Campus Hosts Imagining America Conference

The 17th annual Imagining America conference will be held at UC Davis this Thursday through Saturday (Oct. 12-14), the first time that the conference will be held here, coming after the national organization moved its headquarters to our campus over the summer.

Imagining America, and its conference, embody much of what UC Davis has long embraced: interdisciplinary cooperation that is transformed into community action. Participants and attendees from around the world will learn from one another how arts, humanities and design are being leveraged for community projects and activities locally, regionally and nationally.

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The conference program includes more than 50 panel discussions, site-specific workshops, dance and spoken-word poetry presentations, interactive activities and visual arts — with many of the events running concurrently. Topics are as diverse as tribal advocacy and environmental racism, and the the conference will spotlight activities underway across the country, from Sacramento to Kentucky.

Highlights include:

  • TUBMAN, a one-woman show in which Harriet Tubman is reimagined as a young woman growing up in Harlem. To be presented on the conference’s opening night.
  • 10 site visits, including to UC Davis’ Knights Landing One Health Clinic; Student Farm; arboretum; and Taller Arte del Nuevo Amanecer, or TANA, community art workshop in Woodland.
  • A public event with free admission this Friday (Oct. 13), 5 to 6:30 p.m., at the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art, featuring creative and interactive presentations and installations addressing such issues as climate change, local histories and community problem solving. The program also includes a live Cal Ag Roots podcast: “There’s Nothing More Californian Than Ketchup,” about the invention of ketchup. (Hint: UC Davis had something to do with it.)

More than 400 publicly engaged artists, designers, scholars, students and community workers are registered to attend. Presenters include UC Davis’ Malaquias Montoya, professor, muralist and TANA director; and Erica Kohl-Arenas, professor of American studies, and faculty director of Imagining America. Montoya and other TANA personnel will give tours and present a video, “Silk Screening as a Political Movement.”

More information is available on the conference website. It includes links for registration and the conference schedule.

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Karen Nikos-Rose, 530-219-5472,

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