Forward LA: Race, Arts, and Inclusive Placemaking after the 1992 Civil Unrest

Friday, April 28, 2017

Radisson Mid-City Hotel (RMH)
3540 South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA 90089

Registration is free for students, faculty, and community members by request. For complimentary registration, please contact Stacia Fewox at To register with general admission, click here.

Race, Arts, and Inclusive Placemaking after the 1992 Civil Unrest
is a conference that will take stock at the 25th anniversary of the 1992 Los Angeles Civil Unrest, a seminal moment which sparked a national discussion about the conflicts in our cities. Since then, Los Angeles has been rebuilding itself in important ways that are timely to add to the nation’s current discussion about racial injustice, freedom, and opportunity in the city.

Conference sessions will bring together academics, activists, community members, and artists to share rich data-driven stories of neighborhood change, of catalytic alliances between social movement organizations, and the role that arts and culture have played in transforming LA’s built environment and inter-cultural understanding. The discussions will also grapple with the new permutations of persistent urban challenges such as development without displacement, police-community trust, and building relationships between generations of movements, organizations, and communities.

The first day of the conference will explore the ways in which demographics, data, social innovation, and local economic opportunity are shaping unique challenges and opportunities within Los Angeles communities. The second day will focus on the ways that innovative Angelenos’ arts and culture practices have helped to rebuild redemptive spaces in LA through food, arts, cinema, media, music, and performance. Simultaneous interpretation into Spanish provided by Antena Los Ángeles.

For the full conference schedule with panel descriptions and speaker info, visit the official conference page.

Thursday, April 27
9:45 a.m.: Demographic Change – 1992 to 2017
Demographic change has been a narrative in the City of Los Angeles since its inception as a settlement in colonial New Spain in 1781. This panel will discuss some of the demographic changes in the decades leading up to 1992, transitions since then, and how we might expect Los Angeles’ neighborhoods to evolve in the next 25 years.

11 a.m.: Opportunity Neighborhoods (Data Stories)
While recent research has documented the benefits of living in low poverty neighborhoods, there remains much debate about what are the mechanisms that help families thrive. How do we measure opportunity neighborhoods and how can policies be developed to ensure that no neighborhood is devoid of the necessary characteristics for all families to thrive?

12 p.m.: Lunch Keynote: Marqueece Harris-Dawson, Los Angeles City Councilmember (District 8), with an Introduction by Manuel Pastor

1 p.m.: Health Disparities
Health disparities across income strata, race, and ethnicity have been well-recognized in literature, but data are often not available in a disaggregated fashion to develop interventions in neighborhoods. This panel will explore what neighborhood data will allow community stakeholders to do, and discuss the challenges in reducing disparities.

2 p.m.: Data as a Driver of Social Innovation
While data continues to become available at an increasing rate, there remain challenges to leveraging these data to facilitate regional wide assessments of social innovation. This session will discuss what is necessary for data to become an intervention that facilitates neighborhood change, and how community actors can use these data to achieve collective objectives.

3:15 p.m.: Which Way, South LA: Making the Future in South Los Angeles
Presented by The Turpanjian Chair in Civil Society and Social Change
This panel will be a moderated discussion among dynamic South LA leaders who are working towards a socially just and economically prosperous future.

5 p.m.: Reception
An Evening of Reflection: 25 Years After the L.A. Riots

Experience the digital archive of images surrounding the 1992 Los Angeles Riots while networking with fellow Trojans and friends. The reception will be followed by a series of conversations with university and community leaders that will discuss lessons learned and how we should continue to move Los Angeles forward.

Friday, April 28
9 a.m.: ART SPACES in the City: Desegregating Art Geographies
This session brings together artists and organizations who have been working to break down LA’s segregated art geography by where they situate themselves in the city, their connections to insider and outsider arts, and practices to engage local communities and the larger public.

10:30 a.m.: FOOD JUSTICE: Campus + Community Relations around Food and Space
In 1992, food disparities were already on the South Los Angeles reform agenda, but in the 25 years since, food equity has become a central element of a broader movement. How have community-based organizations created change through new community gardens and healthier food supply? And what has been the role of food in the evolution of USC and its community relationships?

12 p.m.: Lunch Keynote: LOCOLS
Calling itself a “fast food revolution”, Locol restaurant in Watts offers a business model for producing healthy, affordable, chef-created food that employs and serves the local community.

1 p.m.: CINEMA: Independent Voices and Transmedia Strategies
Film and media content creators of color will share the creative strategies they have employed to have their vision and voices heard. Their projects offer counter-narratives to racialized mainstream news and entertainment and search for ways to connect to social action.

2:30 p.m.: HIP HOP: “Alright,” Civic Engagement, and Stories of Resistance
Starting with a viewing of Kendrick Lamar’s Alright video, the panel deliberates the racialized body in the city and the power of visuals and music in processes of civic engagement and building stories of resistance.

4 p.m.: PERFORMANCE: Mic Sessions, Youth, and Emotional Literacy
The conference concludes with the voices of the next generation who are part of a writing workshop started by Steinberg and Tupac Shakur that develops the talents of youth to find their voice through spoken word, poetry, musical, hip-hop, pop and dance, jazz, rock n’ roll singing, and dramatic performances.

Organized by the Sol Price Center for Social Innovation, SLAB: the Spatial Analysis Lab of USC Price, RAP USC: Race, Arts, and Placemaking Faculty Collaborative, USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity, and USC Dornsife Alumni Relations. Co-sponsored by USC Visions and Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative, USC Provost Office Research Collaboration Fund, USC Price School of Public Policy, and USC Digital Humanities Program.

Event Type

Arts, Lecture / Talk / Workshop, Conference/Symposia, Student Life


Students, Alumni, Faculty/Staff


University Park Campus



Registration is free for students, faculty, and community members by request. Registration is $100 for the general public.

Visions and Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative
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