Reframing Racial Justice in Creative Communities: 2021 Speaker Series

Reframing Racial Justice in Creative Communities: 2021 Speaker Series Mainframe Studios | 10/25/2021

Mainframe Studios, in collaboration with SURJ-DSM, presents ‘Reframing Racial Justice in Creative Communities: A 2021 Speaker Series’. These events feature regional leaders presenting on a variety of topics related to race and diversity in our community. This speaker series is a part of Mainframe Studios internal processes in honoring our 2020 commitment to purposefully identifying, discussing, and challenging racism and its impacts. We have chosen to invite the public to join us for these talks in order to share insights from these invaluable speakers, and to educate community members on the impact of systems of oppression.

Each session is free and open to the public, with a direct goal of engaging our community in open and frank discussions around race related issues. We have planned four sessions in October, December, February, and April. We encourage our artists, community supporters, donors, and any other community members to attend one or all of these events. Please RSVP for each event on Eventbrite as space is limited.

October 31st, 4PM - 6:30 PM

SPEAKER / Joshua V. Barr, former Director of the Des Moines Civil & Human Rights Commission and Founder and Chief strategist of Raising The Barr, LLC

TOPIC / The R word or Race has been with us since the conception of the United States and continues to impact every aspect of our lives whether people want to admit it or not. Although race has been hovering around us like a spirit, we are still afraid to talk about it or do anything drastic to finally escape from its clutches. This Halloween, Joshua V. Barr, former Director of the Des Moines Civil & Human Rights Commission and Founder and Chief strategist of Raising The Barr, LLC will talk about why we’re so afraid of addressing race in our country and what we can do at a local level to finally exorcise the demon called racism.


December 12th, 4PM - 6:30PM

SPEAKER / Filmmakers Dr. Madison DeShay-Duncan and Richard Duncan, directors of The Center Street Story: An Urban Renewal Retrospective.

TOPIC / Understanding Social [In]Justice Through the Power of Place: The Center Street Story: an Urban Renewal Retrospective. An introduction to “The Center Street Story: An Urban Renewal Retrospective.” Participants will engage with filmmakers to gain greater understanding of the sociopolitical and economic intersections and implications of racialized inequality and inequity as occurred in Des Moines and throughout the country via 1950s national and local urban renewal policies and practices.

February 20th. 4PM - 6:30 PM

SPEAKER / Abena Sankofa Imhotep, founder and Executive Director of Sankofa Strategies Consulting, and Sankofa Literary & Empowerment Group. Board Member of boards of the American Red Cross of Central Iowa, the African American Museum of Iowa, Union of Black America, and Des Moines’ Selma.

TOPIC / Reframing Self-Awareness, This interactive learning exchange that will help attendees establish a racial framework that is personal, local, and immediate, raise awareness of their own racialized experiences and learn from others', reflect on their past and present racialized experiences to examine how their relationship with racial diversity affects their perspectives, and commit to action and accountability.

April 20th, 4PM - 6:30 PM

SPEAKER / Jordan W. Brooks, Owner of KNWSLF a DEI coaching and Consultancy firm. Brooks is also the Director of Equity, Inclusion, and Multicultural Student Success at Iowa State University.

TOPIC / Creative Approach to Identity: In this session, Brooks guides participants in exploring the ways in which creativity when coupled with truth telling and shared vision, can mobilize resistance to various forms of oppression and influence sustainable change for communities.The truth will set you free, creativity will sustain you: Creative resistance as a liberative way of being.