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If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him. - John F. Kennedy
The world does not deliver meaning to you. You have to make it meaningful. . . . It’s a tough, unimaginably lonely and complicated way to be in the world. But that’s the deal: you have to live; you can’t live by slogans, dead ideas, clichés, or national flags. - Zadie Smith
What do the arts and humanities have to do with the common good? How might a poem, a portrait, or a performance shape our idea of what the common good looks like--or disrupt it? Please join Hopkins at Home and Common Question for a conversation with Atesede Makonnen and Andrew Motion, as they bring scholarly, creative, and civic engagement to the question of arts and the common good.
Find out more about Common Question here.
Atsede Makonnen is a doctoral candidate in English whose scholarship ranges from Othello to 19th-century British portraiture to Marvel comics. Her dissertation, “The Actual Sight of the Thing: Visualizing Blackness in Nineteenth Century British Culture,” examines how white visualization of black bodies in nineteenth century British culture led to the creation of a modern white gaze. The project investigates theatrical practice, children’s stories, poetry, novels and portraiture in order to argue that the successes of the British abolition movement inspired a new wave of anti-blackness and social segregation reliant on complex visual understandings of racial hierarchy. She holds a BA in English from Dartmouth College and an MA in Shakespeare Studies from King’s College London.
Andrew Motion is a Homewood Professor of the Arts the the Department of Writing Seminars. He is the author of 13 books of poetry, most recently Randomly Moving Particles (2020). He has also written biographies (of John Keats and Philip Larkin among others), and two novels (Silver and The New World) as well as a book of essays, Ways of Life. He is the co-founder and co- director of the Poetry Archive and Poetry by Heart; he was knighted for his services to poetry in 2009. Before joining The Writing Seminars he was Professor of Creative Writing at Royal Holloway College, University of London, and was Poet Laureate from 1999-2009, where he advocated for poetry in the public and political spheres.