West Shore Community College’s Humankind Series concludes its year-long study of Sub-Saharan Africa with three events during April. The series has been focused on the discovery and understanding of health, art, and cultural parallels between West Michigan and Sub-Saharan Africa.
On April 17, 7 p.m., at the Ludington Area Center for the Arts, Dr. Robert Root-Bernstein, a physiologist from Michigan State University, will present an expanded perspective of HIV and AIDS, helping his audience think beyond the borders of traditional stereotypes of the disease and its transmission.
In his presentation, he will offer an unconventional view to help the community better understand the disease, and share his research on potential advancements in slowing its progression.
Artist Michelle Root-Bernstein will explore why creative thinking is important on April 17, from 6 – 9 p.m., in the Manistee County Education Center located at Munson Healthcare Manistee Hospital.
She will explain the value of creative thinking across the arts and sciences, illustrating the importance of imaginative play in childhood and adulthood, particularly play involving the elaboration of alternate places and peoples.
Currently an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Theatre at Michigan State University, Michele has participated in interdisciplinary research at MSU investigating connections between arts practice, innovation and economic development.
Along with her husband Robert, she is co-author of numerous articles on imaginative thinking and creative education as well as the book “Sparks of Genius, The Thirteen Thinking Tools of the World’s Most Creative People” (Houghton Mifflin, 1999). They are presently at work on polymathy and the networks of vocation and avocation that inspire creative thinking.
The final event, an open house on April 18, from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., in the Arts and Science Center, will showcase African food, art and culture.
“We welcome those who’ve enjoyed the events of the year to come and enjoy food, beverages, and conversations with students, faculty, staff, and the community and celebrate the presentations, exhibits, and performance of music and dance that have occurred this year,” says Dr. Brooke Portmann, WSCC’s dean of arts and sciences and one of the organizers of the series.
“Our hope is that students and the community at large will discover there is so much to learn from people living elsewhere in the world who face some of the same and some very different issues as we face right here in West Michigan.”
WSCC is sponsoring the Humankind Series to examine different regions of the world. With speakers and exhibits, music and movies, the series will continue in the fall focusing on Middle Eastern culture and conflict and, in fall 2019, Cuba and the Caribbean and how politics affect the ways people live, work, and learn.
All of the presentations are free and open to community members.