Re-Assembling: A+D Updates and Thanks amidst COVID-19

Shannon Jackson, Associate Vice Chancellor

Greetings to our A+D Community,

Over the past few years, A+D has welcomed students, faculty, staff, and community members to a range of gatherings that work at the complicated intersection of key themes -- creativity, social justice, and science/technological innovation. To take just one of our programs, A+D Mondays has gathered under the topics of Public (Re) Assembly (2018), Fact and Fiction (2019), and Democracy and Equity (2020). Needless to say, the last few weeks, even the last few hours, have challenged us to consider these vital themes anew and with unexpected connections. The outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been turbulent for our campus, our region, our country, and the globe. UC Berkeley has worked closely with public health authorities to determine how best to move forward while reducing its spread. To that end, UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ announced several campus actions, including moving instruction online and cancelling all public assembly greater than 100 expected attendees. Meanwhile, President Trump, the C.D.C., the W.H.O., Governor Newsom, and many political leaders and health organizations have issued both policies and guidelines that limit or ban international travel as well as the time, place, and manner of public assembly (yes, Aristotle returns).  Though there are no confirmed cases on our campus at this time, we must take precautions now to protect the safety and well-being of our community. 

With guidance from public health authorities and UC Berkeley’s administration, A+D and our co-producing units collectively have made the difficult decision to pause all Berkeley Arts + Design programming through March 29, 2020, and to postpone the majority of our Arts + Design Mondays lectures scheduled for this spring. We will continue to follow campus actions to inform our decisions for the rest of the year. The decision to postpone and modify our programming is a difficult one -- difficult for our staff, our partnering units, our students, community members, and for our traveling speakers who have worked hard to put together a wonderful line-up. The decision is a difficult one for me, too. Please know that we are now in the process of rescheduling the postponed events, aiming to bring these incredible speakers and artistic projects back to campus in the fall. 

Thank you for your patience during this challenging time. Even as we “re-assemble” our courses and public programming, we are grateful for the people who continue to support us. Amidst this virus, our generous community came forward during BIG GIVE yesterday, and committed students responded to A+D’s social media campaign with great ideas for our creative future. Thanks to all of our students, faculty, and community for inspiring us as we move through this period together. 


Fiat lux,

Shannon Jackson


Arts + Design Mondays

The following lectures will be postponed and rescheduled to a later date: Danez Smith & Patricia Smith (March 16); The Right to Be Creative and Invisible Russia (March 30); William Pope.L (April 6); Kahlil Joseph (April 20); and Youth Designing Our Future Cities (April 27). The lecture Neural Abstractions with Tom White, scheduled for April 13, is currently pending review and will be updated shortly. Please check back on our website at for updates; navigate to “Projects and Events” under A+D on the menu bar. 

Arts + Design Thursdays

Our March 12th lecture was conducted online and will soon appear on A+D’s video archive. Our next lecture -- Food Justice and Belonging: A Demonstration and Conversation with Bryant Terry (March 19) -- will be postponed and rescheduled to a later date. The status and format of the rest of the Thursday lectures are currently under discussion; decisions about cancellations, postponements, and alternative formats will come shortly. Please check back on our website at for updates; navigate to “Projects and Events” under A+D on the menu bar.  Students: Please look out for bCourse emails from Professors Lauren Kroiz and Leigh Raiford regarding your course assignments. 

BLKNWS Installations

Previously, we announced the soft launch of renowned video artist’s Kahlil Joseph’s BLKNWS on the Berkeley campus, anticipating a wider, multi-screened installation of this brilliant and provocative work on more than 16 public screens throughout the Berkeley campus.  The soft launch and full launch of BLKNWS across campus will be postponed to Fall 2020; Kahlil Joseph’s April 20th public dialogue is postponed as well.  Please check back on our website,, for updates; navigate to “Projects and Events” under A+D on the menu bar. 


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