Democracy Lab, housed in a massive inflatable bubble, will present workshops and talks on social justice and civic engagement with The Simpsons writer Mike Reiss, New Yorker writer Rachel Aviv and more.
Broadening horizons and bursting bubbles, that’s what Brooklyn Public Library is setting out to do with “Democracy Lab,” a weeklong series of interactive community programs including workshops, conversations and music aimed to provide new perspectives on utopia, democracy and civic engagement. The “lab” will be housed in the “Spacebuster,” a massive inflatable bubble with room for 120 visitors at a time, from June 11- 17, at Grand Army Plaza.
“Libraries have long been a critical resource for democracy, and Brooklyn Public Library is delighted to welcome members of the community to this unique civic space in the heart of Brooklyn,” said Linda E. Johnson, BPL president and CEO. “Democracy Lab is a place to consider contemporary political and social issues through the lenses of literature, history, music, art and satire.”
Convening together architects, urban planners, writers, artists and engaged citizens, Brooklyn Public Library provides a space to step out of the daily deluge of news and information and into its Democracy Lab to consider important questions of contemporary American public life. From the use of public space to exploring alternatives to the court system, Democracy Lab welcomes the community to reimagine America.
Daily Democracy Lab programs include guided readings of The New York Times led by artists, community leaders and writers, including New York Times archivist Jeff Roth in the mornings. Midday, visitors can experience The Brown Bag Lunch Concert series featuring performances by kora player Salieu Suso and harpist Brandee Younger, followed by discussions examining contemporary social issues and modern design. In the afternoon, Democracy Lab will host a slew of activities including guided walking tours of Brooklyn sights and natural habitats, as well as how-to workshops for all ages on lock picking, chair making and acrobatics. A series of literary variety shows, book debates and conversations with novelist Francine Prose, The Simpsons’ writer Mike Reiss, NPR’s Ophira Eisenberg, among others, will take over the Spacebuster dome in the evenings.
“Solutions to the complex problems facing our society today require imagination, and we at BPL are thrilled through this partnership to provide a dedicated space for critical thinking on these vital issues in Democracy Lab,” said Laszlo Jakab Orsos, BPL’s vice president of Arts and Culture.
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