Upperman Center to Host 29th Annual Association for Black Culture Center Conference

Thursday, October 15, 2020

UNCW’s Upperman African American Cultural Center will be the host of the 29th annual Association for Black Culture Centers Conference scheduled for Oct. 29-31. The virtual event will bring together scholars and students from black culture centers from across the country.

This year’s conference, entitled "Virtually Black: Cultural Centers Advancing Afrofutures,” offers myriad virtual and digital formats and discussions about challenges and solutions of the current lived environment through themes that consider ownership, Afro-futurism and creative aesthetics, said Sean Palmer, executive director of the Upperman African American Cultural Center.

“Cultural centers are all grappling with how to effectively convene community,” said Palmer. “Our hope is to use Misha Green (television writer and producer), Sun Ra (jazz composer), Ytasha Womack (author, filmmaker and dancer) and Octavia Butler’s (author) understandings of Afro-futurism to guide us into how we make an impact in a world where we cannot physically convene. We are deeply thinking about how Black people will be included in a beautiful future.”

Notable conference speakers include Morgan DeBaun, CEO of Blavity and AfroTech; 9th Wonder, famed hip hop producer and music mogul; Mark Anthony Neal, pop culture scholar; political scientist and former HBCU president Joseph L. Jones; Teddy Burgh, chair of UNCW’s Department of Religion; and Ytasha Womack, whose work on afro-futurism is well-regarded across academia.

The conference also features a virtual cooking class, virtual yoga and aerobic classes, singing sessions and storytelling, a poetry slam and a concert series from around the country.

“We believe that we have sought to make the conference nuanced, groundbreaking, innovative and one that invokes a spirit of comradery,” said Palmer. “We hope that participants will walk away inspired and better equipped to do their work in their respective communities and that people will feel connected to each other from across vast space and time.”

Individuals interested in attending the conference can register here. The cost is $125 for ABCC non-affiliated staff, faculty or community members and $75 for non-affiliated undergraduate, graduate and professional students. Fees for ABCC-affiliated members are $100 for staff and faculty and $55 for undergraduate, graduate and professional students. Group rates are also available.

-Venita Jenkins