UConn’s Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts creates new Arts & Activism Speaker Series

Series kicks off with Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of Black Lives Matter movement, in free virtual lecture Feb 4 at 6 pm

Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts is launching an Arts and Activism series to create a space for artists to have a dialogue about social justice issues with Jorgensen patrons, the UConn community and the general public.

During the spring semester, Jorgensen will co-sponsor lectures via Jorgensen Digital Stage with other UConn organizations, including the African American Cultural Center, the Asian American Cultural Center, and the Digital Media and Design program in the School of Fine Arts. These lectures aim to educate and inform on the impact of current social justice movements.

All lectures will be free to watch online and can be accessed through Jorgensen’s website at Jorgensen.uconn.edu.  Some events will require an RSVP in advance.

Rodney Rock, Jorgensen Director, said he has taken note of how artists having increasingly been using their platforms to raise awareness and promote change. He hopes the Arts and Activism series will spark stimulating conversations.

“I have been looking to start to something like this at Jorgensen for some time now,” Rock said. “I can’t think of a better time than now to be begin to showcase these lectures. We are living through an unprecedented time in our world in so many ways and, even in the midst of a global pandemic, it is important to address and celebrate the arts and its relationship to activism.”

Two events to be featured in the Arts and Activism series are Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, and a one-day summit featuring five Black leaders from the film industry. Future events will be announced in the upcoming weeks.

Recently, the Black Lives Matter movement was nominated for the 2021 Nobel peace prize.

Rock said Cullors being the Arts and Activism opening lecture could not come at a more fitting time.

“On the heels of the Black Lives Matter movement being nominated for a Nobel peace prize, it’s an exciting time to have one of the co-founders, Patrisse Cullors, speaking to our Jorgensen patrons, members of the UConn community and the greater public,” Rock said. “It is a pivotal time in our society and having the opportunity to engage with someone who has their finger on the pulse of the movement is monumental.”

The full list of the Jorgensen Digital Stage spring 2021 events will be released later this week. Rock said he is looking forward to presenting more events on Jorgensen Digital Stage.

“With both our Arts and Activism lectures and our upcoming livestream performances, we truly have an exciting season ahead despite the fact there is a global pandemic happening.” he said.

SPRING 2021 ARTS AND ACTIVISM LECTURE SERIES (more events will be added later)



“When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Dialogue with Patrisse Cullors”

*Sponsored by UConn African American Cultural Center

Thurs, Feb 4, 6:00 pm EST LIVESTREAM

As UConn African American Cultural Center’s Black History Month 2021 opening ceremony, Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Global Network and founder of grassroots organization Dignity and Power Now, will be presenting a lecture free to the public. To reserve your spot, you must RSVP in advance.


Amplifying Black Voices in Hollywood

The Diverse Perspectives in Digital Media & Design: 2021 Speaker Series

*Sponsored by UConn School of Fine Arts’ Digital Media and Design program

Fri, Feb 19 1:00 pm EST to 8:00 pm EST LIVESTREAM

UConn’s Digital Media Design Department is hosting its inaugural event of Diverse Perspectives 2021 Speaker Series: Amplifying Black Voices in Hollywood.

The one-day summit will feature conversations with Black leaders from the film industry and they will be discussing the efforts to increase diversity in all aspects of Hollywood from screenwriting to post-production.


The Summit events include:

  • Fighting for Equity in Hollywood: Leveraging Film as a Conduit for Change, Romany Malco, Actor/Director of “Tijuana Jackson: Purpose Over Prison”
  • Challenging the Status Quo: Authentic Storytelling at the Studio Level, Alana Mayo, President of Orion Pictures
  • Small Screen, Big Impact: Creating Content for Underrepresented Voices in Digital Media, Numa Perrier, Director of “Jezebel”
  • Diversity Matters: The Value of Inclusion in the Visual Effects and Animation Industries, Chris White, Visual Effects Supervisor at WETA Digital
  • Reforming Hollywood's Writers' Rooms: How the TV Crime Genre Normalizes Injustice, Kristen Marston, Culture & Entertainment Advocacy Director at Color Of Change Hollywood

This summit is free and open to all, but RSVP is required.