The Sonia Sanchez Series

photo credit: Peter Forbes

Thursday, Sept. 13, 7 p.m. Sonia Sanchez Series lecture and reading by Carolyn Finney, the Lyric Theatre, 300 E. Third Street. This is the opening event of KWWC2018.

Carolyn Finney, Ph.D. is a writer, performer and cultural geographer. As a professor in Geography at the University of Kentucky, she is deeply interested in issues related to identity, difference, creativity, and resilience.  In particular, she explores how issues of difference impacts participation in decision-making processes designed to address environmental issues.   More broadly she likes to trouble our theoretical and methodological edges that shape knowledge production and determine whose knowledge counts. Carolyn is grounded in both artistic and intellectual ways of knowing - she pursed an acting career for eleven years, but a backpacking trip around the world and living in Nepal changed the course of her life. Motivated by these experiences, she returned to school after a 15-year absence to complete a B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. The aim of her work is to develop greater cultural competency within environmental organizations and institutions, challenge media outlets on their representation of difference, and increase awareness of how privilege shapes who gets to speak to environmental issues and determine policy and action. Carolyn has appeared on the Tavis Smiley show, MSNBC, NPR and has been interviewed for numerous newspapers and magazines. Most recently an interview with Carolyn in the Boston Glove was cited as one of the top ten ideas/stories of 2014. Along with public speaking, writing and consulting, she serves on the U.S. National Parks Advisory Board that is working to assist the National Park Service in engaging in relations of reciprocity with diverse communities. Her first book, Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors was released in 2014 (UNC Press).

The Sonia Sanchez Series honors the indelible spirit of the poet and her many visits to the neighborhoods of Lexington by bringing a major thinker whose writing impacts Black culture and social justice issues. She participates in the Kentucky Woman Writers Conference and gives a keynote address, free and open to the community. The series is chaired by Patrice K. Muhammad, who is founder and editor of the Key Newsjournal, serving Central Kentucky’s Black community since 2004, and host of the syndicated talk radio program Key Conversations. Patrice began her career in journalism as a reporter for her middle school newspaper in Detroit. She is also a wife, mother, and blogger.