ROOTS Week 2018 Call for Proposals

Kerry Lee, Co-Artistic Director of the Atlanta Chinese Dance Company, performs at ROOTS Week 2017. Photo: Melisa Cardona

ROOTS Week 2018: RE/NEW!
Alternate ROOTS’ 42nd Annual Meeting & Artists’ Retreat
Tuesday, August 7 – Sunday, August 12, 2018
Lutheridge Conference Center; Arden, NC (near Asheville)

ROOTS Week Annual Meeting & Artists’ Retreat is a one-of-a-kind gathering – six days of performances, art and organizing workshops, visual art exhibitions, our famous Late Night cabarets, and ROOTS’ annual business meeting, in a retreat-like setting in the mountains of North Carolina. Artists, cultural organizers, and their families come from across the South (and beyond!), joining an ever-growing, ever-changing network of people committed to building a just world through arts, community, and activism.

This year, our theme of RE/NEW! inspires us to both RENEW ourselves and our community, while also moving towards the NEW.

In this political climate we need to RENEW: to pull the wisdom from the past forward with us, to make it – and ourselves – new again. We’ll gather at ROOTS Week to renew our spirits, recover our histories, revive our arts/organizing practices, replenish our Creating-a-Better-World toolkits, and re-vision the future that we are working towards, together.

And, we know that we have our individual and collective growing edges – places where we need to call in the NEW. Places where we need to grow like never before. Some of these were named last year in our UpROOTing Oppressions sessions: gender/queer liberation, decolonization, consent culture, youth leadership, and intersectionality. We’re making a special call for programming in these areas, and we invite proposals that speak directly to them. We envision a ROOTS Week that celebrates and courageously nurtures new people, new ideas, and new ways of building our beloved community. For more on ROOTS Week, click here!

We are seeking the following types of proposals:

  • Performances
  • Films
  • Visual Arts Exhibition or Presentations
  • Presentations/Conversations
  • Workshops & Master Classes*
  • And more! What creative form does your art-infused activism and activism-infused art come in?

*Continuing from last year, our UpROOTing Racism and Undoing Oppressions sessions will be developed and facilitated by a team of ROOTS members. Proposals that respond to the themes below and align with the UpROOTing Racism and Undoing Oppressions work may be curated into this track.

We are seeking proposals around the themes of:


This year’s overall ROOTS Week theme invites us to explore what it means to RE/NEW! What keeps our histories/lineages/traditions fresh and revived while stretching us towards our new growing edges? How do we embed renewal within our practices, to keep us whole, healthy, and ready?

Decolonizing ROOTS

Named as one of the growing edges from ROOTS Week 2017 – how do we decolonize ROOTS? We’re seeking proposals from Indigenous, Native, First Peoples artists/activists that lift up indigenous histories, ways of knowing/being, and experiences to envision a path toward decolonization and sovereignty.

Gender/queer Liberation

Another growing edge from ROOTS Week 2017 – what does it take to create a gender liberated self/community/world? How are queer and trans* communities using art and culture to rise up against regressive, anti-trans policies in the South? We’re especially encouraging proposals from trans*, gender queer, and gender non-conforming people of color.

Intersectionality & Interculturality

Two juicy words, one juicy theme! Intersectionality (developed by Kimberlé Crenshaw, more here) and Interculturality (the idea at the center of the Intercultural Leadership Institute, more here) join forces to help us exercise the muscle of holding the fullness of identity, culture, and history – both our own and one another’s.


The YOOTS (Youth @ ROOTS) are getting organized! Building on ROOTS’ founding as a network of young artists, and the legacies of youth-led social movements, we’ve got an active YOOTS working group and can’t wait to receive ROOTS Week proposals that center youth-led leadership in arts activism. The YOOTS are self defined as anyone under age 30.

Safer Spaces Move Us Towards Liberation

Last year, we took our first steps in intentionally creating consent culture at ROOTS Week. Since then, we have seen the tide-turning #MeToo movement sweep our country. As a community, we’ll continue the work of creating a culture where everybody is affirmed and respected in their dignity, boundaries, agency, sexuality, and self-possession – where we are collectively creating safer spaces in support of our individual and collective liberation. We invite proposals that help propel us toward this goal.

If you have a programming proposal, please fill out the following Proposal Form by Friday, April 27, 2018 at 5pm EST. Questions? Contact Wendy Shenefelt, Programs Manager, at or 404-577-1079. Thank you for your interest in this work –  we look forward to hearing from you!

As part of our current strategic plan, created with member input, ROOTS seeks to support increased participation of youth, trans/two spirit/gender non-conforming people of color, Indigenous and Native American, Latinx, and Asian/Pacific Islander communities in the South. Preference will be given to proposals centered around and created by members of these communities.


Please note: In order to assist with the curatorial process, we encourage you to submit at least one work sample that is reflective of the proposed programming.

Work Samples: Work samples should be submitted as a Google document or URL.

  • Please save the document with your First and Last Name, and a description of the work sample (e.g. Janet Johnson Spoken Word Performance).
  • URLs: You can link your website, YouTube, SoundCloud, or other web platforms that contain examples of your work. If submitting a web-based work sample, please paste the URLs as hyperlinks in a Google document.

Length: Please keep these short! Think quality over quantity.

  • Written samples should be limited to 3 pages maximum and submitted as a Google document.
  • Limit audio and video samples to 5 minutes. A few clips no longer than one minute is even better.
  • If your sample is longer, include instructions that point reviewers to the minute and second where you’d like them to begin with notes about what they should pay attention to in particular.

Alternate ROOTS is an organization based in the Southern USA* whose mission is to support the creation and presentation of original art, in all its forms, which is rooted in a particular community of place, tradition, or spirit. As a coalition of cultural workers, we strive to be allies in the elimination of all forms of oppression. ROOTS is committed to social and economic justice and the protection of the natural world, and addresses these concerns through its programs and services.

*The ROOTS Region covers the Southern area of the United States: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C.

2018 ROOTS Week Call for Proposals

100 word limit. If selected for ROOTS Week 2018, this information will be included in the ROOTS Week program book.

To learn more about Liz Lerman's Critical Response Process, visit:

125 word limit. If selected for ROOTS Week 2018, this information will be included in the ROOTS Week program book.

We are looking for performances that are approximately 15-30 minutes and workshops that are 60-90 minutes.

ROOTS will offer limited technical capabilities for performances.

25MB max

Collecting this information helps us write (and get) grants. Thanks for sharing!

Alternate ROOTS supports the creation and presentation of original art that is rooted in communities of place, tradition or spirit. We are a group of artists and cultural organizers based in the South creating a better world together. As Alternate ROOTS, we call for social and economic justice and are working to dismantle all forms of oppression—everywhere.