April 1, 2019

11. Denise Johnson, Beverly Bickel and Lee Boot

Beverly_Bickel_Lee_Boot_Denise_G_Johnson_copy.jpgDenise is a Cultural Organizer who has worked to develop and enhance art and cultural assets in southwest and west Baltimore. She’s a co-founder of CultureWorks and currently uses the group’s practices in her work with Baltimore’s historic Arch Social Club, where she’s director of the Arch Social Community Network. The club has been a fixture of Black Baltimore’s civil society for over 100 years and has served as a hub of community action.

Beverly and Lee are on the faculty of UMBC, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Lee is an experimental media artist working to develop new and effective ways to use digital media to spread knowledge for pro-social outcomes. He has assembled widely interdisciplinary teams from the sciences, arts and humanities to explore the potential of an artist’s perspective to address vexing social issues.

Beverly’s research aims at highlighting the essential role of building sustained relationships across differences while negotiating diverse knowledge sources, experiences, discourses and intellectual practices to address local and trans-national transformational challenges.

Lee and Bev got to know each other when they traveled to the 2013 Imagining America conference in Syracuse, New York. They met Denise when she joined the effort to organize the 2015 IA conference in Baltimore.

The three discuss how creating change can only be done by connecting people and listening. They also talk about how they connected and how Denise started out skeptical about the role U-M-B-C would be able to play planning IA’s Baltimore conference.

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