Apr 12 2022
Social Alchemy Symposium-IN Context

Social Alchemy Symposium-IN Context

Presented by Big Car at Murphy Auditorium

The Social Alchemy Symposium is a participatory mini-conference happening online and in person in New Harmony, Indiana April 10-13, 2022.

Each day is themed and focused on single days. The symposium is free to attend either virtually or in person. Donations are appreciated and can be made via the registration link.
Discounted lodging is available at the New Harmony Inn (details below). Attendees are welcome to join any parts of the conference in person, online, or both. Registration is required to support communication and feedback.

8-10am -Mini-tours on the hour.
Jump in either in person or on-line for artist led tours of New Harmony landmarks! Check out the Harmonist Labyrinth, a wunderkammer in the Workingmen’s Institute, The Wabash River, the Roofless Church and more.

Opening conversation: Learning from each other (Utopic public places, small towns and cities)

David Rubin — The Dystopian Utopia in Practice

Co-operative Ownership for Healthy Communities:Jacob and Nathan Bower-Bir

Amana, Oneida and New Harmony with Claire Eagle

Contemporary utopias and planned communities with Director of USI Communal Studies, Dr. Silvia Rhode and USI Archivist, Jennifer Greene

3-3:45 In person networking/sharing
Who Are You & What Do You Want?

4-5pm Indiana in Context/ New Harmony and Columbus, IN
Richard McCoy, Kathryn Armstrong and Kent Schuette and Chris Merritt discuss how the two are connected through contemporary art and design, how the city of Columbus, the town of New Harmony build on what our state offers, current plans/upcoming collaborations between New Harmony and Columbus.

Utopian Architecture: discussion on the importance of architecture in our well-being, past, present and future projects with well-being in mind.

In person activities
Note: New Harmony, IN (CST) and Indianapolis, IN (EST)are in different time zones.
More about the Symposium:
The Social Alchemy Symposium is a participatory mini-conference happening online and in person in New Harmony, Indiana April 10-13, 2022.
Twice the site of utopian experiments in communitarian living, New Harmony is now a town rich in beauty, culture, and history. And it makes the perfect location for people to enjoy some moments of respite and reconnect with others through conversations about the roles of art, design, and place in society.
Conversations — led by more than 20 notable authors, artists, designers, researchers, and philosophers from Indiana and around the world — will look at the role of utopian thinking today and tomorrow while connecting with the past.
The symposium — organized through a partnership between Big Car Collaborative, the University of Southern Indiana, Historic New Harmony, and the New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art — is made possible by Indiana Humanities, the Efroymson Family Fund, and New America. Additional partners include Indiana State Museum and PATTERN Magazine.
Speakers, in-person unless otherwise noted, include:
Emily St. John Mandel, author of the 2015 utopian/dystopian novel, Station Eleven among other books and essays. Station Eleven has been translated into 33 languages and was adapted into an HBO series premiering in 2021 (virtual talk).
Maurice Broaddus, author of fiction centered on utopian and dystopian ideas through the genres of science fiction, urban fantasy, and horror.
Darran Anderson, author of Imaginary Cities (2015), an Irish writer focused on the intersections of urbanism, culture, technology and politics (virtual talk).
Cara Courage, executive director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit; scholar and author in the realms of art and placemaking; and formerly of the Tate Modern in London.
Also: Indiana writers Susan Neville, Adrian Matejka, and Matthew Graham (current poet laureate); Indiana artists and arts leaders from New Harmony, Columbus, Bloomington, and Indianapolis; leading architects, planners, and designers; and utopian/communal studies scholars.
• To gain a deep understanding — via history, literature, philosophy and design — of the relationship between the built environment and social good.
• To connect with others interested in imagining and striving for better communities.
• To experience the extraordinary atmosphere, public art, and architecture of New Harmony — nestled along the Wabash River and steeped in contemporary art and a historic utopian spirit.
• To savor the spring weather of southern Indiana.
Located at the southwest tip of Indiana near Evansville on land originally occupied by the Mississippian culture, New Harmony is approximately 2.5 hours drive from Indianapolis, and just over two hours from St. Louis and Louisville. Conference goers receive a special $89/night rate at the New Harmony Inn Resort & Conference Center. Call (812) 682-4431 to book and mention “Social Alchemy Symposium.”

Admission Info


In person at:

Murphy Auditorium

419 Tavern St.
New Harmony, IN 47631

Dates & Times

2022/04/12 - 2022/04/12

Location Info

Murphy Auditorium

419 Tavern St., IN