Activism Symposium Features Guest Speakers Saira Raza '02, Filmmaker Roni Nicole Henderson, and Professor N'Dri Assié-Lumumba

April 20, 2018
Their talks will focus on the role of art and storytelling and the struggle for social transformation.
portraits of activism symposium speakers

Wells College will welcome several exciting guest speakers for the upcoming 17th annual Activism Symposium, a day-long collection of events centered on the theme "The Transformation into Action: Centering Blackness."

Keynote Address

Filmmaker Roni Nicole Henderson and Activism Symposium founder Saira Raza '02 will deliver the keynote lecture, titled "The World is Hungry for your Stories." This event wil take place at 4:30 p.m. Friday, April 27, in the de Witt Lecture Hall (106) of Zabriskie Hall. Admission is free, and all are welcome.

In her short film bridge/refrain, Roni Nicole Henderson explores a young woman's arrival in the land of the ancestors after falling victim to gun violence. Here, she discovers that though there is healing for her wounds and safety in the arms of benevolent beings, her work is far from done. After a screening of bridge/refrain, Henderson and Raza, who provided sound design and music for the film, will share insights on their process and motivations as artists.

Roni Nicole Henderson is a Columbia, S.C.,-based photographer and filmmaker. She earned her MFA in film and photography at Savannah College of Art and Design and was the recipient of the A. Gregory Peeler Fellowship for Graduate Study. Her work has been exhibited in galleries, museums, and film festivals across the country including Spelman Museum of Fine Art, Leonard Pearlstein Gallery at Drexel University, the Museum of Contemporary Art Georgia, The National Black Arts Festival, Indie Grits, Blackstar Film Festival, Pan African Film Festival, Africa in Pictures, and many more. Roni is currently an Indie Grits Lab Filmmaker-in-Residence.

Saira Raza (’02) is the founder of the Wells College Activism Symposium. She earned her MPS in Africana Studies at Cornell University, and her MLS in library science at University of North Texas. In addition to being a librarian at Goizueta Business Library at Emory University, Saira is also a musician and artist. She was one of three Atlanta Printmakers Studio Artist Residents in 2015, and her music has been listed among Atlanta’s top local records over the last four years. She is currently working with contemporary dance group Sunday Morning at 7 to create a short film called The Birth of Pleasure, a modern interpretation of the myth of Cupid and Psyche as well as her fifth record, Ideal, contemplating the inner dialogue between one’s ideal and real selves.

Plenary Lecture

Dr. N’Dri Thérèse Assié-Lumumba will give a talk titled "Generations of African/Diaspora Women in the Struggle for Social Transformation: Critical Perspectives on Intersectionality in Action" at 12:20 p.m. in the Zabriskie Lecture Hall. Dr. N'Dri Assié-Lumumba is a Professor of African, African Diaspora and Comparative/International Education, social institutions, and the study of gender in the Africana Studies and Research Center at Cornell University. She is President of the World Council of Comparative Education Societies (WCCES, 2016-2019), Vice-President of the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) of UNESCOS’s Inter-governmental programme for the Management of Social Transformations (MOST), and past President of Comparative and International Education Society (CIES).

She joined Cornell in 1991 as a Fulbright Senior Research Fellow and Ford Foundation/Africana Studies Fellow. She served as Director of the former Cornell Program on Gender and Global Change (GGC) and as Africana Studies Director of Graduate Studies (DGS). She is a Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science, Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Johannesburg and Extraordinary Professor in the Education Policy Studies Department at the Stellenbosch University (South Africa).

With a Ph. D. in Comparative Education (Sociology and Economics) from the University of Chicago and 2 Masters and 2 BAs (License) (in History and Sociology from Université Lyon II in France, she has been active in research networks including CODESRIA (Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa) and Association of African Women for Research and Development (AAWORD). She has published extensively articles in refereed journals and books on higher education, equity, gender, ICT for education and knowledge production and been engaged in policy analysis for social transformation.

Since 2002, Activism Symposium has been an annual opportunity for the Wells community to gather and learn more about the difference we each can make individually and collectively in this world. The purpose of the student-centered symposium is to promote civic engagement, encourage critical thinking, and find links between the academy and the world at large. See the full schedule of events.

Wells College promises a relevant liberal arts and sciences education. Intellectually challenging. Reinterpreted for today. Classroom teaching combined with hands-on learning. Wells graduates enter the world prepared for successful futures.

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