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Constitution Day: "Free Speech and the Digital Age," Sept. 17

WYPR Radio, Baltimore Gay Life Among Media Outlets that Feature Event

Posted 08.16.11 by MICA communications

Andrew Sullivan (Photo by Matt Cavanaugh)

BALTIMORE--This Constitution Day, MICA and the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland (ACLU-MD) will discuss the widely debated topic of free speech and digital communication on Saturday, Sept. 17 from 3-5 p.m. in Brown Center's Falvey Hall, 1301 W. Mount Royal Ave. The free symposium, titled Free Speech and the Digital Age, will feature a panel of experts, advocates and artists who will bring forward different viewpoints and look at what the future holds for personal expression as it relates to digital communication technologies.

The panel, moderated by WYPR's The Signal producer Aaron Henkin, will include journalist and author Andrew Sullivan; social scientist, artist and writer Trevor Paglen; and Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst with the ACLU's Speech, Privacy and Technology Project.

"This Constitution Day, the ACLU is pleased to join with MICA to present an exciting discussion of civil liberties in this brave new world," said Susan Goering, executive director of the ACLU of Maryland. "Emerging online technologies can be used to enhance freedom, or limit it, and so it's a great time to talk about how government and the private sector are affecting our free expression and personal privacy."

Maryland promises to be in the spotlight for matters concerning the Internet, according to Governor Martin O'Malley, who announced the CyberMaryland initiative during a recent cyber security panel discussion. The initiative represents a commitment to make the state a focal point for businesses, government agencies and academic institutions centered on digital security.

"The Constitutional protection of free speech must be discussed, considering the proliferation of digital media access and the development of new ways to communicate that open the doors to personal expression, equal opportunity innovations and increased political dialogue," said Firmin DeBrabander, Ph.D., symposium organizer and chair of the Humanistic Studies Department at MICA.

In addition to free tickets distributed in advance to the MICA community, a limited number of free tickets will be available to the general public on the day of the event.

About the Constitution Day participants:

Panelist Andrew Sullivan is an author, editor, political commentator and blogger who has become a popular source for political and social commentary. National Public Radio called him "one of the most widely read, influential and prolific political voices online." Currently a contributor to Newsweek, Sullivan was one of the first journalists to experiment with blogging more than a decade ago. His blog, The Daily Dish, became one of the most popular political blogs in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks and can now be found on The Daily Beast.

Panelist Trevor Paglen is an artist-in-residence at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His work deliberately blurs the lines between science, contemporary art, journalism and other disciplines to construct unfamiliar, yet meticulously researched ways to see and interpret the world around us.

Panelist Jay Stanley is a senior policy analyst with the ACLU's Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, where he researches, writes and speaks about technology-related privacy and civil liberties issues and their future. Stanley also served as the American politics editor of Facts on File's World News Digest and as national newswire editor at Medialink.

Moderator Aaron Henkin is a co-creator and producer of WYPR's radio arts program, The Signal, and host of Stories from the Stoop. His news reports and features have aired nationally on programs, including Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Day to Day and PRI's The World. Henkin is also the curator and host of a weekly podcast called The NPR Station Showcase with PRX, where he highlights outstanding stories from fellow producers at public radio stations around the country.

Art has long been a method of expression, and artists throughout history have been instigators of change-engaging society in conversation about pressing issues. Established in 2005, Constitution Day annually recognizes the ratification of the United States Constitution and continues MICA's tradition of leadership in raising and engaging in important issues surrounding people's freedoms.

LISTEN: Highlights of the symposium aired on WYPR's The Signal.

READ: A profile on Andrew Sullivan from Harvard Magazine.

LISTEN: Jay Stanley's on-air interview for The Signal prior to the event.

Image captions: (top to bottom) Andrew Sullivan (Photo by Matt Cavanaugh); Trevor Paglen; Jay Stanley

Founded in 1826, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is the oldest continuously degree-granting college of art and design in the nation. The College enrolls nearly 3,500 undergraduate, graduate and continuing studies students from 49 states and 52 countries in fine arts, design, electronic media, art education, liberal arts, and professional studies degree and non-credit programs. With art and design programs ranked in the top ten by U.S. News and World Report, MICA is pioneering interdisciplinary approaches to innovation, research, and community and social engagement. Alumni and programming reach around the globe, even as MICA remains a cultural cornerstone in the Baltimore/Washington region, hosting hundreds of exhibitions and events annually by students, faculty and other established artists.