Research Institute for the Arts, Humanities and Social Justice Hosts Film Screening

April 26, 2023
Africa World Documentary Film Festival

San Diego State University is now home to the new Institute for the Arts, Humanities, and Social Justice (IAHSJ). Launched in May 2021 and ramping up its work throughout 2022, the new interdisciplinary Institute serves as a hub for the arts and social justice across the University and in the community. In its first year, the Institute helped to spearhead and facilitate social justice murals created by student and alumni artists across campus and hosted its first event, a regional virtual symposium on the unhoused population and how the arts can intervene, which was attended by more than 200 people. In addition, the Institute has been a core partner in the new BA degree that SDSU will offer at Centinela State Prison starting August 2023. 

Understanding Art

On May 2nd, 2023, the IAHSJ will host a student gathering with a screening of two films from the Africa World Documentary Film Festival, titled “DANCEDANCE/RE♢VOLUTION” and “The Rise of the African Female Drummer.” The event will be held in Arts Building South  522, the Prison Arts Collective room, at 1:00 p.m., and will provide attendees with free snacks. Both films are centered on the theme of music, and will be prefaced by an introduction from the festival’s director, Dr. ‘Niyi Coker, and the director of DANCEDANCE/RE♢VOLUTION, Dr. Mark Freeman. Both Coker and Freeman are professors at SDSU. RSVP’s for the event are encouraged through this form.  

The Institute was founded by the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts (PSFA)  in collaboration with College of Arts and Letters, and is led by Professor Annie Buckley, Associate Dean of Faculty Advancement in PSFA, alongside an advisory council that includes Dr. Niyi Coker, Director of the School of Theatre, Television, and Film, Dr. Monica Casper, Sociology Professor and Special Assistant to the President on Gender-Based Violence, Dr. Kevin Delgado, Director and Associate Professor of the School of Music and Dance, and Dr. Kishauna Soljour, Assistant Professor in Classics and Humanities and African Diaspora Studies and Associate Director of the Public & Oral History Center. Launched with the intention to “support the  potential of the arts, arts activism, and humanities to build bridges, foster imagination, and  creativity, and inspire dialogue while raising awareness, expanding access, and building  connection” (IAHSJ Proposal), the institute will continue to promote the connection between art, social justice and the SDSU community and support projects with aligned goals. “In our second year, we wanted our main event to be student-centered and student-led, aligning with our goal to actively engage students in community-based research and practice at the intersections of art and social justice. I am thrilled that we will feature a film directed by SDSU faculty, ‘DANCEDANCE/RE♢VOLUTION,’ as well as ‘The Rise of the African Female Drummer,’ which centers on women artists and musicians from Africa,” says Director Annie Buckley.

As of 2023, the IAHSJ has grown to support several projects: the Africa World Documentary Film Festival; Comics, and Social Justice @ SDSU; the Prison Arts Collective; the TuYo Theatre; Growing Hope; Social Justice Murals; and Second Chance Pell at SDSU. As the institute continues to foster this new growth, they have created a website and social media pages on Instagram and Facebook where those who are interested can follow institute news. These pages will feature information on the Institute’s projects and will announce any future events. "As Dean of CAL when the Institute was established, I did not want our college to miss an opportunity for cross-campus collaboration, especially regarding matters about which we care deeply. Social justice is at the heart of so much of what we do in CAL, and the Institute beautifully melds artistic expression, humanistic discovery, and the quest for a better world. As demonstrated by the upcoming film event, which promises to be enriching and illuminating, the Institute is poised for deep impact,” said Casper.