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Democracy & Debate Theme Semester

This university-wide educational initiative will engage with students, faculty, and staff on an exploration of free speech and exchange of ideas, what it means to be a member of a democratic society, and democratic engagement from a global perspective.

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Election 2020 in Context


As we collectively watch the post-election political climate, we all recognize that these are fractious, uncertain times for the United States, and for the entire world. Voting has already happened for the 2020 election, and everywhere we find both hope and worry about what the coming days and weeks will bring. See all that the Democracy & Debate Theme Semester is doing to help shed light on this tumultuous process, in our most recent newsletter.

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Democracy Cafe

Communicate. Learn. Understand

Democracy Cafés celebrate the ability of people to meet in public spaces to exchange ideas, engaging each other both socially and intellectually.

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Featured Event

Radical Acts - Building an anti-racist future through Art : A conversation with Sheryl Oring and Sherrill Roland

February 25, 2021 1:00 pm Stamps Gallery in partnership with the Democracy & Debate Theme Semester is proud to present a conversation with leading social practice artists Sheryl Oring and Sherrill Roland, Creative Capital awardees and practitioners nationally renowned for their long-term and ongoing performance projects - I Wish to Say and The Jumpsuit Project. Oring and Roland leverage their socially engaged art practices as a vehicle to activate democracy and build awareness of the systemic barriers within the incarceration and criminal justice systems. Join us for a lively and intimate conversation with Oring and Roland, who are also longtime friends and collaborators, as they discuss the urgency and complexities of making socially engaged projects in our present moment. The conversation will be moderated by Stamps Gallery Director, Srimoyee Mitra.

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Featured Signature Initiative

Creative Campus Voting Project Survey

Help the Creative Campus Voting Project continue to energize U-M student voting and increase campus participation! The Ann Arbor City Clerk's Satellite Office at UMMA facilitated 5,412 registrations and received 8,501 ballots this past election cycle. Click on "Read More" below to take this 2-minute survey on the satellite clerk's office at UMMA to assist the Creative Campus Voting Project as it develops its efforts for 2022.

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a portrait of Angela Dillard
What makes Democracy & Debate distinctive is not only the contributions from across the university, but also the connection to the presidential election season and watch parties for the debates. This gives us the potential to have conversations that span the campus, the state and the globe. We’ve never had a theme semester with this kind of reach.
- Angela Dillard, Professor, U-M College of Literature, Science, and the Arts Chair, Presidential Debate Academic Advisory Committee