Public Conversation History 

Did you know the first Public Conversation in 1996 featured Kurt Vonnegut, John Updike, and Dan Wakefield in a conversation at Clowes Memorial Hall about the relationship between "spirit" and "place?" 

BIG thanks to the visionary partners who helped to launch this first event and 20 more wonderful years!
The Polis Center's Project on Religion and Urban Culture
Butler University's Writer's Studio
Christian Theological Seminary
Indiana Historical Society
Indiana Humanities
Indianapolis Public Library
Madame Walker Theatre Center
Marian University
Martin University
University of Indianapolis
2nd Globe

22nd Annual Public Conversation:
Reflections on Race
Sunday, November 12, 4—5:30pm
Indiana History Center – Basile Theater
450 W. Ohio St.
IndyGo: 17, 19, 28 & 39 
317-274-2455 or

Presented by Spirit & Place, Indiana Historical Society, IPS Crispus Attucks Museum, and SongSquad.

Featuring Indiana historian Dr. James Madison, poet Dr. Maria Hamilton Abegunde, SongSquad, and actors with Indiana Historical Society’s Museum Theater program, historic documents, images, and music will be used to help the community reflect on the history of race. 

There’s a new twist on this annual signature event. You’ll still get to hear fresh insights from thoughtful thinkers and doers with unique perspectives. And we will continue to showcase the power of the arts, humanities, and religion in shaping the world. But alongside all this, we’ve designed an event that will allow you to practice YOUR power in tackling intractable issues like race. 

By bringing the past alive through music, dramatic readings, interactive opportunities, and meaningful reflection, we’ll do more than model civic and civil dialogue. We will connect you to opportunities, inspire an open mind, and strengthen your conviction to engage in critical conversations.

This event has been made possible through a grant from Indiana Humanities in cooperation with the National Endowment for the Humanities. 

2016 Public Conversation  
What if “home” is an unaffordable place? What if we’re unwelcome in the spaces we try to claim as “home?” How do we make the idea of “home” a reality for those without?

The 2016 Public Conversation brought together Harvard sociologist and MacArthur Genius Matthew Desmond, author of  New York Times bestselling book Evicted: Poverty and Profit in an American City; Canadian sculptor Timothy Schmalz, the artist behind the "Homeless Jesus" piece outside Roberts Park UMC downtown; and Allison Luthe who serves as the Executive Director of the Martin Luther King Community Center (MLK Center) located in Butler-Tarkington. The event was moderated by Terri Jett, Associate Professor of Political Science and Special Assistant to the Provost for Diversity and Inclusivity at Butler University. 

Special thanks to our sponsors!

IU School of Public Affairs

Indiana Humanities

Fair Housing Center


Indiana Landmarks