Vanderbilt University is partnering with Fisk University, the Frist Art Museum and Millions of Conversations to host “Engine for Art, Democracy and Justice” (EADJ), a trans-institutional series of virtual conversations and artistic collaborations that address four themes over eight episodes with the objective of exploring creative approaches to living together in the South(s).

Photo of Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons
Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons (photo: John Russell/Vanderbilt)

Initiated by Dr. María Magdalena Campos-Pons, as part of her appointment as the Cornelius Vanderbilt Endowed Chair Professor of Fine Arts, the EADJ is a platform for academic, creative, and social exploration that takes visual representation as a focus for developing new knowledge and new practices. Dr. Campos-Pons has invited Marina Fokidis to be the program curator.

The 2020 EADJ program, “Living in Common in the Precarious South(s),” will offer a set of vibrant discussions, examining the consequences of social and historical inequities on the southern imaginary as seen in art from Latin America, Africa, southern Europe, and the American South. The program includes eight “episodes,” which will be hosted as webinars throughout the Fall 2020 semester.

This initiative brings Carrie Mae Weems’s RESIST COVID TAKE 6! public art campaign to Nashville, with banners being unveiled at the Frist Art Museum, Vanderbilt’s Fine Arts Gallery, and Fisk University’s Carl Van Vechten Gallery. Weems’s series draws attention to the racial inequalities exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

For a complete schedule and additional information, visit Vanderbilt University’s website.

Episode 6: Performativity and the Social Body

EADJ’s sixth episode will consider performativity as a practice of resilience, resistance and transcendence. Sociality, subjectivity, and other concepts of embodied research, will be discussed as antidotes to structures of oppression, inequity, white supremacy, and patriarchy. Paying close attention to emotional and political gestures that bring buried histories to the fore, we will re-discover and conjure ways to survive in this world.


Octavio Zaya, Writer, curator, editor; Executive Director, Cuban Art Foundation, Boston/New York


– Paul Preciado, writer, philosopher, curator, Spain
– Okwui Okpokwasili, choreographer and performer, US
– Regina José Galindo, artist, Guatemala


Pablo Lafuente, director, Modern Art Museum Rio de Janeiro, BR

Programs are subject to change.

If you are thinking about joining the Frist Art Museum, there couldn’t be a better time.
Anyone who purchases a new Frist Art Museum membership on-site at the museum will receive a special 20% discount on items purchased in the gift shop the day that membership is purchased.