—and particularly African American—civic life.

The program will emphasize short presentations with the goal of outlining and catalyzing ideas for future work in art and justice around the country and the world. The sessions will focus on a wide variety of related topics, from “Race, Justice, and the Environment” to “Cultural Narratives and Media.” The program incorporates a range of dynamic speakers and events, including a performance by Carrie Mae Weems; a conversation about Central Park Five, the forthcoming miniseries by Ava DuVernay and Bradford Young, with Henry Louis Gates Jr.; and a performance by Wynton Marsalis. Mona Hanna-Attisha, who discovered the Flint, Michigan, water crisis, will exchange ideas with Chelsea Clinton, and LaToya Ruby Frazier, who used her camera to highlight the injustice on the ground, will show one of her videos. The event culminates on Thursday with the conferral of the inaugural Gordon Parks Foundation Essay Prize and a keynote by the social justice activist Bryan Stevenson on Friday evening.

“Gordon Parks: Selections from the Dean Collection” opens at the Hutchins Center’s Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African & African American Art in tandem with the convening. A public reception takes place on April 26, and the exhibition runs through July 19, 2019.

This public-facing event will convene a large group of prominent activists, academics, artists, and public servants. The event will be streamed live and recorded for later posting online as part of the Radcliffe Institute’s commitment to bringing its programming to audiences around the world.

The event is hosted by the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, with additional major funding from the Ford Foundation, and is cosponsored by the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research, the Harvard Art Museums, and the American Repertory Theater.

#visionandjustice

Advisory Committee

Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alphonse Fletcher Jr. University Professor and director of the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research, Harvard University

Lori Gross, associate provost for arts and culture, Harvard University

Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, Victor S. Thomas Professor of History and of African and African American Studies, Harvard University

Elizabeth Hinton, John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences in the Department History and the Department of African and African American Studies, Harvard University

Robin Kelsey, dean of arts and humanities in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Shirley Carter Burden Professor of Photography, Harvard University

Carrie Lambert-Beatty, professor of visual and environmental studies and of history of art and architecture in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and director of graduate studies in film and visual studies in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University

Sarah Lewis, assistant professor of history of art and architecture and African and African-American studies, Harvard University

Yukio Lippit, professor of history of art and architecture, director of undergraduate studies in the Department of History of Art and Architecture, and Harvard College Professor, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Jennifer L. Roberts, Johnson-Kulukundis Family Faculty Director of the Arts at the Radcliffe Institute and Elizabeth Cary Agassiz Professor of the Humanities in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University

Tommie Shelby, Caldwell Titcomb Professor of African and African American Studies and of Philosophy, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Damian Woetzel, president, the Juilliard School

Schedule

List of Participants

Biographies


Schedule

Information is accurate as of April 17, 2019. There may be adjustments to this schedule, so please consult this page for the most current information.

Thursday, April 25


OPENING PROGRAM: Knafel Center, Radcliffe Institute

1:00 – Welcome Remarks: Dean Tomiko Brown-Nagin

Introduction: Sarah Lewis

Amanda Gorman, video  

Gordon Parks Foundation Essay Prize Presentations: 

Dean Robin Kelsey 

Martha Tedeschi

Kasseem Dean (Swizz Beatz)

Remarks about the Parks Foundation: Peter Kunhardt Jr. 

1:45 – Citizenship and Racial Narratives 

Alexandra BellJelani Cobb, Nicole Fleetwood, and Makeda Best 

Khalil Gibran Muhammad tribute to Jamel Shabazz  
Leigh Raiford tribute to Dawoud Bey   

3:15 – Reading: Elsa Hardy

Introduction: David Adjaye 

3:30 – Originality and Invention 

Carrie Mae Weems, David Adjaye, and Sarah Lewis

4:15 – Break 

4:30 – Performance: Vijay Iyer

Performance: Carrie Mae Weems, Grace Notes: Reflections for Now
Commissioned to commemorate the Emanuel 9  

Concluding Remarks: Dean Lawrence D. Bobo

5:30 – End of program 

Friday, April 26


MORNING SESSION: Sanders Theatre

9:00 – Welcome Remarks: Provost Alan M. Garber 

Darren Walker  

Performance: Musical Opening by Wynton Marsalis    

Cultural Citizenship 
Wynton Marsalis, Diane Paulus, and President Emerita Drew Gilpin Faust

Race, Culture, and Civic Space
Introduction: Dean Mohsen Mostafavi
David Adjaye, Theaster Gates, and Sarah Lewis

10:45 – Break 

11:00  Teju Cole tribute to LaToya Ruby Frazier  

Race, Justice, and the Environment
Focus: Discovering the Flint crisis 
LaToya Ruby Frazier video
Chelsea Clinton and Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha  

Race, Childhood, and Inequality in the Political Realm
Introduction: Dean Claudine Gay 
Robin Bernstein and Naomi Wadler 

Concluding comments: Claudia Rankine

12:30-1:45 – Lunch Break  

AFTERNOON SESSION: Sanders Theatre

2:00 – Hank Willis Thomas interviewed by Cheryl Finley  

Turnaround Arts [White House Program]
Kimberly Drew, Damian Woetzel, and Melody Barnes  

3:15 – Break 

3:30 – Race, Technology and Algorithmic Bias  

Joy BuolamwiniLatanya Sweeney, and Darren Walker

Mass Incarceration and Visual Narratives
Introduction: Tommie Shelby  
Bryan Stevenson, Elizabeth Hinton, and Danielle Allen

5:00 – Concluding Remarks: Vincent Brown

6:00 – Public Reception in the Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African and African American Art, Hutchins Center

“Gordon Parks: Selections from the Dean Collection”

Maurice Berger, consulting curator of the exhibition, will be available in the gallery for one-on-one "talk backs" with guests.

EVENING SESSION: Sanders Theatre

7:30 – Introductions 

Dean Tomiko Brown-Nagin
President Lawrence S. Bacow  
Sarah Lewis 

Vision & Justice Award tributes: 

Sadie Rain Hope-Gund and Catherine Gund tribute to Agnes Gund 

Hank Willis Thomas tribute to Deborah Willis  

Franklin Leonard tribute to Ava DuVernay  

Discussion of When They See Us, a series on the Central Park 5
Ava DuVernay and Henry Louis Gates Jr. 

9:00 – Keynote Introduction: Elizabeth Alexander 

Closing Keynote: Bryan Stevenson 

Conference Close: Sarah Lewis 


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Participants

David Adjaye, architect and principal, Adjaye Associates

Elizabeth Alexander, poet, educator, memoirist, scholar, and arts activist; chancellor, Academy of American Poets; president, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Danielle Allen, James Bryant Conant University Professor and director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, Harvard University

Lawrence S. Bacow, president, Harvard University

Melody C. Barnes, distinguished fellow at the School of Law, Compton Visiting Professor in World Politics and senior fellow at the Miller Center, and codirector for policy and public affairs for the Democracy Initiative, University of Virginia

Alexandra Bell, multidisciplinary artist

Maurice Berger, research professor and chief curator, Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Robin Bernstein, Dillon Professor of American History and professor of African and African American studies and of studies of women, gender, & sexuality, Harvard University

Makeda Best, Richard L. Menschel Curator of Photography, Harvard Art Museums, and lecturer on history of art and architecture, Harvard University 

Lawrence D. Bobo, dean of social sciences, Harvard College Professor, and W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of the Social Sciences, Harvard University

Vincent Brown, Charles Warren Professor of History and professor of African and African American studies, Harvard University

Tomiko Brown-Nagin, dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Daniel P.S. Paul Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School, and professor of history in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University

Joy Buolamwini, founder, Algorithmic Justice League

Chelsea Clinton, vice chair, Clinton Foundation

Jelani Cobb, Ira A. Lipman Professor of Journalism, Columbia University; staff writer, New Yorker

Teju Cole, photography critic, New York Times Magazine; Gore Vidal Professor of the Practice of Creative Writing, Harvard University

Kasseem Dean (Swizz Beatz), record producer, rapper, and DJ

Kimberly Drew, writer, curator, and activist

Ava DuVernay, writer, director, producer, and film distributor

Michael Famighetti, editor, Aperture magazine

Drew Gilpin Faust, president emeritus, Harvard University

Cheryl Finley, associate professor of art history, Cornell University

Nicole R. Fleetwood, associate professor of American studies and graduate faculty in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey

LaToya Ruby Frazier, photographer; video artist; and associate professor of photography, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Alan M. Garber, provost, Harvard University; Mallinckrodt Professor of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School; professor of economics, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences; professor of public policy, Harvard Kennedy School of Government; and professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alphonse Fletcher Jr. University Professor and director of the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research, Harvard University

Theaster Gates, founder and executive director, Rebuild Foundation; inaugural distinguished artist in residence and director of artist initiatives, Lunder Institute for American Art; professor, Department of Visual Arts, the University of Chicago

Claudine Gay, Edgerley Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Wilbur A. Cowett Professor of Government and of African and African American Studies, Harvard University

Amanda Gorman, National Youth Poet Laureate

Agnes Gund, philanthropist and art collector; founder, Art for Justice Fund; president emerita, Museum of Modern Art

Catherine Gund, producer, director, writer, and activist; founder and director, Aubin Pictures

Mona Hanna-Attisha, assistant professor of pediatrics and human development and founder and director of the Michigan State University–Hurley Children's Hospital Pediatric Public Health Initiative, Michigan State University

Elizabeth Hinton, John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences in the Department History and the Department of African and African American Studies, Harvard University

Sadie Rain Hope-Gund, photographer and writer

Vijay Iyer, composer and pianist; Franklin D. and Florence Rosenblatt Professor of the Arts in the Department of Music and Department of African and African American Studies, Harvard University

Robin Kelsey, dean of arts and humanities in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Shirley Carter Burden Professor of Photography, Harvard University

Peter W. Kunhardt Jr., executive director, The Gordon Parks Foundation

Franklin Leonard, film executive; founder, the Black List

Sarah Lewis, assistant professor of history of art and architecture and African and African-American studies, Harvard University

Wynton Marsalis, musician, composer, and bandleader; managing and artistic director, Jazz at Lincoln Center

Mohsen Mostafavi, dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Design and Alexander and Victoria Wiley Professor of Design, Harvard University

Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Suzanne Young Murray Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and professor of history, race, and public policy at Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard University

Diane Paulus, Terrie and Bradley Bloom Artistic Director of the American Repertory Theater and professor of the practice of theatre in the Department of English, Harvard University

Leigh Raiford, associate professor and H. Michael and Jeanne Williams Chair of African American Studies, University of California, Berkeley

Claudia Rankine, poet; chancellor, Academy of American Poets; Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry, Yale University

Tommie Shelby, Caldwell Titcomb Professor of African and African American Studies and of Philosophy, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director, Equal Justice Initiative; professor of clinical law, New York University

Latanya Sweeney, professor of government and technology in residence, Department of Government, Harvard University

Martha Tedeschi, Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director, Harvard Art Museums

Hank Willis Thomas, conceptual artist

Naomi Wadler, activist

Darren Walker, president, Ford Foundation

Carrie Mae Weems, artist

Deborah Willis, university professor and chair of the Department of Photography and Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts and director of the Institute of African American Affairs, New York University

Damian Woetzel, president, the Juilliard School

 

Biographies


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