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Presented By: University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA)

The Ways of Water: Art, Activism, and Ecologies Symposium - Day 2

University of Michigan Museum of Art


This symposium brings together a diverse group of practitioners, including artists, designers, activists, scholars, scientists, policy analysts, urban planners, and thinkers to discuss what may well be the most important issue of our time: access to clean water and the fight for environmental justice. Held in partnership with the University of Michigan Museum of Art and the Stamps Gallery and building on themes present in the UMMA exhibition  and Stamps Gallery’s LaToya Ruby Frazier: Flint is Family in Three Acts, The Ways of Water symposium continues to unravel the story of water, its critical role, and the way it connects us all. 

Diverse practitioners have been invited in order to underscore the need for a multiplicity of voices needed to confront these issues. The Ways of Water symposium brings together perspectives of artists, activists, community members alongside those of scientists and policy makers. 

Day 2: Saturday, October 8, 1 – 5 pm Stamps Gallery, 201 South Division Street

1:00 pm: Session 4 — Breaking Waves: Research Around, Through, and With Water Panelists: Heidi Kumao, Kelly Murdoch-Kitt + Denielle Emans, David Porter, and Cedric Taylor

Breaking Waves surveys research and pedagogy across the University of Michigan at the intersection of water, world-building, and environmental justice. Panelists will discuss how water is used in teaching and storytelling to repair broken relationships with water and how water subjects are used as pedagogical tools. 

3:00 pm: Session 5 — Water Futures: Decolonization, Access, Systems, and Community Panelists: Daniel Brown, Amber Hasan and Shea Cobb, Branko Kerkez, and Andrea Pierce Moderator: María Arquero de Alarcón

Water Futures explores our understanding of water — as a vital resource for the life of a community, a reservoir of ecological memory, and a public trust or a fundamental human right — as we try to envision creative solutions that can change the course of water’s troubled history. Beyond the strict temporality of crisis and response that so often frames recent public narratives about environmental justice, how can artists, academics, and activists help recontextualize the urgency of ecological action to achieve an equitable water future?

4:30 pm: Closing Remarks

Symposium events are free and open to all. Please contact Jennifer Junkermeier-Khan, Stamps Gallery at jenjkhan@​umich.​edu for additional information or with questions.


This program is co-presented by Stamps Gallery and UMMA in partnership with the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History and the University of Michigan Library. Additional support provided by the U-M Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum, the U-M Joseph A. Labadie Collection, and the Office of the Vice President for Research.

Lead support for this exhibition is provided by the U-M Office of the Provost, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Michigan Arts and Culture Council, Susan and Richard Gutow, and the U-M Institute for the Humanities. Additional generous support is provided by the U-M School for Environment and Sustainability, Graham Sustainability Institute, and the Department of English Language and Literature. Special thanks to Margaret Noodin and Michael Zimmerman, Jr. for translating the gallery texts into Anishinaabemowin.  

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