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Humanities to the Rescue – 2020


Humanities to the Rescue is an event series intended to bring the broader Buffalo community together to celebrate the humanities. We have been closely monitoring how current health and travel issues are evolving with regard to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). After consultation with University at Buffalo leadership and a great deal of deliberation, our proactive feeling is that the best thing we can do for our community is to limit non-essential large gatherings. As such, the UB Humanities Institute is postponing An Evening with Nick Cave (March 27) and Performance, Publics, Possibilty (a one-day symposium scheduled for March 28), with the hope of rescheduling in Spring 2021.

Should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us via email at We appreciate your understanding and cooperation with these precautionary measures.


Humanities to the Rescue is a Public Humanities project focused on illuminating how the Arts and Humanities can help us interpret our environment in this age of media saturation and informational silos. As we are inundated 24/7 with a barrage of fake news, demagoguery, and hate speech, it is more urgent than ever for the Arts and Humanities to reclaim a central position in public discourse; to bring evidence-based analysis, ethics, and creativity to bear on the big issues of our time. As humanists and artists, we can bring crucial skills to address the current resurgence of authoritarianism, fundamentalism, racism and misogyny, as well as the cynical denialism that continues to justify destructive economic and environmental policies. Democracy was born as a humanistic vision and we have the capacity to reinvigorate and restore it.

When we pay attention, the arts and humanities have the power to illuminate and inspire. Stories and their interpretation are as necessary to humanity as fire, water, earth, air.


Friday, March 27

2-4pm | Center for the Arts Rehearsal Workshop
Workshop with Susan Leigh Foster, “Choreographing Relationality”

7pm | Center for the Arts Main Stage (6pm reception in the Atrium)
An Evening with Nick Cave | Friday, March 27


2019-20 Eileen Silvers Visiting Professor in the Arts and Humanities and CAI Artist-in-Residence, Chicago-based artist Nick Cave (b. 1959) will present the short film Up Right: Detroit (2015), described by Cranbrook Art Museum as “conceived…as an ‘act of initiation’ and a preparation of the mind, body, spirit, and selfhood of a group of young adults…. [who] undergo a ritual of being costumed in elaborate soundsuits and enter the city, transformed.” Traversing between dance, video, sculpture, and more—mixed-media would be an understatement—Cave’s dynamic work examines identity, community, connection, and materiality. Following the screening, the artist will be joined on-stage by local independent art curator Claire Schneider (C.S.1 Curatorial Projects), York University Dean of the School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design Sarah Bay-Cheng, and UB department of Romance Languages and Literature professor Christian Flaugh, with moderator and Humanities Institute executive director Christina Milletti.

The public is invited to join for a 6pm reception in the Center for the Arts Atrium with a performance by Buffalo String Works, a nonprofit organization that provides personalized string instrument instruction at no cost to refugee children who comprise a significant portion of the West Side’s underserved population.

Complimentary hors d’oeuvres and a cash-only bar provided by The Dapper Goose.

Saturday, March 28

9:15am-5:30pm | Center for the Arts
Symposium: Performance, Publics, Possibility

Taking as inspiration Humanities to the Rescue keynote speaker Nick Cave’s artistic-activist praxis, the ‘Performance, Publics, Possibility’ symposium explores arts and humanities-based practices of imagining and enacting more equitable and just social formations by way of performance’s capacities to engage publics.” The day of performances and panel discussions will tackle such topics as funding of public facing arts, performance-based environmental activism, and performance as political action.

Sunday, March 29 – TBD

The status of this event is unknown at this time. Update coming soon!

6:30pm | 500 Seneca [off-site]
I have a baby whose name is no one

An interdisciplinary convergence of mixed-media and performance vignettes conceived by Mary Grace Sullivan (UB Department of Theatre and Dance MFA candidate) and Hanyu Liao (UB Department of Media Study MAH candidate).


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