What's Happening in 2018?
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.)   RSVP here
***Due to Mother's Day, the May 13 conversation has been rescheduled to May 20 and will occur at Central Library.***
“Powerful Conversations on Race” is a community discussion series that invites you to share in facilitated critical conversations on both historical and contemporary issues surrounding race.  Using the Charleston Syllabus: Readings on Race, Racism and Racial Violence (2016) we will practice deep listening to reflect our underlying beliefs and values. We hope to relaunch the entire series from start to finish two additional times to allow you to jump in at will! You do not need to purchase the book to participate. Learn more here.

Walk-ins are welcome, but RSVPs are greatly appreciated so that we can accommodate any special needs and create the best environment possible. RVSP here.

Topics to be covered include: 
•    Slavery, Survival, and Community Building 
•    Religious Life, Spirituality, and Racial Identity 
•    The Civil War and Reconstruction in History and Memory 
•    Jim Crow, Racial Politics, and Global White Supremacy
•    Civil Rights and Black Power 
•    Contemporary Perspectives on Race and Racial Violence 

*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.

Community Cafe: Can Social Media Build Real Social Connections?
Saturday, Oct. 20
11:30a.m. - 1p.m.
Broadway UMC (609 E. 29th St.)

#Black Lives Matter. Occupy Wall Street. #MeToo. The Arab Spring. The Women's March.

The most powerful social movements in recent memory have all had one thing in common: Social media. Social media galvanizes support and calls people to action, especially for protests. But if social media and other technologies are so powerful, why have some of these movements failed or struggled for public attention once the protests end? Is social media really a useful tool for durable community-building? Does it help or hurt in fostering authentic relationships?

Spirit & Place invites you to wrestle with these and other questions during a Community Café on October 20 at Broadway United Methodist Church. Inspired by Spirit & Place Festival Public Conversation speaker Zeynep Tufekci, author of Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protests, we invite you to share a meal as well as YOUR insights, experiences, and wisdom in leading a dialogue on the pros and cons of mixing social media with social change.

2018 Happenings

Civic Saturdays
In a time of deep political divide, we must create new approaches to fostering a shared sense of moral and civic purpose. Civic Saturday seeks to bring friends and strangers together to nurture our civic spirit. 

Civic Saturday is a civic analogue to a faith gathering. But it’s not  about, nor does it aim to replace, faith traditions. It’s about American civic religion—the creed of liberty, equality, and self-government that truly unites us (even as we argue over it). At Civic Saturdays we hear poetry, sing songs, read great and provocative American texts, and listen to a civic “sermon.” We also gather in Civic Circles to share thoughts and ideas on how we can show up and support each other in public life.

Click here to watch a Civic Saturday hosted on July 28, 2018 and stayed tuned for upcoming 2019 dates!

29th Joseph Taylor Symposium
Invisible Indianapolis: Race & Heritage in the Circle City
History is all around us - in spaces and places that appear commonplace but that conceal stories from the past. "Invisible Indianapolis: Race & Heritage in the Circle City" explored the histories and material culture of local neighborhoods, revealing lesser-known stories of American urban life. 

History Talks! With Dr. Londa Schiebinger
Dr. Londa Schiebinger's History Talks lecture focused on her latest book, Secret Cures of Slaves: People, Plants, and Medicine in Eighteenth-Century Atlantic WorldSchiebinger examined medicine and human experimentation in the Atlantic World by tracing the development of a colonial medicine from the 1760s to the early 1800s. Her work analyzes how and why specific knowledge was blocked, discredited, and held secret.

Mohican Songs of the Spirit featuring Bill Miller

In the early 1800s, the Stockbridge Mohicans accepted the invitation of Miami Indians to settle in what is now Indiana but were soon displaced by waves of white settlers. This richly collaborative event between scholars, tribal members, and musicians was a celebration and revival of Mohican language, song, and culture. The event highlighted the history of the Mohican people with a short panel discussion followed by a performance by Grammy-winning Stockbridge Mohican artist and musician Bill Miller.

2017 Happenings

Equity in Action
Equity in Action was 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

Birds of Longing: Exile and Memory

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.

28th Joseph T. Taylor Symposium: It’s not foreign. It’s U.S.
Spirit & Place served in an advisory capacity for the Taylor Symposium which in 2017 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. 

Knock it Out of the Park: FREE Event Design Workshop
The workshop focused on imaginative yet practical advice from Indiana Disability Rights on how to create more welcoming and accessible events; a presentation by Spirit & Place Program Director Erin Kelley on why articulating goals and sweating the small stuff matters; discussion with Congregation Beth-El Zedeck Education Director George Kelley on what it takes to select and prepare event panelists and moderators; and, finally, dramatization and role playing activities with Bonnie Mill, Nick Carpenter, and Andrea Lott Haney with the Sapphire Theatre Co

An American Conscience: The Reinhold Niebuhr Story 
The Center for Interfaith Cooperation, in partnership with Spirit & Place, screened the documentary An American Conscience: The Reinhold Niebuhr Story. A panel conversation featuring Dr. Lewis Galloway, Second Presbyterian Church senior pastor; Tim Swarens, Indianapolis Star opinion editor and columnist; Rev. Marilyn Gill, Indiana Christian Leadership Conference executive director; and Ray Haberski, IUPUI professor of history and American Studies director followed the film. 

What We Need is Here: Hope, Hard Times, & the Human Possibility
Spirit & Place proudly served as a promotional partner with St. Luke's Methodist Church for a concert with Carrie Newcomer and Parker Palmer, who came together to create an evening concert designed to encourage a new kind of conversation—one that bridges our divides and helps restore civic community.

Polio: A Look Back at American's Most Successful Public Health Crusade
Pulitzer Prize winning author of Polio: An American Story and New York University professor David Oshinsky spoke about the largest public health experiment in American history in this “History Talks! Engage the Past, in the Present, about the Future” lecture presented by IUPUI Department of History, with support from IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute, IU School of Medicine, Spirit & Place, and JBS Society.

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