Civic Café: Skilling Building Workshop: Arts as Civic Engagement

April 18, 2023
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Stix House, 6470 Forsyth Boulevard, Clayton, Missouri 63105 (United States)

How we understand and perceive places and the narratives we tell about them, impact how we interact and engage in these places. For artists, designers, and many others, understanding and exploring one’s “sense of place” is critical to how they engage with and serve those communities.  

In the last Civic Café of the school year, Professor Penina Acayo Laker of the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts will lead a civic skill building workshop on the importance of storytelling and visualizing place in art and civic engagement. The workshop will seek to engage participants in visualizing a collective story of St. Louis through sites and story and discuss how this impacts their engagement in St. Louis. Some of the questions that will be explored include: 

  • What does it mean to live in St. Louis?  
  • What stories do we know about St. Louis?  
  • What visuals come to mind when we think of St. Louis? What sounds? What smells? 
  • How do the ways you perceive St. Louis influence the way you describe it, participate in it, interact with it, and what story you tell about it? 
  • How do our stories and perceptions of place influence our relationships with the people in St. Louis, the overall community, and civic engagement? 

In conjunction with our pop-up art show, “The Little Things”, this Civic Café will discuss how art can have a social impact. Please join the Gephardt Institute for this workshop on April 18, from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. 

Speaker Bio

Penina Acayo Laker is a design researcher and Assistant Professor of Communication Design at Washington University in St. Louis. Through community-centered interdisciplinary research projects, Penina explores how design can facilitate equitable engagement between community members and stakeholders, locally and internationally. She is the founding director of the Health Communication Design Studio and is currently addressing the impact of health disparities on underserved minority populations in St. Louis and broadening the scope and access of design education to young people in Uganda through DesignEd workshops and My African Aesthetic Podcast which she co-hosts. She is a co-editor of the award-winning book, The Black Experience in Design: Identity, Reflection and Expression, a 600-page anthology featuring essays, teaching practices, research, and conversations on design with Black/African educators, scholars, and thinkers. 

Civic Cafe is a weekly event series that occurs every Tuesday evening at Stix House, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Each night fits the theme of either a Skill Building session, Democracy Dinner, or Civic Storytelling event. Students of every level and discipline are invited to attend. Learn, eat, and meet other civically-minded individuals.

Follow us on Instagram or other social channels to learn more about the weekly theme.

Event RSVP

Civic Cafe RSVP 2023_04_18
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