rLab Students Share Research on Pathways to a “Happy City”

Aaron Lam, a member of rLab’s “Green Team,” speaks during a presentation on the systemic causes of food insecurity and possibilities for change.

On a Sunday afternoon in April, a group of students gathered in a Duke classroom to present their research.

This wasn’t for a class: they were passionate enough about the theme to work on these projects on their own.

Driven by the conviction that we need to reimagine current systems –  especially the ones driving climate change – the Regenerative Futures Lab, or rLab, is a place for students to envision big societal changes that prioritize human and ecological wellbeing.

“Regenerative thinking is a mode of economic thought that centers wellbeing, justice, reciprocity, and care,” said Emma Williams, one of the group’s facilitators, as she introduced the presentations.

Unlike other labs in which the research agenda is set by a faculty member, rLab is primarily student-driven. This meant that the students had to decide not only what they were going to do in rLab, but how they would do it.

The first semester was a challenge, and there were inevitable mistakes. For example, one student team wanted to survey community members experiencing food insecurity in order to center the perspectives of people most directly affected by the problem. But they were too late to get approval from the Institutional Review Board, which oversees research using human subjects.

“It’s a tall task to ask people to think outside educational structures – especially for those of us who didn’t know what IRB is,” Williams joked.

Dirk Philipsen, Associate Research Professor of Economic History at the Sanford School of Public Policy and Kenan Senior Fellow, points to a map of Durham, N.C. as it exists in the present. The exhibit imagined an alternative Durham as a “regenerative city.”

“We’re very successful in structured environments with guidelines and guardrails,” Dirk Philipsen, rLab’s faculty advisor, told the students. “It’s not so easy to do this in an environment that we self-create.” Still, he said, “the process of how we’re doing it needs to match the vision.”

rLab is democratic and de-hierarchized. The students collectively decide on a theme related to regenerative thinking, form teams, select research projects, determine their scope, and collaborate on them. First, they work to understand the many facets of a social problem, then they research existing resources and proposed solutions, then they identify pathways to transformation and potential challenges. A small group of facilitators help the others stay on track.

This semester, the students chose the theme of “Building a Happy City.”

“What systems are at the root of food insecurity and how can communities dismantle them, especially in Durham?” said Sophie Lair, opening her team’s presentation.

The students interviewed many experts in Durham, including food security coordinator Mary Oxendine. The interviewees were “adamant” that food insecurity is primarily an economic problem, not an access problem. “There is limited evidence for a causal relationship between geographic access and food insecurity,” said Emely Arredondo.

There wasn’t one primary cause of food insecurity, the students said. Instead, it was “a complex web of interactions between multiple factors,” including social attitudes that undergird policy.

“There is an interaction between who we believe deserves to eat and the federal policies that shape how people get access to food,” Aaron Lam said.

The second team focused on rethinking Durham as a regenerative city. They noted that Durham is in a period of economic expansion, but while its population is increasing rapidly, “growth is overriding care.”

Model of an alternative Central Campus
The team’s model of Central Campus includes apartments for students and a multi-use building for small businesses.

The students said they spent a lot of time exploring Durham, but they chose to focus on a much smaller area, Duke’s Central Campus, as a site for envisioning regenerative structures. They created an exhibit featuring a model that includes a mixed-use building with space for Durham small businesses.

Based on the concept of the 15-minute-city, their exhibit also included several imaginary routes by which people could move through a city throughout the day, from home to work and other spaces in-between. One of these routes included a stop at a cemetery.

“To be truly regenerative we need to re-examine how we interact with death,” said Jason Kreinberg. “The ways we interact with death are taboo, sad, avoidant. Cemeteries should be welcoming, not repelling.”

“In a lot of Durham, the biggest nearby green space was a cemetery,” said Jason Kreinberg. “How can we rethink them so that we’re using land in a way that’s more invigorating to daily life?”

Throughout the presentations, the students were candid about the scale of problems like food insecurity and gentrification, but they maintained that change was possible. To address food insecurity, for instance, they discussed land banks and agricultural cooperatives as “compelling solutions.”

“What would Durham look like if we had agricultural cooperatives that employed significant numbers of people?” offered Kerrina Good.

The focus remained on how systems impacted people.

“All of this is based in how we consider ourselves as community members,” said Emma Williams.

rLab is currently accepting applications for the 2023–2024 academic year. The theme is “Debt — What We Owe to Each Other.” Read more and apply here.

Team members of the “citySLAY” Team pose in front of their pop-up exhibit. From left to right: Leo Sanabria, Kyle MacLellan, Surya Cannon, Coral Lin, and Jason Kreinberg.

John Biewen Joins Kenan Institute for Ethics as Director of Storytelling and Public Engagement

John Biewen
John Biewen. Photo: Alex Boerner.

Journalist, audio producer, and host of the Peabody Award-nominated podcast “Scene on Radio” John Biewen joined the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University as Director of Storytelling and Public Engagement on May 1.

After 20 years as a reporter and correspondent for NPR News, American Public Media, and Minnesota Public Radio, Biewen began working as an audio producer and educator at Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies in 2006.

In 2015, Biewen launched the podcast “Scene on Radio.” In his second season as host and producer, he chose the theme “Seeing White,” an examination of how race has been constructed throughout history. While Biewen’s work previously engaged with race — notably, in “Little War on the Prairie,” his account of the 1892 Dakota War that was first broadcast on “This American Life” in 1992 — “Seeing White” marked the first time he chose to focus on whiteness rather than people of color.

Before launching the season, he was unsure what the reaction to it might be. He considered that he might lose half of his audience. Instead, it exploded: “Seeing White” has now been downloaded over six million times. In 2017, the podcast was nominated for a Peabody Award. It is frequently included on course syllabi and racial equity resource lists. In 2020, Biewen gave a TEDx Talk in Charlottesville on the topic of race drawn from his research on “Seeing White”; it is now posted on the main TED site and has nearly three million views.

“The response to that series was a real surprise and changed how I conceived of the show,” Biewen said. “I’d been posting a hodgepodge of one-off episodes and a few mini-series, but now I thought, ‘OK, so this is what we’re going to do on this podcast: deeply researched, season-long series that take the audience along on journeys into big societal issues that shape all of our lives.’”

Subsequent seasons of “Scene on Radio” have focused on themes including patriarchy, democracy (“The Land That Never Has Been Yet,” also nominated for a Peabody Award in 2020), and climate change.

“Each season builds on the previous ones, making connections and showing how all of these hierarchies, injustices, and crises are intertwined and, in reality, inseparable from one another,” Biewen said.

Biewen served as the Center for Documentary Studies’ Audio Program Director for 18 years. He has taught documentary storytelling and audio production to hundreds of students from Duke University and UNC–Chapel Hill, as well as week-long summer institutes in audio production to continuing studies students from all over the country and world.

Along with Alexa Dilworth, he co-edited the volume “Reality Radio: Telling Stories in Sound” (2010; 2nd edition 2017), part of the Documentary Arts and Culture Series at UNC Press.

“John Biewen is an incredibly gifted storyteller, as the remarkable success of ‘Scene on Radio’ attests,” said David Toole, Interim Director of the Kenan Institute for Ethics. “Adding John and his podcast to Kenan deepens the Institute’s longstanding commitments to public-facing programs that focus on societal inequities. His engaging, thorough explorations of racism, gender, democracy, and the climate crisis could not be timelier, and I’m excited about his plans for future seasons.”

Along with Michael Betts II, UNC-Wilmington Assistant Professor of Film Studies, Biewen will collaborate with the Kenan signature program America’s Hallowed Ground to produce a multi-episode podcast about the 1898 race massacre and coup d’etat in Wilmington, NC.

He will continue to host and produce “Scene on Radio” at the Kenan Institute for Ethics. The topic of the next season is capitalism.

Announcing the Regenerative Futures Lab (rLab)

Regenerative Futures Lab tile featuring representations of mountains, trees, and human formsFaced with a staggering amount of evidence about the current state of the world — climate crisis, escalating inequality, disintegrating democracies — Thomas Mande, member of the new Regenerative Futures Lab (rLab) planning team, stated: “We need to do better. And I think we can by preparing ourselves for success in building a different future, not by preparing for success in the current reality.”

Funded by the Kenan Institute for Ethics, rLab was launched in the spring semester of 2023 with two student teams working on research projects focused on the theme “Building a Happy City.” In the future, it will run for the duration of the academic year, providing funding for several student teams to search for paradigm shifting, regenerative answers to specific topical areas that will differ each year. The thematic focus for the 2023-2024 academic year is “Debt – What We Owe to Each Other.”

Students in rLab actively seek collaborations and input from experts in the field, faculty, and outside organizations in a process that aims to generate non-extractive relationships between cohort members and the world around them as an essential part of breaking down exploitative constructs of work and community.

“This is a very exciting opportunity, responding to growing numbers of students, here and elsewhere, urging us to take more seriously how current systems threaten their future prosperity,” said Dirk Philipsen, faculty director of rLab. “Our team is very grateful to Kenan for supporting this important endeavor.”

The Lab is part of a larger set of initiatives to address the needs of a world centered on human flourishing, ecological responsibility, inclusive decision-making, and regenerative systems thinking.  In the Fall of 2023, FOCUS will launch a new cluster, “Regenerative Ethical Futures,” in which seven Duke faculty will teach courses ranging from youth activism, eco-feminism, to beyond neoliberalism and a pluriverse of thriving futures.

Toward the end of each academic year, rLab will also host a symposium on regenerative futures, bringing to campus some of the most innovative and creative thinkers and doers on the thematic topic of the respective year.

David Toole, current director of the Kenan Institute for Ethics, sees these programs as an important contribution to the university’s wider initiatives to address climate change and a world beyond climate crises. “Our students seem ready and eager to ask bigger systemic questions, and I want to encourage such efforts,” said Toole. “More than ever, we need our best and brightest young minds working on better answers.”

For further information on the new Regenerative Futures Lab, please contact Dirk Philipsen at dirk.philipsen@duke.edu

rLab Call for Applications: “Debt — What We Owe to Each Other”

Creating something new with the tools of the old does not work. Our current systems are failing us — that is easy to see. But what might a new, better system look like?

Applications are now open for the 2023 Regenerative Futures Lab (rLab) sponsored by Kenan Institute for Ethics, Trinity College, and the Transformative Systems Project. Each semester, rLab will provide funding for several teams of students to search for paradigm shifting, regenerative answers to specific topical areas that will differ each year. The topical focus for the academic year 2023/24 is Debt — What We Owe to Each Other.

The Regenerative Futures Lab is a student-led research and action lab leveraging Duke’s resources to shift towards a regenerative economy. Students will work in teams of 5-6 to produce original results in the field of regenerative economics, policy, and activism. Both product and process of the students’ work will involve traditional and nontraditional pathways and final product components. The purpose of both product and process is to advance a regenerative future.

All teams will receive support from the director of rLab and the Kenan Institute, and will actively seek collaborations and input from experts in the field, faculty, and outside organizations. This process aims to generate non-extractive relationships between cohort members and the world around them as an essential part of breaking down exploitative constructs of work and community.

This lab is for students who sense that something is fundamentally wrong with the system in which we live — and that we study to become part of. Our aim is to empower such students to think beyond mainstream/dominant paradigms and towards a future that centers wellbeing, reciprocity, safety, and justice.

Application Deadline: August 28, 2023, midnight (there will be an additional application deadline for Spring 2024 applications)

Program Dates: September 5 – December 8, 2023; January 19 – April 24, 2024

Eligibility: Duke Undergraduate Student

Commitment/Expectation: All students will take part in a weekend workshop on regenerative economy hosted by the lab and explore possible subtopics before the lab meetings start. Students are expected to devote 6-8 hours a week to rLab. This time is split between lab/cohort meetings, independent research, and related events tied to the lab.

Award: One-time stipend of $1,200 per semester

Application Requirements:

  1. 100-200 words on (a) background (if applicable) in regenerative/transformative thinking and work; (b) specific interest/focus on a post-capitalist or post-growth or post-colonial or post-extractivist future
  2. 100-200 words in response to:  “If I could wave a magic wand, what 2 or 3 major changes in the world would I propose?”
  3. 100-200 words on why you would like to join the lab
  4. A short essay on something you have done that you’re most proud of
  5. Indicate whether you have (1) taken a transformative course (such as wellbeing/care/feminist economics; post-colonial realities; indigenous narratives, etc); (2) been a member of TSP; (3) engaged in organizing or research efforts with a transformative systems groups and/or scholar (such as wellbeing or care econ, post-growth, BLM/Extinction Rebellion/Fridays for Future etc)  – none of the above in any way represent requirements

Click here to apply

Same Certificate, Different Paths: Exploring Ethics through Courses and Experiential Learning

The Kenan Institute for Ethics offers an undergraduate Certificate in Ethics & Society with two pathways: course-based and experiential. Read about how the certificate and other programs at Kenan shaped the experiences of two graduating seniors.

Course-based Pathway

Sarai Chaidez
“This certificate lines up well with a lot of my personal and professional interests,” said Sarai Chaidez. Photo by Alec Himwich.

During the first semester of her freshman year, Sarai Chaidez found that Ethics 101, “The Challenges of Living an Ethical Life,” piqued her interest in philosophers that she’d never heard of before.

“I had not taken any kind of theoretical or philosophical course in high school,” she said. “That was not an option for me.”

Chaidez came to Duke as a first-generation, low-income student. “I experienced imposter syndrome very quickly,” she said, “culture shock, et cetera. So that was definitely a difficult transition for me at the beginning.”

Chaidez took Ethics 101 because it sounded interesting to her. She only found out later that it was the Gateway course for the Ethics & Society Certificate. She eventually fulfilled the requirements for the certificate’s course-based pathway by continuing to enroll in courses that she found compelling.

She joined a “What Now?” seminar the following semester. A program of the Kenan Institute for Ethics, “What Now?” pairs first-year seminar courses exploring purpose and well-being with a half-credit Common Experience that offers students resources for intellectual growth. Chaidez’s “What Now?” seminar was on evolution, and it raised interesting questions about what it means to be a human being.

She gravitated towards classes that were listed as “EI” — Ethical Inquiry, one of the six modes of inquiry in the undergraduate curriculum. “Almost all of my classes have those [designations]…all of my classes are typically discussion-based and provoke very interesting questions about readings.”

These courses also helped to restore her confidence as a student at an institution like Duke. “What helped me was those discussion courses,” she said. “I’m so glad that I’ve been able to learn how to articulate myself through discussion and how to be more opinionated, but not in a bad way.

“I connected with a lot of amazing professors and people that I could be comfortable around and be vulnerable with. I don’t think that that’s something you can really find everywhere, and that in part makes Duke very special to me.”

Chaidez chose to major in Political Science. She concentrated on Political Behavior and Identities, which explores how and why people subscribe to certain ideologies or identities. At the same time, she became more interested in exploring different perspectives and ideas.

“I think the perception with Political Science is that it’s very argumentative in nature, and while there’s definitely a time and place for that, that has certainly not been my approach. I don’t think that that’s really a sustainable way to have conversation. Having classes with that EI component really helped me to be exploratory in my conversations as opposed to getting an argument across.”

As part of the Ethics certificate, she also took Religious Studies courses that enabled her to think more deeply and critically about her faith.

“I actually grew up Christian myself, and coming to college was the first time that I was able to explore what I really believed on my own, instead of having ideas about religion presented to me. I took those classes to learn more theologically what the foundations of my actual beliefs are, and maybe those beliefs have changed a little bit, and that’s okay.”

“I think that’s what gravitated me towards this certificate and my classes: just finally having the outlet in my life to be able to ask these fundamental questions. I didn’t really have that kind of opportunity growing up, and that’s not exclusive to religion. Everything was just sort of ‘Here is the answer.’ No questions asked.”

In her capstone course, which focuses on ethics and neuroscience, Chaidez wrote on neurolaw, particularly the use of neuroscientific evidence in insanity defense cases. “What are the legal and ethical implications of using different kinds of neuroscientific imaging [in court]?” She plans to work in the legal non-profit sphere in Washington, D.C., before applying to law school.

Chaidez says that pursuing the Ethics & Society Certificate helped her to become more comfortable with uncertainty, and to embrace challenging questions with a sense of curiosity rather than pushing aside new possibilities with foregone conclusions.

“There is no direct answer to these really difficult questions,” she said. “That is the struggle – and beauty – of ethics.”

Experiential Pathway

Lana Gesinsky
“It has felt very experiential and community-oriented, my time at Kenan,” said Lana Gesinsky. Photo by Alec Himwich.

When Lana Gesinsky was admitted to Duke, she planned to be a pre-med student, but the first time she loaded up her bookbag on DukeHub with courses that “sounded interesting” – international relations, political psychology, and the FOCUS cluster in Ethics, Leadership & Global Citizenship – she thought, “Maybe pre-med isn’t for me.”

Instead of enrolling in organic chemistry, Gesinsky applied to FOCUS.

A program for incoming first-years, FOCUS brings together students in clusters of courses on a shared theme. Students also share residential space, go on a trip together, participate in service-learning opportunities, and have group dinners with faculty members.

“I really liked the Ethics FOCUS,” Gesinsky said. “It made my freshman year. I made my best friends from it. It gave me a sense of community, having smaller classes. All my other friends were in huge lecture classes. It didn’t really feel like their professors knew their name, and here I was, getting dinner paid for.”

As part of FOCUS, Gesinsky took a course on refugee rights and resettlement with former Kenan Institute of Ethics director Suzanne Shanahan. This led to her involvement with Launch Lab, which would later be called Citizenship Lab – a program that paired Duke student mentors with children from refugee families.

Mentoring through Citizenship Lab became one of most important experiences in Gesinsky’s Duke career. “Every Tuesday, for multiple hours, you would meet with your kid. You would do a group activity, play outside, do an arts and crafts, and then you would help them with their homework, and then the buses would take them back.

“It was really cool, because half the time we were learning about refugees and resettlement, and the other half we were actually connecting with refugees in the area. I’ve continued doing that program ever since. I do it every Tuesday and I’ve worked with the same girl since my freshman year. She’s my favorite person in the world.”

She was already logging a lot of hours through Citizenship Lab, so Gesinsky decided to pursue the experiential pathway for the Ethics and Society Certificate. While coursework is always an important component of the certificate, research and community-based field experiences also count towards its requirements.

In 2020, Gesinsky planned on embarking on another community engagement project when she applied to DukeEngage: Cape Town. In DukeEngage, students and communities collaborate on projects addressing critical social issues. Usually, students travel to their program sites, but DukeEngage temporarily shifted to an online program after the COVID-19 pandemic restricted international travel.

Gesinsky worked with the Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town to tutor and mentor adult refugees who were pursuing bachelor’s degrees. The only available method of communication was WhatsApp. It was a challenge, she said, and she wasn’t sure what kind of impact she was having. But at the end of the summer, many of her students sent her messages about how much they appreciated her help.

Gesinsky explored another Kenan Institute for Ethics offering in Pursuing Purpose, a program that pairs a spring semester course with funding for a summer internship. Students develop their personal senses of purpose through the course and use the internship to explore a career path that they think could lead to the kind of life they want.

“We did classes on love, and how much money you think you want to make, and balancing compensation with enjoying your job, and that class just made me think about things that I never thought of,” said Gesinsky. “I think Duke gives you so little time to actually think about what you want your future look like beyond your career, and reflect on your happiness, and how it’s going, and that was the main purpose of the class.”

Interested in exploring more career possibilities post-graduation, Gesinsky decided to go into consulting because it provides exposure to many different fields.

For Gesinsky, the Ethics & Society Certificate integrated beautifully with her Political Science major and Psychology minor. “I’m seeing so much overlap, and I’m constantly bringing something I learned from one realm and putting it into the other realm, which I think is awesome. It’s genuinely that interdisciplinary.”

She appreciates having the chance to think deeply about ethics throughout her Duke career, instead of isolated class sessions here and there. “I feel like ethics are usually just one day in a class. It’s like, we’re talking about a field, and we’ll talk about ethics for one day. But ethics should be a prolonged conversation.”

Dreams of Wilmington’s Past: Community Confronts History through Art

Spoken word poet Mahlaynee Cooper reads a dramatic monologue during the workshops’ sharing sessions. Cooper wrote from the perspective of a historic A.M.E church witnessing the 1898 Wilmington coup and massacre.

“Here’s the biggest mistake that people make when they’re writing a monologue,” the poet and playwright Howard Craft said to a group of people furiously taking notes. “It’s not a monologue: it’s a dialogue.” He explained that every character giving a monologue is talking to someone, and to write a good monologue, you have to figure out who that someone is.

Craft was sitting in a lounge at DREAMS, a center for arts education on the north side of Wilmington, North Carolina. He was one of eight artists giving free public workshops on March 4 on topics ranging from poetry to podcasting to songwriting.

Workshop participants included local artists, teachers, community members, and a group of under-caffeinated Duke University students, who piled into a van to ride to Wilmington during the early hours of the morning. They came as part of a class taught by documentarian Charlie Thompson and theater artist Mike Wiley, who organized the workshops with DREAMS as part of their ongoing project America’s Hallowed Ground.

A person holds a poster with brightly colored collaged elements
A participant holds up a collage created as part of a writing workshop with NC Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green.

A program of the Kenan Institute for Ethics, America’s Hallowed Ground works with communities who are using art as a means of confronting and contemplating painful histories. In the case of Wilmington, that history was a traumatic and politically consequential event: the massacre of 1898.

During the November election of 1898, an organized mob of white supremacists took control of the city. They forced Black elected leaders to resign, set the office of a Black newspaper on fire, and murdered Black people in the streets. Many others fled.

Despite the significance of the event — the only successful coup d’état in American history — it is still not widely known in the United States, or even in North Carolina.

“I didn’t hear anything about it in my regular schooling,” said Alana Austin, a workshop participant.

Austin grew up in rural Jacksonville, North Carolina, about an hour’s drive northeast of Wilmington. She said she first learned of the coup through Battle of the Books, an extracurricular reading program, when “Crow” by Barbara Wright was on the reading list.

“I read that and was shocked that this event had even happened, let alone in Wilmington, which was like two seconds from where I was,” said Austin. “It honestly was sort of surreal.”

“In the city of Wilmington, so many people don’t know about 1898,” said Mahlaynee Cooper, another participant. “When you have a group of people who don’t recognize your humanity, your history doesn’t mean anything because you don’t mean anything.”

Cooper is a poet from New York who has lived in Wilmington for over 12 years. She performs spoken word under the stage name Carrie Assata. She also runs Speak Ya Peace NC, a community showcase for poetry and artistic expression. Speak Ya Peace NC partners with arts organizations to draw attention to issues like dyslexia, child abuse, and racial bias and discrimination. She is a teaching artist at DREAMS.

When asked why she attended the workshops, Cooper said she wanted to cultivate her own artistic impulse. “When you’re always giving and teaching, you’ve got to get something that’s going to feed you.”

Currently a communications and development coordinator with Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity, Austin heard about the workshops from a sister attending Duke. She said she joined out of a desire to connect with the Wilmington community.

Four people hold four canvas with a mural on them
Workshop leaders and participants display a mural that was painted in two 90-minute workshops led by Cornelio Campos. It features archival images from 1898 as well as the participants’ own artistic interpretations of the event.

Austin described her experience during a workshop with muralist Cornelio Campos, who led participants in creating a mural that depicts the 1898 coup.

“I was really able to collaborate with the people that were there, and learn a lot from the professor,” she said. “The product that we made at the end was not only beautiful, but it was really powerful to see different people’s expressions of the event.”

Painted on four large canvases, the mural combines imagery from archival sources with expressionistic colors and the image of a bird flying across the sky.

“It was such a treasure to sit with these artists and glean from them,” Austin said.

Cooper participated in the playwriting workshop with Howard Craft. She took up his challenge to write a monologue from the perspective of a historic structure witnessing the 1898 coup. Cooper chose St. Joseph’s AME Church, which was built in the 1860s.

At a sharing session following the workshops, Cooper was the first to step up to the microphone, reading in a subdued but powerful tone.

They say I survived, but what does survival mean
When you see with the eyes that I’ve seen?
Been standing in this ground rooted for over 100 years
My backbone is strong, built brick by brick
By the freemasons, freed enslaved,
And those who couldn’t write their names.

After Cooper finished her poem, ending with the lines “Wilmington, I call out to you / Lead with love, or 1898 is coming right back to you,” the room burst into applause.

“I was nervous getting up on stage,” Cooper later said. “You just hold those things back because you know that your message is greater than your fear.”

During the sharing session, participants presented what they’d learned or created during the workshops, like how to audio-record an interview, or how to write a song based on a meaningful object. Some performed a series of choreographed movements with partners, evoking destruction, sorrow, and rebirth.

Workshop leader Jaki Shelton Green, the Poet Laureate of North Carolina, reminded the participants of the aphorism that “art is not finished until it is shared.”

Coming together in community to create art, Green suggested, can help repair historical and ongoing wrongs: a form of “relational reparations.”

“I am foolish enough to believe that we the creative makers can turn this around,” she said.

America’s Hallowed Ground will continue to work with communities in North Carolina and across the United States. The next site is Cherokee, North Carolina, where the Cherokee Historical Association memorializes the Trail of Tears.