RADICAL IMAGINATION: Art & Social Change

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?

This symposium includes speakers and events from different fields to discuss how art from the past and present challenges political oppression, cultural marginalization, and social inequity. We will explore the transformational capacity of art to protest injustice and imagine a better world.

Kimberly A. Smith
Professor of Art History
Margarett Root Brown Chair in Fine Arts

Eric Selbin
Professor of Political Science
Holder of the Lucy King Brown Chair


For the full schedule, together with contributor biographies, please visit https://www.southwestern.edu/academics/brown-symposium/.

Brown Symposium is free and open to the public; no registration is required.