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.

Equity in Action
Equity in Action launched on Sunday, January 22, 2017 with more than 40 participants. Last year Kheprw Institute (KI) and Spirit & Place ran a 10-month series focused on issues around  neighborhood change in the series Gentrify: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly. With more than 400 participants city-wide, this series provided a variety of voices: community activists, city officials, development professionals, residents, as well as national speakers a space to dig deeper on the complex issue of gentrification and its impact on community. This year KI and Spirit & Place are excited to announce our 2017 series, Equity in Action. Equity is the new buzz word everyone’s talking about. What is it? How do you get it? How can we learn from the ideas and actions from other communities around the country to make Indianapolis more equitable - economically, racially, gender, etc? 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.

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