SESSION 3: The City
APRIL 30, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM; Reception 6:30 PM
Featuring: Dr. Gail Thomas
Venue: The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture
Borders and boundaries have become a source of concern for people worldwide. A border is a limit, a line that marks an end, keeps things in or out. As Robert Frost’s poem famously states, “Good fences make good neighbors.” But that is only one side of the story. A border marks not only an end but also a beginning on the other side, that which is not so familiar to us. The Spanish word for border is frontera, the French frontiere, in each case denoting an expanse beyond what we know, a new horizon of possibilities. A border is also a margin and a periphery–spaces outside the normal range of our vision that yield their own riches. As the website of our partner PEN America puts it: “The topic of borders and boundaries has been at the forefront of people’s minds, and it is important that these borders remain open, so that ideas, dreams, stories, and people can cross them easily, adding to the richness on either side.” In this three-part series, we will examine positive aspects of borders
SESSION 1: Language (literature, journalism, storytelling)
Anna Badkhen has spent most of her life in the Global South. Her immersive investigations of the world’s iniquities have yielded six books of literary nonfiction, most recently Fisherman’s Blues. She has written about a dozen wars on three continents, and her essays and dispatches appear in periodicals and literary magazines such as the New York Review of Books, Granta, The Common, Guernica and the New York Times. She is at work on her first novel.
Tom Huang is assistant managing editor for The Dallas Morning News, an editing fellow at The Poynter Institute, and has worked at The News since 1993 as a reporter. He has successfully launched two Knight Foundation-funded projects – the Hispanic Families Network and Storytellers Without Borders.
SESSION 2: Art (performance, visual, dramatic)
Sanderia Faye serves on the faculty at Southern Methodist University, and is a professional speaker, activist and sommelier. Her novel, Mourner’s Bench, is the winner of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in debut fiction, The Philosophical Society of Texas Award of Merit for fiction, and The 2017 Arkansas Library Association, Arkansiana Award.
A native of Taipei, Taiwan, Jin-Ya Huang arrived in the United States at age 13. As an immigrant, she was inspired to relate her experiences to her new life. At the intersection of Mother / Artist / Educator / Mentor / Community Organizer, Huang realized this is the narrative she wanted to use to project kindness that makes a positive, everlasting social impact. Huang is the founder of Break Bread, Break Borders (BBBB), catering with a cause social enterprise empowering refugee women economically through the storytelling of cooking, food, and culture. Her interests are to invest in social, financial and human capital to promote racial / gender equity, diversity, and inclusion. *Catering for the event will be provided by Break Bread, Break Borders. Click here for more info on this incredible organization.
David Lozano is the Executive Artistic Director at Cara Mia Theatre. David specializes in writing, directing and producing bilingual plays for the North Texas Latino community. Some of his notable writing credits include Crystal City 1969 (co-written with Raul Treviño), Nuestra Pastorela (co-written with Jeffry Farrell), To DIE:GO in Leaves, by Frida Kahlo, The Dreamers: A Bloodline, and Cholos y Chulas (all devised with Cara Mía Theatre). Lozano recently completed the inaugural art Equity Facilitator Training at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and currently serves on the national Latina/o Theatre Commons’ Steering Committee.
SESSION 3: The City will feature Dr. Gail Thomas, Founding Executive Director of the Dallas Institute and key figure in the progression of events in Dallas over the past two decades that have seen the burgeoning of Downtown Dallas, the building of Dallas’s three signature Santiago Calatrava bridges, and the development of Dallas’ Trinity River as the primary destination parkland and green space for our city. A psychologist by training and honorary AIA architect, Gail speaks about the city in terms of its “soul and spirit,” the currents and forces among its citizens that give it motion and momentum and determine its character.
This Boundaries and Borders session will be largely interactive. After speaking briefly about the city and “City Limits”—their origin and purpose, their function today as thresholds rather than walls (the ancient and medieval practice)—she will ask questions of the audience about our city: what are its strengths and limitations? What should its dreams and aspirations be? And perhaps most poignantly: what is the “matter”—with and of the city?
Dr. Gail Thomas is a Fellow of the Dallas Institute along with being the creator of its annual program Center for the City. Thomas served as the Institute’s Founding Director for seventeen years and has throughout her career been a strong advocate for the active presence of the humanities in the life of the city. She taught at The Dallas Institute, Schumacher College in the United Kingdom, and The University of Dallas, where she directed the Center for Civic Leadership. Thomas was instrumental in the creation of Pegasus Plaza in downtown Dallas and also led the successful effort to recreate the Flying Red Horse landmark sign in downtown Dallas.
Admission: Free; Registration required.