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Social Alchemy Symposium
Apr 10 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm CDT
The Social Alchemy Symposium is a participatory mini-conference happening online and in person in New Harmony, Indiana April 10-13, 2022. The Symposium was organized through a partnership between Big Car Collaborative, the University of Southern Indiana, Historic New Harmony, and the New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art — is made possible by Indiana Humanities, the Efroymson Family Fund, and New America. Additional partners include the Indiana State Museum and PATTERN Magazine.
Each day is themed and there are separate Facebook invites, each focused on single days. The symposium is free to attend either virtually or in person. Donations are appreciated and can be made via the registration link.
The online opening keynote of the Social Alchemy Symposium will begin at 6:30 PM central time with author Emily St John Mandel who will discuss her work, the pursuit of utopia, the dystopia that can create for others. Even in the face of societal collapse, we create spaces and art that bring us meaning, comfort and reassurance. Our opening keynote by Emily St John Mandel is made possible by Indiana Humanities and New America. Tickets must be reserved to receive the Zoom links for the symposium.
About Emily St. John Mandel
She is the author of five novels, most recently “The Glass Hotel.” Her novel “Station Eleven,” which was a finalist for a National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award, won the 2015 Arthur C. Clarke Award, the Toronto Book Award, and the Morning News Tournament of Books, and has been translated into 27 languages. A previous novel, “The Singer’s Gun,” was the 2014 winner of the Prix Mystere de la Critique in France. Her short fiction and essays have been anthologized in numerous collections, including Best American Mystery Stories 2013. She is also a staff writer for The Millions. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter. Her next book, “Sea of Tranquility,” will be released in April 2022. Copies will be available for purchase at the in-person event. “I’m a big believer in people needing stories to help us process times when our reality is unstable,” Somerville says. “That plays out in the show, too. You come to a point when you can’t talk about things anymore. But when there’s no answer, that’s when art’s most valuable. When the words we have don’t work anymore, we can sing a folk song or put on a play. I’m a big believer in the functional, pragmatic utility of art. It’s not just a fancy thing you go see at the museum, but a thing we need that should be jammed into Maslow’s hierarchy of needs at a very, very important rung.””–Patrick Somerville on Emily St. John Mandel’s Station 11.Image from the HBO series, Station 11.
More about the Symposium and the venue:
Twice the site of utopian experiments in communitarian living, New Harmony is now a town rich in beauty, culture, and history. And it makes the perfect location for people to enjoy some moments of respite and reconnect with others through conversations about the roles of art, design, and place in society.
Conversations — led by more than 20 notable authors, artists, designers, researchers, and philosophers from Indiana and around the world — will look at the role of utopian thinking today and tomorrow while connecting with the past.The symposium — organized through a partnership between Big Car Collaborative, the University of Southern Indiana, Historic New Harmony, and the New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art — is made possible by Indiana Humanities, the Efroymson Family Fund, and New America. Additional partners include the Indiana State Museum and PATTERN Magazine.
Other speakers, in-person unless otherwise noted, include:
Maurice Broaddus, author of fiction centered on utopian and dystopian ideas through the genres of science fiction, urban fantasy, and horror.
Darran Anderson, author of Imaginary Cities (2015), an Irish writer focused on the intersections of urbanism, culture, technology and politics (virtual talk).
Cara Courage, executive director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit; scholar and author in the realms of art and placemaking; and formerly of the Tate Modern in London.
Also: Indiana writers Susan Neville, Adrian Matejka, and Matthew Graham (current poet laureate); Indiana artists and arts leaders from New Harmony, Columbus, Bloomington, and Indianapolis; leading architects, planners, and designers; and utopian/communal studies scholars.
• To gain a deep understanding — via history, literature, philosophy and design — of the relationship between the built environment and social good.
• To connect with others interested in imagining and striving for better communities.
• To experience the extraordinary atmosphere, public art, and architecture of New Harmony — nestled along the Wabash River and steeped in a historic utopian spirit.
• To savor the spring weather of southern Indiana.Located at the southwest tip of Indiana near Evansville on land originally occupied by the Mississippian culture, New Harmony is approximately 2.5 hours drive from Indianapolis, and just over two hours from St. Louis and Louisville.
Conference goers receive a special $89/night rate at the New Harmony Inn Resort & Conference Center. Call (812) 682-4431 to book and mention “Social Alchemy Symposium.”
You can find tickets for this event on Eventbrite.