Apr 13 2022
Social Alchemy Symposium- Imaginary Cities, The Arts and Healing

Social Alchemy Symposium- Imaginary Cities, The Arts and Healing

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.

Wednesday, April 13
8-10am central time – Mini-tours on the hour. Jump in either in person or on-line with artist led tours of various New Harmony landmarks! Check out the Harmonist Labyrinth, a wunderkammer in the Workingmen’s Institute, The Wabash River, the Roofless Church and more.

10-10:50 am central time
Opening conversation:
Utopian literature/writing in New Harmony featuring Susan Neville, Matthew Graham, Adrian Matejka.

11 am-noon central time
Utopic cultural projects conversation – visual art, music & movement featuring Artist and musician, Oreo Jones, Visual artists, Docey Lewis, Big Car Co-founder, Shauta Marsh, Keesha Dixon, Executive Director of Asante Art Institute of Indiana, and Indy Dance Movement Collective Executive Director, Lauren Curry.

1:15-2:15 central time
Author Maurice Broaddus
Worldbuilding towards Community Work
A community organizer and teacher, his work has appeared in places like Lightspeed Magazine, Black Panther: Tales from Wakanda, Weird Tales, Magazine of F&SF, and Uncanny Magazine, with some of his stories having been collected in The Voices of Martyrs. His books include the sci-fi novel Sweep of Stars; the steampunk works, Buffalo Soldier and Pimp My Airship; and the middle grade detective novels, The Usual Suspects and Unfadeable. His project, Sorcerers, is being adapted as a television show for AMC. He’s an editor at Apex Magazine.

2:30-3:30pm central time (Zoom)
Imaginary Cities with Darran Anderson.
Anderson is the author of Imaginary Cities and Inventory. Imaginary Cities was chosen as a best book of 2015 by the Financial Times, The Guardian, and the A.V. Club. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, the TLS, frieze magazine, Wired, and the Architectural Review. He was born in Derry, Ireland, and lives in London.

7:30pm central time (In person)
Golf Cart Drive In-The Black Panther, introduced by Maurice Broaddus
Note: New Harmony, IN (CST) and Indianapolis, IN (EST)are in different time zones. Central time is one hour earlier than Eastern.

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

Murphy Auditorium, 419 Tavern St.
New Harmony, IN 47631

Dates & Times

2022/04/13 - 2022/04/13

Location Info

Murphy Auditorium

419 Tavern St., IN