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Civic Commons: Exploring Willamette's Role in Advancing Engaged Democracy

Drawing upon the concept of the “public commons” as shared physical and/or intellectual spaces where communities come together to share knowledge and resources, Willamette's Civic Commons aims to gather members of the University community around the strategic priority of Democratic Institutions. The day's events will showcase the ways in which students, faculty, and staff are already studying and practicing engaged democracy, and will foster new conversations and collaborations around topics of mutual interest.

The day will include activities at both the Schnitzer Center in Portland and the University Center in Salem, and will feature three events:

Big Idea Sessions

Join with classmates and colleagues in cross-disciplinary, timely discussions around civic life and engaged democracy.
  • Sessions in Portland & Online (in-person streaming in Salem)

    Join via Zoom

    11 a.m. | Art & Activism
    Moderator: Meghann Gilligan-Koehn
    With Teressa Raiford and Tai Carpenter, founders of Don’t Shoot PDX + the Black Gallery
    Locations: Mediatheque, Salem in-person streaming in Autzen (UC), and Zoom 

    1:30 p.m. | Artist Residencies in Government
    Moderator: Jen Cole
    With CAIR Lab Amanda Lovelee, Johanna Taylor, Mallory Rukhsana Nezam
    Locations: Mediatheque, Salem in-person streaming in Autzen (UC), and Zoom

    2:30 p.m. | Art & Literary Translation within the #WomanLifeFreedom Movement in Iran & Beyond
    Moderator: Jay Ponteri
    With Poupeh Missaghi, Sanaz Masoumi
    Locations: Mediatheque, Salem in-person streaming in Autzen (UC), and Zoom

  • Sessions in Salem

    9:10 a.m. | More than "Doing Good": Civic Engagement as a Pedagogical Tool for Experiencing Democracy in Action
    Moderator: Tommy Van Cleave
    Location: Cat Cavern (UC)

    10:50 a.m. | The Politics of Distraction: How Anti-Queer Legislation Matters for the Future of Democracy
    Moderator: Robin Maril
    Location: Cat Cavern (UC)

    1:15 p.m. | Democracy as Capacity: Practical Implications of Ober’s Assessment of the Original Meaning of “Democracy”
    Moderator: Tim Johnson
    Location: Cat Cavern (UC)

    2:15 p.m. | Breaking Through the Bubble: Pursuing a Mutually Transformative Relationship with the Local Community
    Moderators: Emilio Solano & Tommy Van Cleave
    Location: Alumni Lounge (UC)

    3:15 p.m. | Exploring and Growing Student Affairs Role in Strengthening Democratic Agency
    Moderators: Heather Kropf, Olivia Muñoz, & Tommy Van Cleave
    Location: Alumni Lounge (UC)

Lightning Talks

Hear students and faculty share their recent scholarship and projects on engaged democracy through quick, visual presentations.

  • Live-streaming from PNCA & Salem campus

    This is a live-streamed event with in-person and streamed speakers at PNCA in the Mediatheque and at Salem campus in the Alumni Lounge.

    Time: 12–1 p.m.

    Join via Zoom


    • Miguel Roderiguez (PNCA): Designing with People, Not for People: Reflections on collaboration within non-profit, museum, and educational institutions
    • David Gutterman (CAS): The Conversation Project
    • Kristin Rogers Brown (PNCA): Co-Creation by Design: A New Model for Editorial Design
    • Sheryl Buske (Law): Beyond the Ballot Box: Recognizing Children as Stakeholders in Democracy
    • Linda Wysong (PNCA): Art as Public Dialogue
    • Greg Felker (CAS): Democratic Institutions in Comparative Perspective
    • Emily Ginsburg (PNCA): Conduits and Currents : Ways to Consider a Public
    • Nicole Iroz-Elardo (CAS): Public Health and Creating Healthy, Sustainable Communities in Marion County
    • Michael Rogers (PNCA): Three Ways of Looking at History
    • Janet Lorenzen (CAS): Climate Change and Environmental Justice

Projects Showcase

Learn from campus and community members about their democratic institutions work, and find ways to connect and collaborate.

  • Portland

    Location: Lemelson
    Time: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

  • Salem

    Location: Cat Cavern, Putnam University Center
    Time: 6–8 p.m.

Willamette University
Willamette University
900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.