Wednesday, April 21, 2021, 11:00 a.m.12:30 p.m.
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Join MCAD President Sanjit Sethi, Joseph Kunkel, and Caroline Woolard for Slow Burning Fire: A Conversation on Dialogues and Narratives with special guests Shari Davis and Dominic Willsdon.

Slow Burning Fire is a series of conversations about shaping cultural leadership and resiliency in a COVID and post-COVID world. It comes with the belief that the pandemic has created a necessity to recalibrate our approach to some of the most pressing issues of our time, and particularly from the lens of cultural equity, leadership, creative practice, sustainability, education, and the built world.


Sanjit Sethi, president of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, has two decades of experience as an artist, curator and cultural leader. Sethi’s previous positions include Director of the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design at George Washington University, Director of the Center for Art and Public Life, Barclay Simpson Professor, and Chair of Community Arts at the California College of the Arts; and Executive Director of the Santa Fe Art Institute.

Joseph Kunkel, a citizen of the Northern Cheyenne Nation, is the Director of MASS Design Groups’ Sustainable Native Communities Design Lab in Santa Fe, NM. As a community designer and educator, he is working on, a growing portfolio of work in Indian Country focused on the research, design, and construction of exemplary Native American Indian housing nationwide.

Caroline Woolard employs sculpture, immersive installation, and online networks to imagine and enact systems of collaboration and mutual aid. She has co-founded barter networks and (2009-2019), (2014-present), and the Study Center for Group Work (2015-present) and her work has been commissioned by and exhibited in major national and international museums, including MoMA, the Whitney Museum, and Creative Time.

Shari Davis is the Executive Director of the Participatory Budgeting Project. Davis brings nearly 15 years of government service and leadership, a passion for youth engagement, and a dedication to centering equity in youth engagement and inclusive government to the role.

As Director of Youth Engagement and Employment for the City of Boston Davis launched Youth Lead the Change, the first youth participatory budgeting process in the US, which won the US Conference of Mayors’ City Livability Award. Prior to being the Executive Director, Davis led PBP’s strategic initiatives and oversaw technical assistance and advocacy.

Davis is a 2019 Obama Fellow, joining a cohort of 20 global civic innovators and leaders working with their communities to create transformational change. In summer 2020, Davis delivered a TED mainstage talk, which has been viewed over 1.3 million times. Hand in hand with a passionate team, Davis works each day to build real community-led decision-making power.

Dominic Asmall Willsdon is the Executive Director of the Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University, and an associate professor of art education at VCU. He was formerly Leanne and George Roberts Curator of Education and Public Practice at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2006-18), a Pedagogical Curator of the 9th Mercosul Biennial in Porto Alegre (2013), a Co-Curator of the 9th Liverpool Biennial (2016), and Curator of Public Programs at Tate Modern (2000-2005). Recent curatorial projects include Public Intimacy: Art and Other Ordinary Acts in South Africa (2014), Public Knowledge (2016-19), Suzanne Lacy: We Are Here (2019), Fernanda Laguna: As Everyone (2020), Ibrahim Ahmed: It Will Always Come Back to You (2021). Publications include Public Servants: Art and the Crisis of the Common Good (MIT, 2016), Visual Activism (JVC Sage, 2016), The Life and Death of Images: Ethics and Aesthetics (Cornell, 2008). He is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Visual Culture.