Symposium 2016: “Our Songs Know Who We Are”

An Urban Retreat – Open to All

Join us for a day of learning, music, dialogue, ritual celebrations, food, art, music, service, and community-building celebrating the Spirit of Life. Our Symposium connects Starr King’s students, faculty, staff, trustees, graduates, and communities as we cultivate multi-religious, counter-oppressive, just and sustainable communities. Symposium 2016 is convened by Dean Dr. Gabriella Lettini in collaboration with other Starr King faculty and community leaders. Starr King students are required to enroll for the Symposium as a course (using the regular registration process, registration is open for Summer courses) and also register for the Symposium through this website.  Graduates are warmly invited to participate as there are several public events in connection with Symposium that are open to everyone.

Our Honored Teacher: Dr. Ysaye M. Barnwell

Ysaye M. Barnwell, Ph.D. MSPH, is a commissioned composer, arranger, author, actress and former member of the African American female a cappella ensemble Sweet Honey In The Rock. She is a vocalist with a range of over three octaves and appears on more than twenty-five recordings with Sweet Honey as well as other artists. Trained as a violinist for 15 years beginning at the age of 2 1/2, she holds degrees in speech pathology (BS, MSEd), cranio-facial studies (Ph.D.) and public health (MSPH). She was a professor at Howard University College of Dentistry for over a decade, and over the following 8 years developed training programs in Child Protection at Children’s Hospital National Medical Center, and administered community-based health programs at Gallaudet University, all in Washington DC. For almost thirty years, and on three continents, Barnwell has led the workshop Building a Vocal Community – Singing In the African American Tradition, which utilizes oral tradition, an African world view and African American history, values, cultural and vocal traditions to build communities of song among singers and non-singers alike. Her pedagogy is highly respected among musicians, educators, health workers, activists, organizers, and members of the corporate and non-profit sectors. For a full bio, click here.

In the last year alone, Dr. Barnwell gave a TED Talk, appeared in a UU World article, and was selected by President Obama to serve on the National Council of the Arts!

Here is a brief summary of her presentation:

Songs are like single celled organisms. In each culture, songs hold the nucleus of how life began. They know from where we have journeyed. They know who and what we have encountered.  Our songs know in what we have believed; in whom and in what we have put our trust and faith; with whom we have been at war and at peace; how we have evolved and have been transformed as individuals and as communities. Our songs know how we have survived.  Our songs know who we are – ‘lest we forget’.  How we acknowledge and utilize this body of knowledge depends on our world view.  I will try to explore these concepts from an Afrocentric World View.”

~ Dr. Ysaye M. Barnwell

Registration Details:

Please register using the appropriate link below:

1. SKSM Degree Students Registration* (Current, New or Entering): Based on New Tuition model.
Students who have completed the academic requirement of attending 2 Symposia do not need to enroll for academic credit, however if you wish to attend you will need to register under the Community Member-General Public Registration Fee of $125.00.

For students taking Symposium for credit, please access your required course reading here.

2. SKSM Certificate Students Full Registration* and “Special Students” taking Symposium for credit. Please note: Certificate and Special Students have a Discounted Fee of $528.75, this fee will be manually updated from the regular full course fee (based on the New Tuition model).

Financial and Housing assistance requests for SKSM Students ONLY must be completed by Sunday, July 31, 2016 (Please see the Registration form).

For students taking Symposium for credit, please access your required course reading here.

3. Community Member – General Public Registration Fee $125.00*
Registration fees include:
• Admission to all Symposium sessions
•  All meals included

4. Staff, Trustee, Faculty, and Graduates Registration*

* Everyone is required to complete the Registration Form, so we can prepare for your participation and address any special needs. All students please remember to ENROLL for the Symposium as a course NOW to obtain course credit (Summer Enrollment is OPEN).

Symposium Donations can be made by:
1. Clicking this link for Secure Online Donation (Select “other” for designation and put “Symposium” as a comment)
2. Mailing a check (make checks payable to Starr King School for the Ministry, with Symposium on the memo line, and mail to Starr King School – 2441 Le Conte Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709 (Attn: Dee Ward)
3. Or by cash/check/credit card at the door

Thank you for your support. We look forward to seeing you at our 5th annual Symposium!

ATTENTION: While scents have a long history in culture and rituals around the world, we also know that, today, some people experience environmental sensitivities which impede them from being in the presence of scents. Please be mindful of others as it relates to these sensitivities and the amount of scent you are choosing to use.

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