Conversations/Conversazioni

The Academy’s signature series of events, Conversations/Conversazioni: From the American Academy in Rome, convenes leading artists, scholars, designers, historians, and museum leaders for frank, wide-ranging discussions on a variety of topics in the arts and humanities.

Joy Connolly & Alessandro Schiesaro – The Study of the Ancient World Today in the United States and Italy

Conversations/Conversazioni
AAR Lecture Room
McKim, Mead & White Building
Via Angelo Masina, 5
Rome, Italy
Lecture/Conversation
A aerial view of Rome, including the Forum and the Colosseum, with the Apennines behind

A view of Rome (photograph © Boris Gelman and licensed through Dreamstime)

The study of the ancient world has long underpinned cultural and institutional assumptions in Europe and the United States. But changes in those assumptions feed back into changes in the study. Very recently, the speed of change, and the pressure to change, has dramatically accelerated, both in the wider society and within the walls of the university. This conversation brings together two renowned scholars of ancient Rome to discuss the current state of things and how it might change in the decade to come.

The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation generously supports Conversations/Conversazioni at the American Academy in Rome.

Joy Connolly is a scholar of Roman political thought and literature and their Anglo-American reception. She writes and speaks frequently about the future of humanistic inquiry in the United States. She began her service as President of the American Council of Learned Societies in 2019. Previously she served as provost and interim president of the Graduate Center at the City University of New York, home of over 4,000 graduate students, and as Distinguished Professor of Classics. She has held faculty appointments at New York University, where she served as dean for the humanities from 2012 to 2016, as well as at Stanford University and the University of Washington. Committed to broadening scholars’ impact on the world, Connolly has advocated for doctoral education reform, publicly engaged scholarship, and changes to faculty reward structures. She has published two books with Princeton University Press, The State of Speech and The Life of Roman Republicanism, and over eighty articles, reviews, and essays. Connolly earned a BA from Princeton University in 1991 and a PhD in classical studies from the University of Pennsylvania in 1997. Her current book project argues for a global approach to the study of the world’s ancient cultures. She was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2021.

Alessandro Schiesaro is professor of Latin literature at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa, where he earned his BA and PhD and recently returned to teach after several decades spent mostly abroad. He previously held chairs at Princeton, King’s College London, Sapienza University of Rome, and at Manchester, where he was William Hulme Professor of Classics. His main fields of interest include Latin literature, literary theory, psychoanalysis and cultural history; he is especially fascinated by the interaction between poetry and philosophy, the role of poetry as a form of knowledge, and the intersection between memory and emotions. Alessandro edits the Classical journal MAIA – Rivista di Literature Classiche and is a member of the editorial board of several international journals. A member of Academia Europaea, he has been a visiting professor at Stanford and has lectured extensively in Europe and the US. He is currently serving as the Scuola Normale’s deputy director, after leading the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures at Manchester and the Sapienza School for Advanced Studies.

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For access to the Academy, guests will be asked to show a valid photo ID. Backpacks and luggage with dimensions larger than 40 x 35 x 15 cm (16 x 14 x 6 in.) are not permitted on the property. There are no locker facilities available. You may not bring animals (with the exception of seeing-eye/guide dogs).

The Academy is accessible to wheelchair users and others who need to avoid stairs. Please email us at events@aarome.org if you or someone in your party uses a wheelchair or other mobility devices so that we can ensure the best possible visitor experience. If you are someone with a disability or medical condition that may require special accommodation, please also email us at events@aarome.org.

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Black Europeans from Renaissance to Present Day

Conversations/Conversazioni
Film Screening
AAR Lecture Room
McKim, Mead & White Building
Via Angelo Masina, 5
Rome, Italy
Film Screening
Color film still showing two men (one with dark skin, the other with light skinned) dressed in Renaissance era clothes in a room

Still from the film Il Moro/The Moor (2021), directed by Daphne Di Cinto

In celebration of Black History Month, the American Academy in Rome is hosting an evening of live events, exploring the historical presence of Black Europeans dating back to the Renaissance. The program kicks off with a spoken-word poetry performance and a song by the rapper and poet Stretch, whose work examines the experiences of young people growing up in multicultural communities in the United Kingdom and France.

A screening of Il Moro/The Moor (2021), a short film by the director, producer, and actor Daphne Di Cinto, will then follow. Lastly, Di Cinto and the historian and professor Olivette Otele will be in conversation with AAR’s Curator-at-Large, Johanne Affricot.

Hidden or neglected, the presence of Africans and their descendants living in Europe from the late 1400s to the early 1600s was an important phenomenon and one that Di Cinto’s film and Otele’s book African Europeans: An Untold History bring to the fore. 

Il Moro/The Moor tells the untold story of Alessandro de Medici, the first Duke of Florence in 1530 and the first man of African descent to become a head of state in Renaissance Europe. While unveiling a true story from the past, the film aims to speak about the situations that Black Europeans still experience today and to celebrate the talent of today’s Afro-European community. 

African Europeans traces a long African European heritage through the lives of individuals both ordinary and extraordinary, uncovering a forgotten past, from Emperor Septimius Severus to enslaved Africans living in Europe during the Renaissance, all the way to present-day migrants moving to Europe’s cities.

Daphne di Cinto

Black Italian screenwriter, director, actor and producer, Daphne Di Cinto is an alumna of The Actors Studio Drama School and she played the Duchess of Hastings in Netflix’s Bridgerton. Il Moro-The Moor her directorial debut was longlisted for Oscars 2024. Daphne has received the Cultured Focus Visionary in Film Award during the 79th Venice Film Festival and the Leader of Change in Creativity Award at the 2023 Black Carpet Awards. She writes stories about migrations, identity and the female gaze.

Olivette Otele

Olivette Otele is a Distinguished Research Professor of the Legacies and Memory of Slavery at SOAS, University of London. Her area of research is colonial, post-colonial history and memory studies. Otele holds a Ph.D. in History from Université Paris La Sorbonne, France and received an honorary doctorate in Law from Concordia University in Canada in 2022. She is a Fellow, a former Vice President of the Royal Historical Society and a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales. She was the recipient of several prestigious national and international research grants. Otele was a judge of the International Man Booker Prize, has written numerous scholarly papers and books, and she is also a regular contributor to the press, television and radio programs in Britain, the US and France. She is broadcaster and a consultant for films and documentaries such as Chevalier (2023), on Disney+ and African Queens airing on Netflix (2023). Her latest books include an edited volume, Post-Conflict Memorialization: Missing Memorials, Absent Bodies (2021) and African Europeans: An Untold History (2020). She works with policy makers and other institutions to engage with the histories of colonial slavery and restorative justice strategies (Welsh Government Audit on Slavery and Colonialism and the Guardian Newspapers project Cotton Capital).

Stretch

Stretch is a Black Welsh rapper and poet whose creative journey started with using poetry as a coping mechanism for mental health. His work examines the experiences of young people growing up in multicultural communities in the UK and in France. His work as a poet features in George the Poet’s anthology, Part of a Story That Started Before Me: Poems about Black British History (Penguin, 2023). Stretch is a passionate, self-taught mix engineer. He has performed in different venues, including for the 10th Anniversary of Festival du Monde en Vues', one of the Caribbean islands biggest film festival in Guadeloupe and more recently at the National Gallery, London. His singles and mixed tapes are available on Spotify, YouTube, Soundcloud and most music platforms.

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For access to the Academy, guests will be asked to show a valid photo ID. Backpacks and luggage with dimensions larger than 40 x 35 x 15 cm (16 x 14 x 6 in.) are not permitted on the property. There are no locker facilities available. You may not bring animals (with the exception of seeing-eye/guide dogs).
 

The Academy is accessible to wheelchair users and others who need to avoid stairs. Please email us at events@aarome.org if you or someone in your party uses a wheelchair or other mobility devices so that we can ensure the best possible visitor experience. If you are someone with a disability or medical condition that may require special accommodation, please also email us at events@aarome.org.

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Cultural Patrimony and Collective Responsibility

Conversations/Conversazioni
New School, John L. Tishman Auditorium
University Center, Room U100
63 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY
United States
Lecture/Conversation
Cultural Patrimony and Collective Responsibility

Cultural Patrimony and Collective Responsibility with C. Brian Rose, Deborah Lehr, James Cuno, and Navina Haidar.

Please join us in New York for the latest installment of Conversations|Conversazioni: From the American Academy in Rome. Leading figures from the academic, preservation, and museum communities will engage in a thought-provoking discussion surrounding shared global responsibility in protecting cultural and intellectual heritage.

The panel of speakers will include: James Cuno, chief executive officer and president, J. Paul Getty Trust; Deborah Lehr, chairman, the Antiquities Coalition; Navina Haidar, curator, Department of Islamic Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art; and event moderator C. Brian Rose, James B. Pritchard Professor of Archaeology, University of Pennsylvania.

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Pairings: Progress and Tradition through Food and Wine

Conversations/Conversazioni
Environmental Humanities
McKim, Mead & White Building
Via Angelo Masina, 5
Rome, Italy
Lecture/Conversation
Seminar
Color photograph of two hands digging up beans from the dirt

Photo by Cristiano Minichiello in the Bass Garden, 2023, courtesy of the USUN Rome.

At a critical time when the climate crisis is making indelible changes to our agricultural systems, immigration patterns, food security, safety, and access, the American Academy in Rome presents a two-part event dedicated to reflecting on the roles of producers, consumers, creatives, and thinkers, and their practices, processes, and hopes for the future. The first part of the event will host two Conversations/Conversazioni between culinary projects and local wine producers actively engaged in the principles of zero waste and a zero-kilometer philosophy, committing to spreading the message of emergency. The second part will offer a pairing experience curated and executed by the Rome Sustainable Food Project kitchen in collaboration with the guest panelists, demonstrating how we can consciously, sustainably, and deliciously find a new path forward.

6:00–7:00pm

Conversations/Conversazioni
Christina Bowerman from Hostaria Glass (Rome) and the RSFP kitchen representatives: Fausto Ferraresi, Sara Levi, and Giorgia Lauri
Moderated by Aliza Wong

7:00–8:00pm

Conversations/Conversazioni
Marco Cirese and Alice Gargiullo from the winery Noelia Ricci (Romagna), Giuseppe Mottura from the winery Sergio Mottura (Lazio), and Guillaume Gelly from the winery Paolo e Noemia d’Amico (Lazio)
Moderated by Tina Cancemi

8:00–10:00pm

Pairing Dinner
Three dishes created by the RSFP kitchen combined with three different types of wine selected by our panelists directly from their wineries

Sign up to the public closed on February 6, 2024.

The event will be held in English.

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For access to the Academy, guests will be asked to show a valid photo ID. Backpacks and luggage with dimensions larger than 40 x 35 x 15 cm (16 x 14 x 6 in.) are not permitted on the property. There are no locker facilities available.

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Edward Hirsch & Robert Polito – An Evening of Poetry in New York

Conversations/Conversazioni
Reading
Lecture/Conversation
An Evening on Poetry in NYC: Edward Hirsch and Robert Polito

Please join us for the first US installment of 2015 season of Conversations/Conversazioni: From the American Academy in Rome, featuring a discussion between two leading figures in poetry, Edward Hirsch (1989 Fellow) and Robert Polito, at the New School in New York. They will discuss ways of reading and listening to poetry, the importance of reading translations of poems written in foreign languages, and the interactions between poetry and other arts.

Celebrated poet and peerless advocate for poetry, Edward Hirsch is president of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. He has received numerous awards and fellowships, including the Rome Prize (1989), a MacArthur Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Pablo Neruda Presidential Medal of Honor, and an Academy of Arts and Letters Award. In 2008, he was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. Hirsch’s first collection of poems, For the Sleepwalkers (1981), received the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award from New York University and the Lavan Younger Poets Award from the Academy of American Poets. His second collection, Wild Gratitude (1986), won the National Book Critics Award. Since then, he has published seven additional books of poems, including most recently, Gabriel: A Poem (2014), a book-length elegy for his son that the New Yorker calls “a masterpiece of sorrow.” Hirsch is also the author of five prose books, including A Poet’s Glossary (2014), the result of decades of passionate study, Poet’s Choice (2006), which consists of his popular columns from the Washington Post Book World, and How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry (1999), a national bestseller.

The poet and scholar Robert Polito earned his PhD from Harvard and has served as director of Creative Writing at the New School for two decades. Polito’s collections of poetry include Hollywood & God (2009) and Doubles (1995). His poetry blends narrative and lyric impulses, drawing on both American pop culture and literary tradition. Polito’s scholarly works include A Reader’s Guide to James Merrill’s The Changing Light at Sandover (1995), and Savage Art: A Biography of Jim Thompson (1996), for which he received the National Book Critics Circle Award. Polito’s interest in midcentury American culture, especially the crime novel and film noir, has also led him to such editing projects as Farber on Film: The Complete Film Writings of Manny Farber (2009); The Selected Poems of Kenneth Fearing (2004); Crime Novels: American Noir of the 1930s and 1940s (1997); Crime Novels: American Noir of the 1950s (1997); and editions of Dashiell Hammett and James M. Cain for the Everyman Library. He has contributed a catalogue essay to About Face (1985); a retrospective of Manny Farber’s paintings; an essay on the Kinks for This Is Pop: In Search of the Elusive at Experience Music Project (2004); an essay on Bob Dylan to Studio A: The Bob Dylan Reader (2005); and an essay on Allen Ginsberg to Howl: Fifty Years Later (2006). He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards including fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Ingram Merrill Foundation. A contributing editor to both BOMB and the Boston Review, Polito has written poetry and criticism that have been published widely. He is at work on a new book titled Detours: Seven Noir Lives.

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June Jordan and Building Justice in Design

Conversations/Conversazioni
AAR Lecture Room
McKim, Mead & White Building
Via Angelo Masina, 5
Rome, Italy
Lecture/Conversation
Black and white reproduction of a bird's eye view of upper Manhattan, with large towers interspersed among the lower-rise buildings

Drawing by Shoji Sadao of R. Buckminster Fuller and June Jordan’s design for “Skyrise for Harlem,” 1964 (photograph from the R. Buckminster Fuller Collection, Stanford University Library and Special Collections; courtesy Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller)

The American Academy in Rome’s spring exhibition, June Jordan, The Poetry of Design, will open with a Conversations/Conversazioni on equity and justice in design, which Jordan helped catalyze by foregrounding the rights and voices of disenfranchised communities. Sean Anderson (2005 Fellow), associate professor of architecture at Cornell University and former Museum of Modern Art curator, and the architect J. Yolande Daniels (2004 Fellow, 2023 Resident), associate professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will discuss the African diaspora’s impact on cities, the role of literature in architecture, and how Jordan paved the way for greater inclusivity in design today, among other topics.

Interim Andrew Heiskell Arts Director Lindsay Harris (2014 Fellow) will moderate the discussion, following an introduction by AAR President Mark Robbins (1997 Fellow) and remarks from Whitfield Lovell (2019 Resident), whose portrait of Jordan, a gift to the Academy, inspired the exhibition and is a centerpiece of its installation.

This event, to be presented in person at the Academy as well as on Zoom, is open to the public. To watch on Zoom, please register in advance. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation generously supports Conversations/Conversazioni at the American Academy in Rome.

June Jordan, The Poetry of Design is curated by Lindsay Harris with Lexi Eberspacher, Programs Associate for the Arts. The opening reception for the exhibition will take place after the conversation, from 7:00 to 9:00pm.

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For access to the Academy, guests will be asked to show a valid photo ID. Backpacks and luggage with dimensions larger than 40 x 35 x 15 cm (16 x 14 x 6 in.) are not permitted on the property. There are no locker facilities available.

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On Museum Design

Conversations/Conversazioni
ODC Theater
3153 17th Street
San Francisco, CA
United States
Lecture/Conversation
On Museum Design

Please join us for a discussion on designing for museums and cultural environments. Our panelists will include:

  • Craig Dykers (2015 Resident), Partner, Snøhetta
  • Walter Hood (1997 Fellow, 2014 Resident), Principal, Hood Design Studio and David K. Woo Chair and Professor of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning, University of California, Berkeley
  • Sandra Phillips (2000 Resident), Senior Curator of Photography, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
  • Catherine Wagner (2014 Fellow) Visual Artist and Professor, Mills College

Moderated by Mary Margaret Jones (1998 Fellow), President and Senior Principal, Hargreaves Associates and Chair of the AAR Board of Trustees, with an introduction by AAR President Mark Robbins (1997 Fellow).

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Craig Dykers & Pippo Ciorra

Conversations/Conversazioni
Casa dell’Architettura
Piazza Manfredo Fanti, 47
Rome, Italy
Lecture/Conversation
Craig Dykers in Conversation with Pippo Ciorra

A conversation in English with Craig Dykers, cofounder of Snøhetta, an influential architecture and design firm based in Oslo and New York that is responsible for, among other important projects, the Alexandria Library in Egypt, the Norwegian National Opera in Oslo, and the National September 11 Memorial Museum at the World Trade Center in New York. In a wide-ranging discussion, Dykers will speak with Pippo Ciorra, senior curator at MAXXI Architettura, about the role of context, nature, and human nature in these projects, as well as those currently in development.

Craig Dykers is the William A. Bernoudy Designer in Residence at the American Academy in Rome and cofounder of Snøhetta.

The event is organized in collaboration with the Norwegian Institute in Rome, the Ordine degli Architetti P.P.C. di Roma, and MAXXI Architettura, under the patronage of the Royal Norwegian Embassy.

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2023 Arthur & Janet C. Ross Rome Prize Ceremony

Conversations/Conversazioni
Rome Prize Ceremony
Great Hall at Cooper Union
7 East 7th Street
New York, NY
United States
Ceremony
Lecture/Conversation
Graphic element promoting the Rome Prize competiton: against a bright orange field are horizontal, parallel strips of letters, numbers, and other symbols related to music, architecture, design, and other disciplines

We have announced the winners!

Please join us on Monday, April 24 as we celebrate the 2023–24 Rome Prize winners and Italian Fellows at the Arthur and Janet C. Ross Rome Prize Ceremony, taking place in the Great Hall at Cooper Union in New York.

The event will also feature a Conversations/Conversazioni between the artist Carrie Mae Weems (2006 Fellow) and AAR President Mark Robbins (1997 Fellow).

The ceremony and conversation are free and open to the public. To attend in person, please complete the registration process.

The conversation will also be streamed online. To watch on Zoom, please register in advance. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation generously supports Conversations/Conversazioni at the American Academy in Rome.

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Cooper Union’s current guest policy requires all attendees to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination, a negative PCR test by a third party (within three days prior to the event), or a negative rapid test result taken by a third party on the day of the event. While indoors, masks are optional but encouraged. Email events@aarome.org if you have any questions.

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Ethics in Public Art – Laurie Anderson, Firelei Báez, Walter Hood & Justin Garrett Moore

Conversations/Conversazioni
Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library
455 Fifth Avenue
Seventh Floor
New York, NY
United States
Lecture/Conversation
Graphic designed element that reads: Ethics in Public Art, Laurie Anderson, Firelei Baez, Walter Hood & Justin Garrett Moore, 13 March 2023

This conversation, the first collaboration between the New York Public Library and the American Academy in Rome, will consider the ethical, aesthetic, and social implications of public art and design. Laurie AndersonFirelei Báez, Walter Hood, and Justin Garrett Moore will discuss the impact—positive or negative—that public art can have on the built environment, drawing from their personal experiences and work. They will explore thorny issues surrounding the decision-making process of civic projects and the motivations that lie behind public art or monuments. What happens when artistic and creative concerns clash with commercial and political ones? How can social justice and equity be addressed through aesthetics? How can public art best be used to strengthen and uplift communities?

Laurie Anderson (2006 Resident) is an artist based in New York. She is known for her interdisciplinary work in visual art, music, poetry, photography, film, electronics, and digital media.

The Bronx-based artist Firelei Báez (2022 Fellow) transforms visual references drawn from diasporic histories in her exuberantly colorful works on paper and canvas, large-scale sculptures, and immersive environments. The Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston is organizing a midcareer survey of her work, to open in 2024.

Walter Hood (1997 Fellow) is the founder and creative director of Hood Design Studio in Oakland, California. He is also a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and an established lecturer on professional and theoretical projects.

Justin Garrett Moore is a designer, urbanist, and program officer for the Humanities in Place program at the Mellon Foundation. His work focuses on advancing equity, inclusion, and social justice through place-based initiatives and programs, built environments, cultural-heritage projects, and commemorative spaces and landscapes.

This event, to be presented in person at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library in midtown Manhattan as part of the LIVE at NYPL series, is free and open to the public. AAR President Mark Robbins (1997 Fellow) will introduce the speakers and join them onstage during the conversation.

In-person registration is sold out, but a limited number of standby tickets will be available on the night of the event. The conversation will also be streamed online. Please register in advance to watch the event live.

The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation generously supports Conversations/Conversazioni at the American Academy in Rome.

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