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Rhiannon Giddens pictured smiling behind a yellow backdrop

Rhiannon Giddens will begin a three-year residency in the spring focused on Southern Futures. (courtesy of CPA)

Carolina Performing Arts announces Southern Futures initiative

Carolina Performing Arts has announced “Southern Futures at Carolina Performing Arts,” an initiative that meets a pivotal moment in history by engaging artists and community partners in restorative justice and co-creation.

Southern Futures at CPA will produce new works, collaborations and research on social justice, racial equity and the American South. The organization has named Grammy and MacArthur Award-winning musician Rhiannon Giddens to a three-year research residency beginning in spring 2022. Giddens will focus on discovering and sharing cultural artifacts and local histories that challenge entrenched narratives and monolithic thinking on topics central to Southern Futures, an initiative of the College of Arts & Sciences, University Libraries, CPA and the Center for the Study of the American South.

CPA will commission artists to make new works on themes central to Southern Futures. The artists will complete residences in Chapel Hill, partnering with community members to co-create works through restorative justice practices.

“The Southern Futures mission statement is a call to collective action: Reimagine the American South,” said Elizabeth Engelhardt, co-director of Southern Futures and senior associate dean for fine arts and humanities. “We bring artists and performers together with students, faculty, archivists, community leaders, scholars and researchers in service of an American South that is ethical and just for everyone. To imagine is powerful; to reimagine is transformative.”

Southern Futures is co-led by Jacqueline Lawton, associate professor of dramatic art.