SEMC2023 Pre-conference Workshop

Photograph from Utopia Project After Dark  program. Justice for Breonna Taylor, Yetunde Sapp, 2020. Paint and spray paint on plywood. Anacostia Community Museum, Smithsonian Institution. Gift of Levita Mondie and Yetunde Sapp.


Presented by the Smithsonian Institution’s Our Shared Future: Reckoning with Our Racial Past Initiative in collaboration with the Anacostia Community Museum.

Workshop date: Sunday, November 12, 10am-4pm   

Workshop time: 10 am  - 4 pm

Workshop location: Galt House Hotel, Violet Room, West Tower

Workshop fee: $25.00 (Lunch and morning/afternoon beverage breaks provided)  

Join staff from the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum for a workshop centered on the development and execution of the museum’s interactive gallery experience The Utopia Project: Inspiration for Creative Activism. For over 50 years, the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum has exposed injustices and has provided a platform for under-told stories in our urban community. Many of these powerful examples have illuminated the power of collective action toward a more equitable future. The Utopia Project sought to deconstruct the reasons why social change happens. Why does one tactic work and another fails?

Through a series of panels and experiential activities, participants will learn of the museum’s approach to community outreach and engagement with its collaborators to produce The Utopia Project.  Participants will be asked to center themselves and their museum practice to imagine what a project that seeks to address social change would look like in their museum and/or local community.

The Utopia Project was created in collaboration with The Center for Artistic Activism, a non-profit organization that helps people use their creativity and culture to affect power. Their founders' book, The Art of Activism, as well as the Center for Artistic Activism's ongoing research and training provided many of the driving principles illustrated in The Utopia Project.

To register for the SEMC2023 Annual Meeting and this workshop click the link below:

Register for SEMC2023 + Workshop

If you have already registered for SEMC2023, you can add the workshop at the link below:

Add the Workshop To Your Existing SEMC2023 Registration

Who should attend:  This hands-on learning opportunity is designed for practitioners, artists, and advocates who take a community-centered approach to amplifying, collecting, and preserving Black art, history, and culture within galleries, libraries, archives, and museums. We encourage emerging professionals to participate in our workshop.

What to Expect: This Pre-Conference workshop will provide an immersive learning experience to advance collaboration and professional resilience through the sharing of best practices in personal advocacy, community engagement, exhibition planning, and public programming that is highly accessible to the local community.

What participants will learn:  

1. Multidisciplinary collaboration

2. Cultivating and harvesting relationships between artists and museums

3. Developing highly interactive, visitor-centered experiences

Workshop presenters: 

Asantewa Boakyewa, Deputy Director, Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum

Travis Helms, Project Director of the Smithsonian’s national initiative, “Our Shared Future: Reckoning with Our Racial Past" 

Workshop also features two Washington, DC artists highlighted in the exhibition:

Yetunde Sapp, Visual Artist 

Roach Brown, Performing Artist and Activist

Learn more about The Utopia Project exhibition here:

Scholarships Available!

September 16, 2023: The scholarship application period has closed. All those who applied will be notified of the outcome by the end of September.

August 15, 2023: SEMC is pleased to announce the availability of ten (10) scholarships to the 2023 Annual Meeting in Louisville, Kentucky generously funded through a grant from the Smithsonian Reckoning with our Racial Past (RWORP) Program. 

Five (5) scholarships to support education and program staff with 5 years or less in the field and five (5) scholarships to support education and program staff with 6-10 years experience. *Scholarships will cover the pre-conference workshop fee ($25) and full SEMC conference registration ($350).

Applications will be accepted through Friday, September 15, 2023

Applications will be reviewed by a Scholarship Committee comprised of SEMC and Smithsonian representatives. All applicants will receive notification of the outcome via email by Friday, September 29, 2023.

For further information, please contact
Zinnia Willits at 843-224-0876 or

*Please note, scholarship recipients who have already registered and paid for SEMC2023 will receive a registration credit for SEMC 2024 Annual Meeting in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Registration refunds for the 2023 Annual Meeting will not be issued. Applicants that are not selected for a scholarship can register for SEMC2023 at the early-bird rate ($350).