The Buffalo Humanities Festival is s city-wide event that examines Buffalo as it relates to the arts, history, culture, etc. The festival was started in 2014 by the University at Buffalo’s Humanities Institute, in tandem with a number of other higher learning education and art institutions including Buffalo State, Canisius College, Niagara University, SUNY Fredonia, Albright-Knox Art Gallery and the Burchfield Penney Arts Center.
When we think about the current state of Buffalo, we tend to think of the Medical Campus, buildings being developed, the waterfront, etc. The mission of the Humanities Festival is to also consider the people who live in Buffalo, and how these projects and developments tend to affect the communities and neighborhoods where we live. By holding talks, discussions and events that surround humanitarian issues, we can better understand the problems that we are still facing, while attempting to address them at the same time.
Following is a schedule of events for the 2016 Buffalo Humanities Festival:
Thursday, September 22
“The Economics of Segregation: A Town Hall on Race and the Buffalo Renaissance”
Downtown Public Library | Free registration here
Thursday evening’s event, which will be held at The Buffalo & Erie County Public Library and is sponsored by the New York Council for the Humanities, will focus specifically on the economics of segregation. Buffalo’s distressed economy, like many industrial cities (Detroit, St. Louis, Cleveland), began in the later half of the 20th century and marked the city, especially the East Side, with familiar images of urban blight such as barren lots and worn-down homes. Today, many see Buffalo on the upswing – millennials are flocking to Buffalo for the low cost of living and the prospect of owning a home. However, add to this economic upturn a legacy of segregation that ranks Buffalo among the top five most segregated cities in the country and it becomes readily apparent how African Americans were hit hardest by the economy’s decline after WWII and overlooked by today’s upswing. And when you add segregation to the mix, “economic renaissance” becomes a positive code for “gentrification.”
Must economic growth come at the expense of one group over another? What might just, equitable development look like? How can we develop economically and socially so that the lowest members of society grow as well? These and other questions will be addressed in “The Economics of Segregation.”
The panel will feature Henry Louis Taylor Jr, Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at University at Buffalo; Clotilde Dedecker, President and CEO of Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo; Rev. James Giles, President of Back to Basics Ministries, and Keith Lucas, Director of Community Planning for the Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency. Francisco Vasquez, President and CEO of Child & Family Services, will moderate. Before opening up the floor for public discussion, our panel will address how we can develop economically and socially so that all members of society can share in the “renaissance” of Buffalo.
Afterwards, organizations at work on these issues will host public info sessions in the library foyer. Organizations include National Federation for Just Communities, OPEN Buffalo, HOME, and more. For complete information and to register, click here.
Friday, September 23
Acclaimed science writer Dava Sobel headlines Buffalo Humanities Festival
8PM – Albright-Knox Art Gallery
VIP event with the author at 7pm, followed by a talk on “The Rebirth of the Heavens” at 8pm, with a book signing to follow. Read more about Dava Sobel and her books here. Dava Sobel will be introduced by Mayor Byron Brown. Purchase tickets and VIP passes here
Saturday, September 24
Outdoor Renaissance Festival
Rockwell Hall – Buffalo State
Ongoing outdoors from 10:30am-4:30pm: FREE Family-friendly events and entertainment outside, including food, games, song, theater, kids art projects, demonstrations, and information on Buffalo’s Renaissance. Purchase day-passes for talks and films here