Join the Lender Center Conversation: “Creative Activity as a Human Right”



For James Haywood Rolling Jr. ’91, the next “Creative activity as a human right” event has been in the works for two months but has been in the works for decades.

James Haywood Rolling Jr.

Rolling, a dual professor of arts education at the College of Visual and Performing Arts and teaching and leadership at the School of Education, is the new co-director of the Lender Center for Social Justice. Marvin Lender ’63 and his wife, Helaine Gold Lender ’65, created the interdisciplinary Lender Center to fulfill their ongoing mission of developing ethical and courageous citizens.

The center provides research support, faculty and student scholarships, and symposia such as the upcoming Nov. 11 Lender Center conversation, which this fall focuses on the theme “Creative Activity as a Right of the man ”who was first featured in a special issue of Art Journal of Education that Rolling published in July 2017, while he was the newspaper’s editor.

Art Education is the official journal of the National Art Education Association, which Rolling is currently heading towards its 75th anniversary next year as president of the organization. As he reflected on this issue in 2017, two main questions crossed his mind.

“What would it mean for artists, art and design educators, and artistic institutions to reconceptualize creative activity as a universal and inalienable human right? Roller said. “How could this change the way we think about visual arts and design in practice and in education? “

These questions will be at the heart of “Creative Activity as a Human Right”, which is co-sponsored by Hendricks Chapel and the Humanities Center. The public is invited to attend. Register for the virtual event “Creative activity as a human right”.

The event will feature “interdisciplinary artists, activists and educators with expertise in the arts, humanities and social sciences coming together to examine what it might mean to rethink creativity as a universal and inalienable human right. , a remedy for complicated stories of inhumanity and recklessness, and a form of emancipating and emancipating social intelligence.

Journal of Arts EducationThe event features keynote speaker Amelia Kraehe, panel discussions and a spotlight conversation with famous contemporary artists, Helen Zughaib ’81 and varsity artist-in-residence Carrie Mae Weems. Registration is required to attend the virtual event.

Rolling has spent his entire career as an educator focused on developing the next generation of diverse and creative leaders who travel obvious paths they didn’t know at first they could lead the way. Here is what he says about the story of “Creative Activity as a Human Right”:

“Social justice has a long history in the arts and education. As WEB Du Bois, Alain LeRoy Locke, John Dewey, Maxine Greene, bell hooks and other pioneers of emancipatory philosophy have understood, there is an essential relationship between participation in creative cultural production and the construction of a free society. and democratic.

“Creative activity opens up alternative possibilities for thinking, feeling and doing. In its most hopeful form, it allows us to adapt, connect, connect, join forces and pool our resources in new ways so that we are all less alone, less vulnerable. and less incapable.

“Creative activity and invention have been the collective fuel necessary for human survival, the evolution of social relationships and our creative leaps as a civilization along the way. Indeed, repressive social systems are quite effective, at least in part, as they restrict creative activity as an agency to define individual identity while limiting and controlling access to the formation of cultural content and currency.

As the Lender Center formalized the event’s plans and lined up its distinguished panelists, Rolling posed the following key questions to all attendees and audiences:

  • What happens when we boldly proclaim that creative activity – or creativity, for short – is a human right, and not just a privilege?
  • How do avenues of creative response open up space for individual fulfillment and higher achievement, interrupting systems and structures of social inequity?
  • What are the benefits of focusing our art and design practices and cultural creation through a social justice lens?
  • What research, philosophies and practice-based stories help animate a human rights discourse that promotes creative and critical citizenship for the public good?
  • What practical educational tactics and partnership strategies are essential to promote an ecosystem of creative activity, education and social entrepreneurship focused on equity?
  • How can we better coordinate our commitments to creative activity as a tool for self-actualization and response to generational and collective trauma, especially within marginalized and underfunded local communities as we enter the world? post-pandemic era?

Here is the schedule for the Lender’s Center for Social Justice conversation “Creative Activity as a Human Right” on November 11:

Amelia Kraehe

Keynote speaker Amelia Kraehe

  • Keynote and Q&A, 1 p.m. to 2:15 p.m.. : Opening the day with a talk titled “Joy, Justice and the Creative Future,” the keynote speaker is Amelia Kraehe, Senior Associate Vice President for Equity in the Arts for Arizona Arts at the University of Arizona. She is also the co-founder and co-director of the university’s Racial Justice Studio, which serves as a transdisciplinary incubator for the study and practice of intersectional anti-racism in and through the arts.
  • Roundtable on equity, 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.: The panel of national leaders in art and design education includes Kraehe; Injeong Yoon-Ramirez, Assistant Professor with Arts Education and Affiliate Professor of Gender Studies at the University of Arkansas; Sara Scott Shields and Rachel Fendler, associate professors in the arts education department at Florida State University; and Shyla Rao, principal of the City Neighbors Hamilton K-8 Charter School in Baltimore City Public Schools.

Rolling will moderate this discussion.

  • Roundtable with local creative leaders on youth and civic engagement, 4:15 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.: The panel discussion with local creative leaders includes Cjala Surratt, member of the equity and engagement committee of the Everson Museum of Art, member of the board of directors of the Community Folk Art Center and communications coordinator of Light Work; Sarah Gentile, Director of Fine Arts for the West Genesee School District and former Fine Arts Supervisor for the City of Syracuse School District; Kimberly McCoy, Community Engagement Organizer at ArtRage Gallery; and Rochele Royster, assistant professor of art therapy in the Department of Creative Arts Therapy at Syracuse University and former learning behavior specialist for Chicago public schools.

Tanisha Jackson, Practice Professor in African American Studies and Executive Director of the Community Folk Art Center at Syracuse University, will moderate this discussion.

  • Flagship event, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.: A candid conversation between leading contemporary artists Carrie Mae Weems and Helen Zughaib. Weems is an American artist working in text, fabric, audio, digital images and installation video who is best known for her photography. Zughaib is a Lebanese American painter and multimedia artist who graduated from Syracuse University in 1981 and now lives and works in Washington, DC
    Carrie Mae Weems, Artist in Residence at Syracuse University

    Carrie Mae Weems, Artist in Residence at Syracuse University

Kendall Phillips, Co-Director of the Lender Center and Professor of Communication and Rhetorical Studies at the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University, will moderate this discussion.

Throughout the day, a series of small original drawings on the human condition by American Jewish artist Audrey Frank Anastasi will be presented. His three-year study of refugees across groups of people, man-made crises, wars, persecution and social trauma offers a profound visual argument for why creative activity is essential in the fight against the acts of inhumanity that have erased and displaced so many lives.


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