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University Hour

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Wednesdays, 3-4 p.m


  • February 10, 2021

    Dismantling & Decolorizing the Arts: An Undoing of Racist Systems in Arts and Cultural Institutions

    Adriane Jefferson, executive director of the Department of Cultural Affairs for the City of New Haven, will discuss her work to improve diversity and cultural equity in opportunity and representation in arts and cultural institutions in New Haven. Jefferson has spent much of her career working to provide opportunities in the arts for the underrepresented. She has worked to confront racial implicit bias and on dismantling systems of racism, especially in the arts, including the creation of “The Arts for Anti-Racism pledge.”

    Contact: Brian Day,

    February 17, 2021

    New Beginnings: Justice Alternatives Through the Arts

    Judy Dworin will discuss her innovative arts outreach for women at York Correctional Institution and men at Cybulski Community Reintegration Center, and for individuals returning from York and Cybulski to their communities. She will reflect on how this work informs a different perspective on who is behind bars, examining the positive changes that can and do occur, and supporting a rehabilitative and strengths-based approach to incarceration and reentry. This workshop will show how to bring the authentic voices and real-life experiences of women and men from prison to the stage, integrating movement, spoken word and song to examine the choices and twists of fate leading to incarceration.

    Contact: Theresa Severance,

    February 24, 2021

    Karen Finley: A Heroine of Performance Art

    In this collaborative project with the Eastern Theatre Department, renowned performance artist Karen Finley will participate in the Eastern art exhibition in spring 2021. Finley also has agreed to be in residency Feb. 16-18 to work with students in Professor James Holland’s Experimental Theatre class. Her focus on issues of power inequities, race, ethnicity and gender are relevant to all academic disciplines.

    Contact: Yulia Tikhonova,

  • March 3, 2021

    Growing Their Own: Lessons from Community-Driven, Feminist Technology Design

    Transformative fandom, a longstanding, technology-agnostic community of content creators, remixers and fans, serves as an example of how technology can empower marginalized communities. For example, “Archive of Our Own,” a fanfiction repository with millions of users and works, was developed entirely by the community it serves, with a focus on representing the values of that community in its design and policies. This talk by Casey Fiesler traces the growth and features of the archive, including grassroots development and values-based, feminist design, and also considers more generally computational projects in fandom that provide lessons for inclusive, feminist design and ways to engage underrepresented groups in computing.

    Contact: Sukeshini Grandhi,

    March 10, 2021

    The Radical Power of Children’s Books: The responsibility of truth-telling in children’s literature

    The #weneeddiverse movement in children’s literature exposed institutional racism in the industry and spurred change the children’s book market. With an influx of diverse books for young readers being published, the community is at a nexus point — to welcome new voices, prioritize OwnVoices, and shift who gets to be the hero. But change isn’t comfortable. Dhonielle Clayton, author and COO of the non-profit We Need Diverse Books, will discuss the responsibilities of scholars and writers to be beacons of truth for all readers.

    Contact: Lisa Fraustino,

Campus Map & Directions
The Paul E. Johnson Sr. Community Conference Room is on the second floor of the J. Eugene Smith Library
The Theatre and Betty R. Tipton Room are on the upper level of the Student Center
The Science Building Auditorium is in Room 104 of the Science Building