What's Happening in 2017?
Visit this page often to learn of new events, initiatives, and partnerships Spirit & Place is engaged in year-round! Amazing opportunities using the arts, humanities, and religion exist outside the November festival and we'll use this page as well as our enewsletter (signing up is easy!) to keep you in the know.

Powerful Conversations on Race*
2nd Sunday of the Month
MLK Community Center (40 W. 40th St.)
“Powerful Conversations on Race,” is a monthly community discussion series that will bring together diverse citizens, humanities-based readings, and facilitators trained in the civic reflection dialogue model for critical conversations on historical and contemporary issues surrounding race using The Charleston Syllabus: Readings on Race, Racism and Racial Violence.**

How is this discussion series different than others? While we will root our conversations in The Charleston Syllabus, this is not a book discussion group. Nor is it a lecture series. Our gatherings are an opportunity to deeply listen to one another and reflect on our underlying beliefs and values around race. While only 1 or 2 excerpts from each chapter of the book will be discussed each month, participants are encouraged to read the entire chapter if they can. If they can't ... don't worry! We'll actually be reading the featured selections aloud before discussing them so that everyone will be able to participate on the same level.

Topics to be covered include:
•    Slavery, Survival, and Community Building (Sept. 10 & Oct. 8, 2017)
•    Religious Life, Spirituality, and Racial Identity (Nov. 12, 2017 & Jan. 14, 2018)
•    The Civil War and Reconstruction in History and Memory (Feb. 11 & Mar. 11, 2018)
•    Jim Crow, Racial Politics, and Global White Supremacy (Apr. 8 & May 13, 2018)
•    Civil Rights and Black Power (June 10 & July 8, 2018)
•    Contemporary Perspectives on Race and Racial Violence (Aug. 12 & Sept. 9, 2018)

Walk-in guests are welcome, but we greatly appreciate RSVPs so that we can plan for and create the best environment possible for these critical conversations. RSVP here.

*The program is funded by Indiana Humanities in cooperation with the National Endowment for the Humanities’ “Legacy of Race and Ethnicity initiative,” and The Indianapolis Foundation, a CICF affiliate. Project partners include Child Advocates and IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. “Powerful Conversation on Race” is endorsed by the Race and Cultural Relations Leadership Network of the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee and the Office of the Mayor, City of Indianapolis. Spirit & Place’s ongoing community engagement efforts are made possible with the support of Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation, Bohlsen Group, Lilly Endowment Inc., and IUPUI.

**Published in 2016, The Charleston Syllabus is a curated list taken from #Charleston Syllabus, an online compendium of links to writings on racism that was conceived by Chad Williams, Associate Professor of African and Afro-American Studies at Brandeis University, following the massacre of nine individuals at Emmanuel AME by Dylann Roof. With the help of Kidada Williams, Associate Professor of History at Wayne State University, the #Charleston Syllabus hashtag started trending on Twitter on the evening of June 19, 2015. The online list was compiled and organized by African American Intellectual Historical Society blogger Keisha N. Blain, Visiting Research Scholar in African Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and 
can be viewed here

Equity in Action
Equity in Action is a partnership between Spirit & Place and the Kheprw Institute focused on learning how we can make Indianapolis more equitable. Recent reports nationally and locally have shown a broad consensus of disturbing data about Indianapolis’s economic health and racial/economic disparities. These include PolicyLink’s National Equity Atlas and The Center for Community Progress. For more data and analysis click here. Each forum is free and open to the public and will take place on the fourth Sunday of each month from 3-5pm at Kheprw Institute located at 3549 Boulevard Place.

Knock it Out of the Park: FREE Event Design Workshop
Monday, Aug. 14 from 1 to 4:30pm
Bureau of Jewish Education 
6711 Hoover Rd.
Designing an engaging event inclusive of all abilities, smooth flowing from beginning to end, and guided by a strong moderator is the dream! This workshop is focused on helping you turn that dream into reality with imaginative yet practical advice from Indiana Disability Rights on how to create more welcoming and accessible events. Spirit & Place and Congregation Beth-El Zedeck staff will cover why sweating the small stuff matters when it comes to event design as well as when selecting and preparing an event panel and moderator. Finally, actors with the Sapphire Theatre Co. will demonstrate how to creatively and kindly address challenging event situations. RSVP here by August 9

An American Conscience: The Reinhold Niebuhr Story
Film Screening & Discussion

Thursday, Sept. 28 at 6:30pm
Indiana War Memorial (51 E. Michigan St.)
Although he may be best remembered today as the author of the famed “Serenity Prayer,” Reinhold Niebuhr — an outspoken American-born pastor, writer, and political activist — remains one of the most influential public theologians of our time. 

 An American Conscience: The Reinhold Niebuhr Story is directed, written and narrated by Martin Doblmeier, the creator of award-winning films on faith including Chaplains and Bonhoeffer. Rich in archival material, the documentary features interviews with former President Jimmy Carter, Cornel West, David Brooks, Susannah Heschel and others.

After the film, a discussion will be moderated by IUPUI History Professor and director of American Studies Ray Haberski, author of God and War: American Civil Religion Since 1945. Before the movie, you are invited to tour the Indiana War Memorial.

This event is a partnership between the Center for Interfaith Cooperation and Spirit & Place.

Lilly Endowment provided support for this documentary, and the Indianapolis Center for Congregations created a discussion guide for the film that can be used to shape a conversation.

What We Need is Here: Hope, Hard Times, & the Human Possibility
Friday, October 6, 8-9:30pm
St. Luke's Methodist Church (100 W. 86th St.)
Spirit & Place is proud to be a promotional partner with St. Luke's Methodist Church for this upcoming concert with Carrie Newcomer and Parker Palmer. Carrie Newcomer and Parker J. Palmer have come together to create an evening concert designed to encourage a new kind of conversation—one that bridges our divides and helps restore civic community.

This event is expected to sell out! Tickets (before Sept 17/$25, after Sept 25 and at door/$30) available at front desk and at www.stlukesumc.com.

Birds of Longing: Exile and Memory

As a community and promotional partner, Spirit & Place supported the opening reception of Birds of Longing: Exile and Memory -- an exhibition at the Indiana Interchurch Center by the New York-based fiber artist, Laurie Wohl which intertwined Muslim, Jewish, and Christian poetry and spiritual texts from the period of the Convivencia in Spain and from contemporary Middle Eastern poets. The Song Squad performed music composed and directed by Spirit & Place Festival Director Pam Blevins Hinkle and classical guitarist John Alvaredo.

28th Joseph T. Taylor Symposium: It’s not foreign. It’s U.S.
Thursday, February 23, 2017
IUPUI Campus Center
Spirit & Place was proud to consult and advise on this year's Taylor Symposium at IUPUI. The Joseph T. Taylor Symposium honors Dr. Taylor for his many contributions to the university and the community by hosting informed discussion on issues of interest in urban America, particularly among communities of color. 

This year's symposium explored how, as a nation of immigrants, the U.S. is one of the most diverse societies in the world. Yet, history and modern times are rife with examples of cultural misunderstandings that stand in the way of a truly integrated society. Language is the key to overcoming moments of difficulty, facilitating the transition of new Americans, and bringing harmony to our remarkable mosaic of cultural traditions and experiences.

2016 Happenings

Before I Die Festival
End-of-life discussions can be downright awkward. Many of us avoid these conversations despite the fact a number of decisions need to be made at the end of someone’s life. Spirit & Place proudly partnered with the IU School of Nursing from April 15-17, 2016 on the United States’ first ever “Before I Die Festival." Through book discussions, panel conversations, film screenings, cemetery tours, clergy training, music, art, and even death café’s we sparked conversation for almost 800 attendees at 20+ events. 

Need help keeping this conversation going in your own life? Check out these resources:

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande is a great text to share and use to start these important conversations. 

National Healthcare Decisions Day exists to inspire, educate, and empower the public about the importance of advance care planning.

The Conversation Project is dedicated to helping people talk about their wishes for end-of-life care. 

Civic Challenge
In partnership with Indiana Humanities, Spirit & Place launched an initiative that encouraged nonprofit organizations to engage voters in nonpartisan activities in 2016 and beyond. Through a series of trainings, Spirit & Place led the way on educating 501(c)(3) organizations on how to engage their audiences, staff, and boards to bolster a culture of voter participation. 

Why this focus? “Nonprofits exist to help create strong and vibrant communities. We are trusted and respected entities,” said Spirit & Place Program Director Erin Kelley. “We are rooted in our communities, connected to public, and dedicated to service on a daily basis. Who better than Indiana’s nonprofits to encourage voter participation and to help create a culture of civic engagement?”

Gentrify: The Good, The Bad, the Ugly & Game Night at Sun King Brewery
It can be difficult to have honest conversations about gentrification because of how mired it is with issues of class, politics, race, and human impact. With this in mind, Spirit & Place and the Kheprw Institute partnered in 2016 to launch Gentrify: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly--a series of community discussions that explored the impact and ramifications of gentrification above and beyond displacement. The series launched February 28 and culminated with the Spirit & Place Festival event, “From the Ground Up: A People-Centered Approach to Community Development.”

Spirit & Place also hosted a game night at Sun King Brewery in June of 2016. By tweaking a few classic tabletops games such as The Game of Life and Jenga, we created an engaging way for the public to learn about and begin discussing gentrification. (These games are available for nonprofit boards and community groups to borrow! Contact Erin Kelley at ekkelley@iupui.edu to learn more.) 

City Suppers: Spirit & Place Edition 
Spirit & Place was proud to have partnered with the Harrison Center and City Gallery on its 3rd Annual City Suppers in October 2016. Aimed at building stronger community bonds, City Suppers encourages friends, family, and especially neighbors to share a meal--at home--and to really get to know each other. In celebration of the Spirit & Place 2016 festival theme, HOME, we encouraged participants to use these home-inspired conversation starters during dinner. 

2015 Happenings 
History Talks! History Talks! was an inaugural program of the IUPUI Department of History with support from the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, Spirit & Place, and Indiana Landmarks.

On December 10, 2015, historian James Madison presented "Two Centuries of Hoosiers"at the Indiana Landmarks Cook Theater. Madison provided an overview of the state's past, from Hoosier pioneers through the Civil War to the 21st century. His illustrated talk highlighted connections between past and present to help us think about the future.

Talking About Freedoms without Freaking Out

Talking about Freedoms was an an IUPUI discussion series powered by Spirit & Place with support from the IUPUI Office of Community Engagement, Indiana Humanities, IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law, Center for Interfaith Cooperation, and The Center for Civic Literacy.

During the summer of 2015, Spirit & Place worked to connect the public with legal scholars and others in an exploration of which freedoms the First Amendment does – and does not – protect. 

June 19:  Hate Speech and the First Amendment:  Values in Conflict
June 24:  Can We Talk about RFRA without Talking Past One Another?
July 13:  Trivia Night at Sun King

Want to learn more about the First Amendment? Check out these sites:
The Center for First Amendment Studies
Bill of Rights Institute
Constitutional Rights Foundation
National Constitution Center