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**We regret to announce that this event has been canceled because of the situation with the COVID-19 virus. We hope to reschedule for a later date when the situation is clearer. We apologize for any inconvenience and truly appreciate your interest and support.**
The community is invited to this special event showcasing the transformative power of community-engaged teaching. The evening will feature a screening of Seats at the Table, a 90-minute documentary by Rosalia Films about UVA's Books Behind Bars program founded by then-Lecturer Andrew Kaufman in 2009. Now in its 10th year, the course has UVA students meet weekly with students in a juvenile correctional center in Virginia to explore questions of meaning, value, and social justice through life-changing conversations about Russian literature.
At this event, President James E. Ryan will deliver welcoming remarks and Provost M. Elizabeth Magill will moderate a panel discussion. Reception to follow. This event is part of UVA's Public Service Week.
Seats at the Table is a feature documentary by Charlottesville-based, award-winning filmmaker Chris Farina (UVA ‘82) (whose past films include World Peace and Other Fourth-Grade Achievements) that tells the story of a unique college class that brings together university students with residents at a juvenile correctional center through the study of classic works of Russian literature. Seats at the Table explores the relationship between education and transformation, revealing the humanity behind institutional stereotypes, both collegiate and correctional. This film situates itself in that common space of inquiry, observing the learning unfold and capturing the process of lives beginning to change.
Through the power of film, this seminal classroom experience has already become an inspiration for educators, policymakers, and general audiences worldwide. Seats at the Table has been shown at universities and film festivals across the United States (including SXSW EDU), in the UK and France, and it was named a Finalist for the prestigious Japan Prize 2019. In 2020, the film will be shown nationally on PBS.
Books Behind Bars: Life, Literature, and Leadership is a ten-year-old educational program in which university students meet with committed youth at a maximum-security juvenile correctional center to explore questions of meaning, value, and social justice though conversations about Russian literature classics.
Participants discuss personally relevant topics ranging from family to death, and success to moral responsibility. These interactions become the catalyst for both groups to learn from one another and share their most intimate human stories, while at the same time forming powerful connections and challenging whatever stereotypes about the other group they may have entered the class with. Correctional center students and university students come away transformed by this unique educational experience—moved by their discovery of the relevance of classical literature, inspired by the humanity in one another, and empowered to pursue lives of greater purpose and meaning.
Books Behind Bars has been featured on the Today Show, Katie Couric, NPR, and Russian national television, as well as in the Washington Post, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and The Moscow Times. Seats at the Table, a feature-length documentary about the program, has been shown at film festivals throughout the United States, in France, and the UK, and in 2020 it will air nationally on PBS.
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