What role can the arts play in promoting positive social change?

Inspired by the seminal artistry of Anna Deavere Smith, Live Context explored the ways art fosters imagination, empathy, and creative expression to cultivate equality, active citizenship, and a more just society.

Past Live Context Events: Arts and Social Change

Screening | Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992
Wed, October 14, 2015 at 7:30pm
Cubberley Auditorium

In this PBS-TV film based on the original New York stage production, Anna Deavere Smith transforms herself into scores of individuals in a mosaic set in South Central Los Angeles in the violent aftermath of the 1992 Rodney King trial and verdict. A Q&A with Smith led by Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, Harry Elam Jr., will follow.


Public Talk | New world a-coming: Jazz and Civil Rights
Mon, October 19 at 5:30pm
Cantor Arts Center Auditorium

Jazz has a long and intertwined history with America’s civil rights movement. In conversation with special guest Marcus Shelby (Bay Area bassist, composer, and bandleader), jazz specialist Loren Schoenberg will explore this rich history with a historical discussion, visual documents, and music.

Performance | Letter from a Birmingham Jail
Wed, October 21, 2015 at 7:30pm
Memorial Church

Smith does a reading of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s historic defense of his strategy of nonviolent resistance to racism, arguing that people have a moral responsibility to break unjust laws. Featuring Robert McDuffie, violin, and Anne Epperson, piano. Copresented with the Office for Religious Life and the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education.


Conversation | Art, Race, and Citizenship
Mon, October 26, 2015 at 6:00pm
Bing Concert Hall

Cultural commentator Frank Rich and artist Anna Deavere Smith share perspectives on the critical nature of art in a democratic society, how it broadens mutual understanding, and inspires civic engagement. How are the arts advancing the public dialogue on race and equality in America today?

Performance | The Pipeline Project
Fri, October 30, 2015 at 7:30pm
Bing Concert Hall

In her newest exploration, Smith uses her signature form of documentary theater to investigate the school-to-prison pipeline -- the cycle of suspension from school to incarceration that is prevalent among black, brown, Latino, and Native American youth in underserved communities.