Newark and 25 Cities Around the World Will Create a Global Traveling Exhibit on Immigration and Climate Justice

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Humanities Action Lab will convene a 4-day international gathering to launch the exhibit’s development

(NEWARK, NJ, Oct. 11, 2017) - From October 18-21, the Humanities Action Lab (HAL), an international coalition of universities, issue organizations, and public spaces, will gather in Newark to launch a global traveling exhibition on immigration and climate justice -- to be created by local communities in over 25 cities around the world. The occasion will celebrate the recent arrival of the HAL hub to Express Newark, a community arts incubator in collaboration with Rutgers University-Newark. “HAL and Rutgers-Newark are a perfect fit,” said Rutgers University–Newark Chancellor Nancy Cantor. “The group’s extraordinary work at the cutting edge of the public humanities already is leveraging work happening at Rutgers-Newark at the intersection of the arts, sciences, and professions—work that our faculty, students, and staff have been doing for generations that reflects the complexity of the challenges and opportunities facing our community and communities across America. We couldn’t be more thrilled about the possibilities for what HAL and Rutgers-Newark can accomplish through our new relationship.  

This international gathering will begin with the opening reception of HAL’s first project, States of Incarceration, the first nationally traveling multi-media exhibition on how America became the world’s incarceration leader. The exhibition, created by over 700 students and others directly affected by incarceration in 20 communities, is traveling to nearly two dozen cities, with events and companion exhibits focusing on each host community’s local stories.  The Newark iteration, Seeking Asylum, Resisting Detention, is a collaboration between students from Rutgers University-Newark’s Graduate Program in American Studies, their professor, Dr. Mary Rizzo, and two local migrant advocacy organizations, First Friends and American Friends Service Committee. Opening keynote speaker Glenn E. Martin, founder and president of JustLeadershipUSA stated, “It has been an honor to serve as an advisor for this amazing project.  In pressing forward with our efforts to end mass incarceration in America, it is crucial that we remember the long and sordid history that brought us to the point of being the world’s largest jailer. The States of Incarcerationtraveling exhibition has played an important role in elevating the voices and documenting the memories of those of us who have experienced the American prison system first hand.  Only by understanding the suffering caused by our criminal justice and immigration policies can we create new systems that live up to our ideals of justice and fairness” 

The Newark international convening has two parts:

  • scholars, criminal justice reform advocates, and students from 26 cities explore how to activate community memory to combat mass incarceration through the States of Incarceration national traveling exhibition;
  • students, scholars, and people working on the front lines of immigration and climate justice from around the world share local stories and design a new globally traveling exhibition. This exhibition will seek to activate memories of displacement to build new movements for justice.   

Register for the convening here:   

HAL partner universities to date include Arizona State University, Brown University, DePaul University, Duke University, Durham University (UK), Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Johnson C. Smith University, Michigan State University, Northeastern University, Rutgers University-Newark, Rutgers University-New Brunswick, Skidmore College, SUNY Plattsburgh, The New School,, Universidad de Los Andes, University of California, Riverside, University of Connecticut, University of Massachusetts Amherst, University of Miami, University of Minnesota, University of  Montana, University of New Orleans, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, University of Pretoria (South Africa), University of Texas at Austin, Vanderbilt University, and Winston-Salem State University.   The Humanities Action Lab has been made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, National Endowment for the HumanitiesWhiting Foundation, and the Open Society Foundations.

Kimberlee Williams, Director, Communications and Marketing,, 973-353-5262