You are here: American University Provost Communications August 29, 2019

American University Office of the Provost

Memorandum August 29, 2019

AU Community

Daniel J. Myers, Provost
Fanta Aw, Vice President of Campus Life & Inclusive Excellence

Call for Sessions: Creativity & Innovation for Social Healing & Restorative Justice Colloquium

We are pleased to announce that American University will host an institution-wide colloquium focused on creativity and innovation for social healing and restorative justice this fall semester. We invite all members of the AU community to mark your calendars for this event on November 2. The schedule will include breakout sessions, reflective conversation, and community building—followed by a performance of award-winning composer Craig Hella Johnson’s transformative 2016 oratorio Contemplating Matthew Shepard.

Registration will open in early September and space will be limited to 250 participants. Interested faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to respond to the call for sessions by Monday, September 16. Please see below for additional details and the link to submit a proposal.

This colloquium is a cross-campus collaboration supported by the Office of Campus Life, College of Arts and Sciences, President’s Council on Diversity and Inclusion, Black Faculty and Staff Affinity Group, Latino and Hispanic Faculty and Staff Affinity Group, and LGBTQ+ Faculty and Staff Affinity Group. It is funded by an AU Inclusive Excellence mini-grant.

An AU Colloquium
Creativity & Innovation for
Social Healing & Restorative Justice

Daniel Abraham and Sybil Roberts-Williams, colloquium co-chairs
Saturday, November 2, 2019 | 2:00–9:30 p.m.
Katzen Arts Center | American University

During times of division and acrimony, how do communities come together to repair the harm caused by hate, work through trauma, and strive for a just future? How can art, creativity, and innovation play a role in building relationships, catalyzing change, and empowering individuals and communities? How can our work as citizens, students, scholars, and leaders promote policy and ideas that deliver true healing and justice? How does the AU community engage these questions as we struggle with acts of hate on our own campus? This university-wide colloquium will explore the role of creativity and innovation for healing and restorative justice.

We invite all members of the AU community to submit proposals on all aspects of this broad topic. As creativity and innovation are central, proposal types can take any form: papers, workshops, participatory teaching, master classes, panel discussions, installations, performances, or other formats. Presentations should focus on the work and impact of creativity and innovation for social healing and restorative justice. All ideas and topics related to the theme will be considered. Areas of interest may include, though are not limited to, examinations of current efforts, ways to reduce and prevent repetitions of harm, how individuals and communities react to acts of hate, and actions being undertaken from the grassroot to legislative levels. To apply, click on the session proposal form below and submit the following information by September 16:

  • 250-word description, including names of presenter(s), goals and overall format of session
  • Biography or link to AU bio of main presenter or principal organizer of session
  • Ideal audience size, space and technology needs

Click for Session Proposal Form:


Katzen Arts Center
1:30 – 2:00 pm  Registration
2:00 – 3:00 pm  Plenary 1: Arts for Healing (recital hall)
3:00 – 3:15 pm  Break and Reflective Conversation
3:15 – 4:00 pm  Workshops 1
4:00 – 4:15 pm  Break and Reflective Conversation
4:15 – 5:00 pm  Workshops 2
5:00 – 5:15 pm  Break and Reflective Conversation
5:15 – 6:15 pm  Plenary 2 (recital hall)
6:15 – 7:15 pm  Reception with light dinner and a day’s reflections (rotunda)
7:30 – 9:15 pm  AU Chamber Singers: Considering Matthew Shepard*

*Considering Matthew Shepard
Friday, November 1 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, November 2 at 7:30 pm
Sunday, November 3 at 3:00 pm
American University Chamber Singers
Daniel Abraham, conductor
Seth Andrew Watring, visual realization
Abramson Family Recital Hall, Katzen Arts Center
Tickets: $10/$5
Talk-back panels to follow each performance

Performed by AU Chamber Singers, under the music direction of Daniel Abraham and with visual realization by Seth Andrew Watring, join us for the first complete hearing in the mid-Atlantic of this beautiful and emotional work. An oratorio concerning the life and tragic death of Matthew Shepard, the openly gay University of Wyoming student who was murdered out of hate. The tragedy brought national and international attention to the need for LGBT state and federal hate-crime legislation. In October of 2018, twenty years after his death, Matthew was interred at the Washington National Cathedral.

The life and death of Matthew Shepard inspired this 2016 oratorio by award-winning composer-conductor Craig Hella Johnson. Incorporating a breadth of musical styles, the texts are drawn from passages of Shepard’s college journal, newspaper reports, testimony by his mother at the trial of her son’s murderers, and rich poetry by Rumi and others.

Considering Matthew Shepard is “a sweeping and multi-hued meditation on mankind’s predilection for cruelty towards those whom we view as different. But, it resounds, unmistakably, with a rousing affirmation of the redemptive power of love and gratitude as it encourages us to recognize the beauty of our underlying oneness with each other.

–– Daniel Bara, Director of Choral Activities, The University of Georgia 

Owing to the nature of the subject matter, this performance may not be suitable for young audience members.