(10/4/11) CTI Views Changing Landscapes of Political Conventions

CTI Explores Unconventional Aspects of Conventions

CHARLOTTE — Oct. 4, 2011 — Charlotte Teachers Institute (CTI) and its partners will present “Exploding Canons: The Changing Landscapes of Political Conventions” from 5:30 to 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 14, at UNC Charlotte Center City in uptown Charlotte. With this installment of its multidisciplinary speakers series, CTI invites the Charlotte community to take an unconventional look at political conventions. Sponsored by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the program features five faculty members representing diverse academic disciplines from Davidson College, UNC Charlotte and Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools (CMS). Speakers will offer their individual perspectives on various aspects of political conventions, as well as the Democratic National Convention to be held in Charlotte in September 2012.

CTI is a high-quality, intensive professional development program involving UNC Charlotte, Davidson College and CMS that presents community events as well as long-term seminars for CMS teachers. CTI Director Scott Gartlan predicts, “This ‘Exploding Canons’ program will launch new partnerships leading up to the national conventions and provide valuable openings to address civic literacy in the public schools and throughout the Charlotte community.”

CTI’s “Exploding Canons” events present unique forums for the public to hear insights from faculty experts related to a common topic. “It’s an opportunity for the public to learn about interesting people and what they study – to hear from experts in a variety of fields,” Gartlan explained. “The general theme of the event is loosely centered around the DNC coming to Charlotte in 2012, but each panelist is encouraged to develop a talk that is engaging and reflects their own personal expertise and area of research.” For the first time, the “Exploding Canons” panel will showcase a CMS teacher who is also a CTI fellow and steering committee member.

“Exploding Canons: The Changing Landscapes of Political Conventions” begins with a reception in the Center City Atrium at 5:30 pm., followed by the panel discussion from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the Center City Auditorium. Featured topics and discussion leaders are:

  • “From Candidate to Nominee: The Rules Behind the 2012 Presidential Nominations,” Josh Putnam, visiting assistant professor of political science, Davidson College
  • “Charlotte:  The (Un)Conventional City,” Heather Smith,  associate professor of geography and earth studies and Urban Institute faculty research associate, UNC Charlotte
  • “Political Socialization: Find Ourselves in Film,” Jeff Joyce, social studies department chair and AP government teacher, W. A. Hough High School
  • “Beyond Citizens-in-the-Making: Changing Understandings of Youth Political Identities,” Jessica Taft, assistant professor of sociology, Davidson College
  • “Time to Come Together: How Convention Spaces Shape Unity and Dissent,” Dan Grano, associate professor of communication studies, UNC Charlotte

Mary Newsom, UNC Charlotte Urban Institute associate director, urban and regional affairs and former editorial board member and columnist for The Charlotte Observer, will serve as moderator for the panel discussion.

Community partners include the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, UNC Charlotte Center City, the UNC Charlotte 49er Democracy Experience, and Kids Voting Mecklenburg. The “Exploding Canons” speakers series leverages the partnerships among CTI to offer educators and the public collaborative educational opportunities that highlight university and college faculty, explore diverse topics in an interdisciplinary manner, and encourage community conversation.

This “Exploding Canons” event is free and open to the public. Space is limited, so registration at http://charlotteteachers.org is recommended. CMS teachers and administrators from all grade levels and subject areas are especially encouraged to attend.

UNC Charlotte Center City is located at 320 E. 9th Street, at the corner of Ninth and Brevard Streets.


About the Charlotte Teachers Institute

The Charlotte Teachers Institute, a collaboration among Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Davidson College and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, cultivates content-knowledge, creativity, leadership skills and collaboration within and among Charlotte’s public school teachers. CTI’s “Exploding Canons” events engage and educate CMS teachers and the community-at-large, as CTI and a variety of partnering organizations produce forums for college and university faculty and other educators to examine topics through multi-disciplinary lenses. CTI is made possible by generous support from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, the Wells Fargo Foundation, the Belk Foundation and the Knight Foundation.


For more information, contact CTI Executive Director Scott Gartlan, 704-687-2026, info@charlotteteachers.org