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The Ruby is a catalyst for creativity and a home for making art at Duke.
Date & Time
September 14, 2019 at 10:00 am9:00 pm
Free; only one workshop requires registration. Visit event website for the most up-to-date info.
Rubenstein Arts Center & Venues Around Durham

Three days of exchanges and social research in North Carolina’s Triangle and Triad.

For a full decade, Open Engagement has brought together artists, activists, and scholars for an intensive yearly conference in a wide range of cities like New York, Chicago, Oakland, Portland, and Regina. Founded by artists and characterized by its grassroots self-organization, OE has stood out as a key context for socially engaged practitioners and theorists alike. Participants have ranged from the local to the international, including people like Angela Davis, Suzanne Lacy, Lucy Lippard, Mel Chin, Rick Lowe, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, J. Morgan Puett, Tom Finkelpearl, Claire Doherty, Michael Rakowitz, Pablo Helguera, Paul Ramirez Jonas, Emily Jacir, Julie Ault, and Theaster Gates.

As part of Open Engagement’s research year to re-assess its future and evaluate the needs of the field, they will be hosted in the NC Triangle and Triad (Sep 13–15, 2019) by the FHI Social Practice Lab at Duke, UNC Greensboro, UNC Chapel Hill, and various local organizations. The OE team will keynote the weekend, sharing their trajectory and making space for conversations on local needs, followed by an emergent strategy training. Led by Alexis Pauline Gumbs to assist in thinking about possible futures, the training is based on the work of adrienne maree brown and has been arranged with the Emergent Strategy Institute (ESII). North Carolina partners will present a series of programs and events highlighting the work of socially engaged artists, activists, students, scholars, community members, as well as organizations working within the area. This event has been organized by Pedro Lasch (Duke) and Lee Walton (UNC-G), in collaboration with all listed individuals and groups.

Durham Schedule Sat, Sep 14

Rubenstein Arts Center, 10am–3pm

  • 10am–12pm: Keynote with Open Engagement Team (Jen Delos Reyes, Crystal Baxley, Latham Zearfoss)
    Opening remarks by Chris Vitiello
  • 12–1pm: Enjoy Lunch & Current Exhibitions
    Free lunch for all, with time to view the exhibitions queerXscape by Sinan Goknar and Max Symuleski (first floor, Murthy Agora 129) and Who Owns Poverty in Mexico? by Daniel Aguilar Ruvalcaba (second floor, Ruby Gallery 235)
  • 1–3pm: Parallel Workshops—please choose one to attend.
    Parliament, a participatory work with Michael Klien (open to all)
    Art & Gerrymandering, a workshop/conversation with Tommy DeFrantz and Jina Valentine (open to all)
    Daniel Ruvalcaba and Ana Neri, “A Talk About Turtles, Part 2″ (open to all)
    Emergent Strategy Training with Alexis Pauline Gumbs (1-4pm, registration required. Limited capacity, readings are required. To register, send an email to

Nasher Museum of Art, 3–4pm

The Carrack, 4:30–6:30pm

  • “Alternate Visions & Counter Institutions,” roundtable conversation facilitated by Courtney Reid-Eaton with Saba Taj, Heather Cook, Ann Woodward, Pierce Freelon, and Monét Marshall

The Fruit, 7–9pm ($10 ticket at the door)

Special thanks all participants and co-organizers, as well as Laura Ritchie, Quran Karriem, Adam Carlin, Sunny Spillane, Amy Russell, and Emily Ensminger. In addition to the above listed host organizations, Emergent Futures has been made possible through the generous support of UNC-Greensboro School of Art, Carolina Performing Arts, and Duke University’s Provost, Vice Provost for the Arts, Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies, Global Affairs, Arts & Sciences Dean, Humanities Dean, Dean of Academic Affairs, Franklin Humanities Institute, the Department of Art, Art History, and Visual Studies, and the Biddle Fund.

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