The UMKC Trustees and School of Humanities and Social Sciences are proud to introduce the Marilyn T. and Byron C. Shutz Lecture Series. This annual series will host lectures, seminars, and workshops in fields such as creative writing, literature, and art history.

Upcoming Events

Narrative Mapping: Our Stories as Visual Dialogues for Healing in Times of Strife

Thursday, February 2, 2023
4:00-5:30 pm (CDT)

Our propensity to communicate the lived/ing experience to others through stories is a fundamental expression of our collective humanity. We are innate storytellers. Narrative Mapping was developed by Thompson as an arts-based research method and pedagogical practice to explore health and healing in diverse contexts. Situating our personal narratives amidst larger socio-political and institutional forces, the process involves deep listening and reflection with self and others. Storytelling can help move us beyond the isolation of contemporary health and healing disciplines while drawing us together in more empathic, responsive dialogues. Dr. Thompson will conduct a mapping session for participants as we contemplate health and healing amid our collective uncertainty and strife. We will discuss various applications where narrative maps can be used as unique communicative devices to promote more collaborative practices of care.

Marie Thompson is Associate Professor of Communication in the School of Social Science and International Studies at Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio. She studies how it is that stories take up space in bodies over and through time. Guided by feminist modes of inquiry, Thompson has pioneered narrative mapping, a method which deepens the understanding of the personal/political nature of health and healing. She has offered narrative mapping workshops for professionals in different fields and published in Health Communication, Communication Teacher, Encyclopedia of Health Communication, Review of Communication, and others.


portrait of Marie Thompson

Storytelling and Humor as Strategy of “Survivance”

Thursday, February 16, 2023
4:00-5:30 pm (CDT)

This lecture engages attendees in a conversation about how laughter eases tension, delivers a new perspective, changes power dynamics, and provides a respite. Sandi L. Wisenberg used humor when she blogged about her breast cancer journey. She wrote about the farewell party she dedicated to her left breast and about using her scalp as a political billboard when she lost her hair. Wisenberg also used humor to critique the hypocrisy of certain breast cancer organizations and resist mainstream notions of gender. The resulting book, The Adventures of Cancer Bitch, is “darkly funny” (Kirkus), “acerbic” (Rain Taxi), “self-deprecating” (Self). Monica Prince, the author of How to Exterminate the Black Woman, Instructions for Temporary Survival, Letters from the Other Woman, and the forthcoming choreopoem, Roadmap and Sandi L. Wisenberg will discuss how storytelling and survival by providing examples of humor and resilience.

Sandi L. Wisenberg is the author of a collection of short stories, The Sweetheart Is In (Northwestern); an essay collection, Holocaust Girls: History, Memory & Other Obsessions (Nebraska); a chronicle, The Adventures of Cancer Bitch (Iowa); and the forthcoming The Wandering Womb, winner of the University of Massachusetts Press Juniper Prize in nonfiction. Her essays and stories are published widely in literary magazines and anthologies. She has spoken at Brown, Northwestern, Iowa, and many other universities.

Monica Prince teaches activism and performance writing at Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania. She is the author of How to Exterminate the Black Woman, Instructions for Temporary Survival, Letters from the Other Woman, and the forthcoming choreopoem, Roadmap. She serves as the managing editor of the Santa Fe Writers Project, the Diversity Advocate in Residence of the Sigmund Weis School of Business, and the 2023 Playwright in Residence for the Paterson Performing Arts Development Council. She writes, directs, and teaches choreopoems.


Planetary Consciousness: Art, Embodied Presence, and Ecology

Thursday, March 2, 2023
4:00-5:30 pm (CDT)

This event brings into conversation artists Janine Antoni and Victoria Vesna with art historian Kate Mondloch to address how art can encourage a holistic understanding of healing. Starting from the notion that well-being depends on a balanced relationship between individuals and their physical and social environment, speakers will ponder the interconnections between aesthetics and ecological consciousness. They will discuss how their respective works intersect with practices of mindfulness, ecofeminism, embodied cognition, and system thinking. Driven by the urgent need for planetary consciousness, the conversation will revolve around the potential art has to elicit awareness of the interdependence between Earth and mind ecologies.


Janine Antoni was born in Freeport, Bahamas. She received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College in New York and earned her MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. Antoni is known for her unusual processes, using her body as both a tool and a source of meaning. She carefully articulates her relationship to the world, giving rise to emotional states that are felt in and through the senses. In each piece, no matter the medium or image, a conveyed physicality is meant to speak directly to the viewer’s body.

portrait of Janine Antoni
Victoria Vesna is a media artist and Professor at the UCLA Department of Design Media Arts. She is the Director of the UCLA Art|Sci Center. Through her installations, she investigates how communication technologies affect collective behavior and perceptions of identity. Her work involves long-term collaborations with composers, nano-scientists, neuroscientists, and evolutionary biologists. Vesna is a co-editor of Database Aesthetics (University of Minnesota Press, 2007) and Context Providers: Conditions of Meaning in Media Arts (Intellect Ltd, 2011).
portrait of Victoria Vesna
Kate Mondloch is Professor of Contemporary Art History and Theory in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at the University of Oregon. Her research focuses on theories of art spectatorship and methods of inquiry that connect the sciences and the humanities. Mondloch is the author of Screens: Viewing Media Installation Art (University of Minnesota Press, 2010) and A Capsule Aesthetic: Feminist Materialisms in New Media Art (University of Minnesota Press, 2018). She is currently working on a book concerning body-mind awareness and contemporary art.
portrait of Kate Mondloch

For its inaugural year, the Marilyn T. and Byron C. Shutz Lecture Series was entitled "SPEAK UP! Building Racial Justice through Art, Pedagogy, and Writing."

See Past Events

SPEAK UP: Building Racial Justice through Art, Writing, and Pedagogy

Designing for Care: Inclusive Digital Pedagogies

Thursday, September 29, 2022
4:00-5:30 pm (CDT)

This presentation brings to light the reductive ways in which the technologies and bureaucracies of schooling attempt to flatten our differences. Dr. Stommel critiques the notion that students are interchangeable—that whether they are food insecure, queer, or homeless is of no real consequence to a system (of grades, tests, and credentials) that attempts to rank them tidily against one another. He advocates for identifying more ways to involve students in the design of their own learning. In view of this, Dr. Stommel encourages educators to design for the least privileged, most marginalized students, the ones more likely to have felt isolated even before the pandemic. He advocates for writing new policies and imagining new ways forward for students already facing exclusion.

Dr. Jesse Stommel is a faculty member in the Writing Program at the University of Denver. He is co-founder of Digital Pedagogy Lab and Hybrid Pedagogy: the journal of critical digital pedagogy. Dr. Stommel earned his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Stommel is co-author of An Urgency of Teachers: The Work of Critical Digital Pedagogy, as well as co-editor of Disrupting the Digital Humanities and Critical Digital Pedagogy: a Collection. He is also a documentary filmmaker and teaches courses about pedagogy, film, and new media.

Watch recorded panel

View slide presentation

portrait of Jesse Stommel

Divided Cities: The Effects of Redlining and Residential Segregation on American Communities

Thursday, October 20, 2022
4:00-5:30 pm (CDT)

The pandemic and the social justice movements of 2020 revealed continuing racial disparities in communities across the United States. Dr. Sheryll D. Cashin invites attendees to engage in a conversation about redlining and residential segregation in hopes of a more integrated and equitable future that leads to community healing in times of strife. By exploring the local history of redlining and its legacies with creative writers, lawyers, historians, and urban designers, she provides participants with a moment for reflection on this important history. Dr. Cashin suggests that we can envision and plan for a better future together by accounting for multiple perspectives and recognizing the ongoing inequities in our communities.

Sheryll Cashin is Professor of Law, Civil Rights, and Social Justice at Georgetown University. She is an acclaimed author who writes about the U.S. struggle with racism and inequality. Her most recent book, White Space, Black Hood: Opportunity Hoarding and Segregation in the Age of Inequality, addresses the role of segregation and redlining in reproducing inequality. Her books have been nominated for the NAACP Image Award for Nonfiction (2015), Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Nonfiction (2005, 2009, and 2018), and an Editors’ Choice in the New York Times Book Review (2004). Cashin is contributing editor for Politico Magazine. She has also written commentaries for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Salon, The Root, and other media.

Watch recorded panel

image of Sheryll Cashin

Educate-Organize-Advocate Conference

In collaboration with the Educate-Organize-Advocate (EOA) Conference, Shutz presented the following two events as part of the inaugural UMKC Social Justice Month in October 2022.

The EOA Conference encouraged participants to familiarize themselves with the Emergent Strategy philosophy and embrace the real power of change. It called for deepening relationships, building trust, and consolidating political partnerships. Attendees learned about the principles of Emergent Strategy, including adaptation, interdependence, collaborative ideation, fractal thinking, transformative justice, and resilience. Speakers used science fiction as a tool for strengthening imagination and invite participants to think beyond binaries and linear, short-term outcomes. The goal was to foster connection by considering how cultural practices such as song circles, altars/community power tables, and spaces for play and dance help us meet essential spiritual and emotional needs.

blue background with words Educate Organize Advocate

Emergent Strategy Keynote by Mia Herndon

Thursday, October 6, 2022
4:00-5:30 pm (CDT)

During this session, we will learn all about the Emergent Strategy philosophy. We will learn how to acknowledge the real power of change and be in the right relationship to it. The desire to deepen relationships, build trust, and political alignment are key objectives in this work. This is what we will strive to awaken in people’s longing, imagination, and work.

Mia Herndon (she/her/they/them) is a fellow at Harriet's Apothecary and serves on the advisory council of Black Feminist Future. Previously, she/they fulfilled the role of Executive Director of the Third Wave Foundation. Herndon is a queer-identified Black mother from the South, who dances and bikes for joy and mental health. She/they support(s) the healing and well-being of people, working as a network facilitator, licensed acupuncturist, somatic coach, and therapeutic bodyworker based in Brooklyn, NY.

Emergent Strategy Workshops

portrait of Mia Herndon

Emergent Strategy Workshop with Kawanza Billy

Thursday, October 13, 2022
4:00-5:30 pm (CDT)

Kawanza Billy (she/her) is Founder and Social Impact Strategist at K.Billy Push, a consulting company dedicated to creating community-centered social impact initiatives. Billy received her BA from The City University of New York at John Jay College where she majored in Political Science, focusing on Urban and Community Affairs. Currently, she manages youth advocacy and community service campaigns, leading educational, environmental justice, and public health programs. Billy also serves as National Advocacy Chair for the National Urban League Young Professionals.

portrait of Kawanza Billy

Emergent Strategy Workshop with chelsea cleveland

Thursday, October 27, 2022
4:00-5:30 pm (CDT)

chelsea cleveland (they/them) helped co-found Hearing Youth Voices, an intergenerational Black community organizing group focused on youth where they wore many hats such as organizer, facilitator, and Program Director. They are a multi-racial Black non-binary person who are also queer, fat, and disabled. cleveland are a Black feminist and a sci-fi/weirdo thinker from New London, CT. They are currently an Emergent Strategy Facilitator with Emergent Strategy Ideation Institute. They have led trainings on abolition, white supremacy, anti-blackness, racial monopoly capitalism, Black queer feminism, gender & sexuality, and many other topics.

portrait of chelsea cleveland