Lecture: “Critical Futures: Reimagining Academia’s Relevance through Speculative Inquiry, Action, and Futurity”

On February 22, Dr. Amber Johnson will join the Brown Symposium for a lecture on the future of academic work. Their talk will accompany other speakers and events at the symposium that explore how art from the past and present challenges political oppression, cultural marginalization, and social inequity — additionally exploring the transformational capacity of art to protest injustice and imagine a better world.

Symposium Dates: February 21st-23rd

Theme: “RADICAL IMAGINATION: Art & Social Change”

Theme Overview: Revolution, rebellion, and resistance are moments which offer access to what we might call the radical imagination. The radical imagination is a place which reflects our hopes, dreams, and desires; anger, resentment, and grievance; fears, commitments, and passions, often in daring acts of bricolage. Perhaps nothing offers us an entry point to this combination of creative friction, engagement and entanglement more than art. As a form of symbolic politics, art can challenge our perceptions, reveal uncomfortable truths, and stir us to action. Through its affective and aesthetic appeal, art can move viewers and empower communities. It proffers spaces and places of possibility, imagining the impossible as a critical practice of hope. Cultural critique plays an essential role in naming socio-political problems and refusing an unjust status quo. But there is also always the question of what comes next? What other worlds are possible? How do we envision and articulate an elsewhere?

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