Michigan, who do you think you are?

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An upcoming symposium, with a focus on film, art and literature, will explore the Michigan perspective in creative expression.


The Michigan Film, Art & Literature Symposium, November 12 & 13 at the Grand Rapids Art Museum, 101 Monroe Center, will bring together scholars, artists and community leaders from around the state. Event partners include Grand Valley State University School of Communications, Grand Rapids Art Museum and Grand Rapids Public Library.

The events on Saturday include special guest speaker Jennifer Guerra, Michigan Radio arts and culture reporter/producer, who will discuss “Cultural Trends in Michigan,” and keynote speaker Kevin Budelmann, president of Peopledesign, who will explore the idea of “The Michigan Brand.” Afternoon breakout sessions include writers, artists and filmmakers. The Symposium is designed to be a catalyst for creative thinking that produces an environment for connecting, focusing, and developing a collective vision. Participants are encouraged to contribute to the conversation.

“It’s important to include the humanities in the re-imagining of Michigan,” said Toni Perrine, interim director of the School of Communications and professor of film and video production. “We want to provide a platform for public discourse about how we identify ourselves and how we are perceived by others.”

Perrine will be a moderator and presenter at a Sunday panel on “Dystopic Detroit?” Her session will examine “Eminem, Chrysler and the New Detroit.” The panel also features Heather Addison from Western Michigan University, speaking on “Detroit and ‘Ruin Porn,” and photographer Brian Kelly’s recent work, “This is Also Detroit.”

Other Grand Valley participants include Caitlin Horrocks, assistant professor of writing, who will moderate a Saturday Michigan Writers Roundtable, which also features Chris Havens, associate professor of writing. The closing discussion on Sunday will be facilitated by Paul Wittenbraker, associate professor in the Department of Art & Design, who will work to synthesize ideas generated throughout the conference.

Additional support is provided by the Peter C. and Emajean Cook Foundation, Grand Valley State University: Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies; Writers Series; and Meijer Center for Writing and Michigan Authors.

A complete schedule and more information is available at www.artmuseumgr.org. Sessions are free; seat reservations are recommended via http://www.michigansymposium.org.