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28th Headwaters Conference at WSCU

October 6, 2017 - October 8, 2017

The 28th Annual Headwaters Conference continues on the Western campus from October 6-8, with a panel of social and environmental justice activists on Saturday night. The weekend will also include poetry from Aaron Abeyta and workshops from High Country News, Western State, Land Institute, and Center for Humans and Nature leaders. Conference is free and includes a free Headwaters for Kids event on Saturday. Sign up at www.western.edu/headwaters

The 28th Headwaters Conference calls for participants to listen to and speak with diverse voices about the lands in which they live. This year’s theme “Science, Story and Justice” explores how language creates both justice and injustice as it unfolds the diverse ways of knowing that help us understand the world. Some of these stories are told through the speech of science; others develop in cultural narratives that echo across time and place. Each story holds power, though not all stories are heard equally or have the same outcome in societies. Still, all of us live in this world where wide-ranging narratives converge in a reality we might call truth or knowledge, each unique and individual to us. At this year’s Headwaters, we will jumble story and science in provocative, unsettling ways, with the aim to inspire new uses for both in our lives as active citizens of the world.

Friday night’s keynote address, “Justice for All: Restoration, Reciprocity and Respect for All Beings” will be given by Robin Kimmerer, who speaks both as botanist and a native woman who learned plants through the stories of her ancestors and the inquisitive explorations of childhood.

Saturday’s field workshops will venture into the Headwaters Region to study local landscapes, guided by diverse voices of science and story. The conference will conclude with a Sunday morning conversation that engages all participants around questions of science and cultural experience.

Saturday night, Chicago’s Center for Humans and Nature will join Western’s Center for Environment and Sustainability to engage participants on the question of “Wild Justice.”  This panel will ask, “How do social justice movements to protect place enhance our story of what is wild?” Panelists will include Wildness authors Devon Pena, and Michael Howard.

Artistic performances from American Book Award Winning author, Aaron Abyeta (also in Wildness), and Gunnison Musician Alan Wartes.

Join us at Western State Colorado University, October 6-8, 2017, bringing your voice into a timely conversation about the power our stories have to define truth, dance with science, and build justice in unexpected, often delightful ways.


Western State Colorado University
600 N. Adams St.
Gunnison, CO 81230 United States
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