Skip to main content

R3 #3 – ARTivism: Using Arts-based Scholarship to Interrogate and Dismantle Racism

Race, Racism & Racial Equity Symposium

View the third event of the R3 series, “ARTivism: Using Arts-based Scholarship to Interrogate and Dismantle Racism.”



See below for related resources.


Travis AlbrittonTRAVIS ALBRITTON is a Clinical Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at UNC-CH’s School of Social Work. He is the Director of the Chapel Hill 3-Year MSW Program and the Faculty Liaison for the Dual Degree MSW/M.Div. program. Dr. Albritton is a two-time recipient of the School of Social Work Excellence in MSW Advising Award. He has also received the School of Social Work Excellence in Teaching Award and has been recognized numerous times with the dean’s recognition for excellence in teaching. Dr. Albritton is the chairperson for the School of Social Work diversity committee and he serves on the University’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council. Dr. Albritton was selected by the Council on Social Work Education to receive a competitive scholarship to participate in the Management Development Program offered by the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The program is designed to prepare mid-level managers to address the complex issues faced by leaders in higher education. His research interests include educational equity in K-12, academic achievement among Black males and the importance of closing educational opportunity gaps for children of all ages. He has presented nationally on various topics including Critical Race Theory, the importance of critical conversations in the classroom and the educational needs of Black male high school students.


Charlie DupeeCHARLIE DUPEE is an MFA candidate in the Department of Art and Art History. He is a visual artist and a Maine native. His work approaches topics of intersectionality, untold history, and futurism in reaction to systems of white supremacy, heteronormativity, and capitalism. His formal background in painting and photography help develop a multidisciplinary vocabulary of queer, American, kitsch, nonsense. 


Michael FigueroaMICHAEL A. FIGUEROA, (he/him/his) Assistant Professor, Ethnomusicology, specializes in music and politics in the SWANA region (South West Asia and North Africa) and its diasporas. The first phase of his career has focused on music in the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, culminating in his first book, City of Song: Music and the Making of Modern Jerusalem (Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2021). Prof. Figueroa has recently embarked on a second major project, “Music and Racial Awakening in Arab America,” a study of post-9/11 Arab American race consciousness through an expansive study of musical life across genres and geographical boundaries. The research for this project is currently underway, and he welcomes inquiries into this subject from any interested musicians, scholarly collaborators, and prospective students. 


Susan HarbageSUSAN HARBAGE PAGE is a visual artist with a background in photography and site-specific installation. Her work explores immigration, race, gender, and nation. For almost ten years she has been making annual pilgrimages to the U.S.–Mexico Border to photograph the objects left behind by immigrants as they enter the United States. Her recent exhibition at La Stellina Arte Contemporanea Gallery in Rome, Italy “Objects from the Borderlands,” included a performance, “Sewing Politics.” She also maintains a studio practice in Umbria, Italy where she makes artwork exploring the gendered labor of textile production. Her teaching uses the lens of art and activism and the creative process to look at contemporary issues from a feminist and intersectional perspective. Her courses focus on three major themes: identity, art and social change, and gender in the contemporary art world. She uses art-making and the creative process to give students experiential, student-centered, hands-on learning situations. 


Sonny KellySONNY KELLY is a world-class performer, storyteller, motivator, speaker, and comedian. He holds a PhD in Communication & Performance Studies from UNC-Chapel Hill (2020). As a lover of theater and performance, Sonny has acted professionally on stage and television for over 20 years. He is also a writer and director of live theater as well as the creator and co-host of the CrossOver radio show on WIDU Radio in Fayetteville, NC. As a professional storyteller, he has performed for the National Association of Black Storytellers, the Black Storytellers’ Alliance, as well as schools, businesses and civic organizations across the country. 


Jacqueline LawtonJACQUELINE E. LAWTON, Associate Professor, Department of Dramatic Art; Dramaturg, PlayMakers Repertory Company; Access, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee, Joan H. Gillings Center for Dramatic Art, was named one of the top 30 national leading black playwrights by Arena Stage’s American Voices New Play Institute. Her plays include Anna KBlood-bound and Tongue-tiedDeep Belly BeautifulThe Devil’s Sweet WaterThe Hampton YearsIra Aldridge: the African RosciusLions of Industry, Mothers of InventionLove Brothers SerenadeMad BreedNoms de Guerre; and Our Man Beverly Snow. Lawton has worked as a dramaturg and research consultant at Active Cultures, Actors Theatre of Louisville – Humana Festival of New American Plays, African Continuum Theater Company, the Arden Theater (Philadelphia, PA), Arena Stage, Discovery Theater, Ensemble Studio Theater (New York, NY) Folger Shakespeare Library, the Ford’s Theatre, Horizons Theater (Atlanta, GA), Howard University, the Hub Theatre, among others.  

Special Guest:

CJ SuittCJ SUITT (he, him/they, them) is a performance poet, arts educator, and community organizer from Chapel Hill, NC, whose work is rooted in storytelling and social justice. CJ was recently appointed as the first Poet Laureate of Chapel Hill, NC. CJ co-directed, produced, and starred in a historical reenactment of the 1947 Freedom Rides, performed at many national and local music festivals, including Gnarnia, Shakori Hills and Bonnaroo and acted in a production of Hands Up: 6 Playwrights, 6 Testaments. His career as an educator has allowed him to work with young people awaiting trial at the Durham Youth Home, older inmates whose voices have been silenced within the Orange County Correctional Facility, and high school and college-aged men pushing to redefine masculinity in their schools and communities. Additionally, he has collaborated with organizations such as Transplanting Traditions, Benevolence Farm, and Growing Change on the intersection of storytelling and food justice. 


Related Resources from CJ Suitt:

Related Resources from Susan Harbage Page:

  • Between the River and the Wall, Sumter County Gallery of Art, SC

Related Resources from Jacqueline E. Lawton:

  • EDGES OF TIME, written by Jacqueline El. Lawton is a one-woman show that takes us into the life of the marvelous Marvel Cook, the first Black woman journalist to have her own byline in a major U.S. newspaper. Marvel’s trailblazing journey to becoming a successful journalist and a passionate activist in the face of national reckoning resonates and reverberates for us all today. Starring PlayMakers company member Kathryn Hunter-Williams. Streaming March 22–April 4, 2021 via PlayMakers. Purchase tickets here.

Related Resources from Sonny Kelly:

  • HAUNTED, by Sonny Kelly, addresses what a daddy says to his baby boy when the boogie man is real. Confronted by a surge in White supremacist activity and Confederate nostalgia in the nation that he calls home, one father struggles to explain this wave of hatred and bigotry to his son. In HAUNTED, actor and playwright, Dr. Sonny Kelly takes on the voices of historians, ancestors, elders, youths, politicians, pundits, and poets, as he traces the roots and routes of modern-day anti-Black violence in America. Kelly recounts the roots of hatred and fear embedded in the story of the 1898 lynching of Manley McCauley in Orange County, North Carolina. He also tracks the routes of racialized violence in America as manifested in the colonial criminal justice system, the Wilmington Massacre of 1898, the 2015 shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, and the 2020 lynching of Ahmaud Arberry in Brunswick, Georgia. Kelly digs deep to examine the impact that racial violence has historically had on our minds, bodies, and souls in the land of the free and the home of the brave. March 27, 2–4 p.m. Free Livestream, via the Orange County Arts Center.Register.

Related Resources from Michael A. Figueroa:


  • “A Country Called Amreeka” by Alia Malek
  • “Arab America: Gender, Cultural Politics, and Activism” by Nadine Naber
  • “How Does it Feel to Be a Problem” by Moustafa Bayoumi
  • “Between Arab and White” by Sarah Gualtieri
  • “Arab Routes: Pathways to Syrian California” by Sarah Gualtieri
  • “Race and Arab Americans Before and After 9/11” by Amaney Jamal and Nadine Naber


  • Omar Offendum 
    Instagram: @offendum
  • City of Djinn
    Instagram: @cityofdjinnmusic
  • Mona Haydar
    Instagram: @themostmona
  • TALsounds
    Instagram: @talsounds
  • NAXÖ
    Instagram: @naxoriental
  • Hegazy
  • YallaPunk
    Instagram: @yallapunk


Arab American National Museum
Instagram: @arabamericanmuseu

Related Resources: