Compromised, partial archive of Imagining Geographies & Civic Soul regional engagement initiatives (2012-2016) undertaken by dedicated students and residents.
Following initial Antarctica programming (2012), Imagining Geographies [IG] launched a multi-year focus on the land, lives, and arts of Southern Illinois. We do so through transdisciplinary investigations and discussions of past histories and present issues that engage our imaginations in thinking about and expressing what our present-future lives might be like in this region, and we advance initiatives that seek to transform imagining into action.
For example, we discussed an imaginative proposal to create a ‘food forest’ in Carbondale (2013); we partnered with the Rural Civil Rights Project to collect and share stories of race relations and activism (2013, 2014); we discussed potential of emerging “community rights” paradigm to strengthen involvement of civil society and citizens in local policymaking (2014), and applied environmental justice (2014) as prism to assess initiatives, such as: fracking, deteriorating levees, & erection of solar arrays on brownfield site within Carbondale’s city limits.
In 2015 we launched two new initiatives:Civic Dialogues are policy forums in which we convene a variety of stakeholders to discuss issues of concern to civil society groups and residents of Southern Illinois, and actions that are or could be advanced to change or monitor public policies. Civic Soul is a communication – media initiative that supports IG as well as citizen-based public affairs efforts to understand and transform public policies. We do so by gathering and posting informative resources, pod- and vodcasts, recordings of Civic Dialogues – on this site as well as our partners websites as well as social media.
A range of issues are being addressed in these multi-year initiatives: (1) civic justice involving community-police interactions and community rights; (2) living independently by persons with disabilities, (3) water and environmental justice in the cases of interventions in the Cache watershed, deteriorating levees in Mississippi bottoms, and Brightfields proposals to erect solar array on Koppers’ brownfield site in Carbondale; poverty and homelessness.
Our efforts enable scholars, artists, students, members of agencies and organizations to create and share knowledge, as well as advance transformative action initiatives. They do so through participating in IG events, such as: visual installations, lectures/panels, seminars, workshops, field trips, concerts, film screenings, as well as contributing to our bi-annual publication – Sharing Knowledge…
Most IG and Civic Soul initiatives are organized through our four domains: *Advancing Southern Illinois Arts * Experiencing Environs * Sustainability and Environmental Science, Communication, and Policy * Voices of Southern Illinois.
We hope our events, action-initiatives, Sharing Knowledge… publications, as well as this website enable audience members and readers learn about, experience, reflect on, and reconnect with living in Southern Illinois and beyond; as well as enable us to imagine and become engaged in transforming our lives here, individually and collectively.