All events are free and take place at UMMA unless otherwise noted.

Oct 7

The Ways of Water: Art, Activism, and Ecologies Symposium - Day 1

This symposium brings together a diverse group of practitioners, including artists, designers, activists, scholars, scientists, policy analysts, urban planners, and thinkers to discuss what may well be the most important issue of our time: access to clean water and the fight for environmental justice. Held in partnership with the University of Michigan Museum of Art and the Stamps Gallery and building on themes present in the UMMA exhibition Watershed and Stamps Gallery’s LaToya Ruby Frazier: Flint is Family in Three ActsThe Ways of Water symposium continues to unravel the story of water, its critical role, and the way it connects us all. 

Diverse practitioners have been invited in order to underscore the need for a multiplicity of voices needed to confront these issues. The Ways of Water symposium brings together perspectives of artists, activists, community members alongside those of scientists and policy makers. 

Day 1: Friday, October 7, 9:30 am – 8 pm
Morning Sessions at Stamps Gallery, 201 South Division Street, Ann Arbor MI 

9:30 am: Welcome Remarks / Stamps Gallery

Welcome Remarks / Stamps Gallery & UMMA, Srimoyee Mitra & Jennifer Friess
Opening Remarks by Carlos Francisco Jackson, Dean of Stamps School of Art and Design

10:00 am: Session 1 — Running Water: Contextualizing Current Understandings of Water
Panelists: Bonnie DevineOsman KhanKate Levy, and Morgan P. Vickers
Moderator: Perrin Selcer
The opening session, Running Water, considers how narratives about water shape the role that water plays in our lives. Beginning with the question : How have our approaches to water and the dynamics of access contributed to our current relationship with water, panelists will explore how narratives, relationships, and experiences with water are affected by or have affected water use, policies, and infrastructure.

11:45 am: Exhibition tour: Flint Is Family In Three Acts, led by Stamps Gallery Director Srimoyee Mitra

Afternoon & Evening Sessions at University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA), 525 South State Street

2:00 – 3:00 pm: Virtual Keynote — Winona LaDuke
Location: UMMA, Helmut Stern Auditorium (Lower Level)
Come watch the virtual keynote with fellow symposium participants streamed live at the Helmut Stern Auditorium. You can also watch this virtual keynote online.
Winona LaDuke Winona LaDuke is an economist, environmental activist, author, hemp farmer, and former two-time Green Party vice presidential candidate. LaDuke is known worldwide for her thoughts and lectures on climate justice and renewable energy and as an advocate protecting Indigenous plants and heritage foods from patenting and genetic engineering. She was named to the first Forbes ​“50 over 50 Women of Impact” list in 2021 and has been recognized by Time magazine, with the Thomas Merton Award and Reebok Human Rights Award, and was named the Woman of the Year by Ms. magazine in 1998. LaDuke is the author of several books, including, most recently, To Be a Water Protector: Rise of the Wiindigoo Slayers. A Harvard University graduate with a degree in rural economic development, she devotes much of her time to farming on the White Earth reservation in Minnesota. LaDuke is an Anishinaabekwe (Ojibwe) enrolled member of the Mississippi Band Anishinaabeg.

3:30 – 5:00 pm: Session 2 — Intervention and Innovation in Water Infrastructure and Justice Movements
Location: UMMA, Helmut Stern Auditorium (lower level)

Panelists: Alice JenningsLisa LapeyroSenghor Reid, and Joe Trumpey

This panel features more recent interventions and innovations that have been developed, proposed, and enacted in a shifting water landscape. It examines how artwork, design, community actions (including protest, advocacy, and the development of new organizations), and recent court cases and new laws actively shape our use of and access (or lack thereof) to water. 

5:00 pm: Session 3 — Connections Across the Watershed
Location: UMMA, Lizzie & Jonathan Tisch Apse (1st floor)

5:00 pm: Reception and refreshments with Performance by The Sister Tour

6:30 pm: Exhibition tour of Watershed, led by UMMA curator Jennifer Friess
and featuring exhibition artists Kate LevyDoug FogelsonShanna MerolaBonnie DevineRozalinda Borcilă, and Senghor Reid.

Additional information and full 2-day schedule.

Symposium events are free and open to all. Please contact Jennifer Junkermeier-Khan, Stamps Gallery at jenjkhan@​umich.​edu for additional information or with questions.


The Ways of Water: Art, Activism, and Ecologies symposium is co-presented by Stamps Gallery and UMMA in partnership with UMMNH and the University of Michigan Library. It is co-sponsored by U-M Matthaei Botanical Gardens and U-M Joseph A. Labadie Collection and supported by the U-M Office of the Vice President for Research and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. 


Lead support for this exhibition is provided by the U-M Office of the Provost, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Michigan Arts and Culture Council, Susan and Richard Gutow, and the U-M Institute for the Humanities. Additional generous support is provided by the U-M School for Environment and Sustainability, Graham Sustainability Institute, and the Department of English Language and Literature. Special thanks to Margaret Noodin and Michael Zimmerman, Jr. for translating the gallery texts into Anishinaabemowin.  

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