ROOTS Weekend-New Market/Knoxville

ROOTS Weekend-New Market/Knoxville – June 23-26, 2016 – was the third of six regional gatherings that Alternate ROOTS convened throughout the South from 2015-2017. As we celebrated our 40th year, this event brought us back to our birthplace, the Highlander Research and Education Center, where our founders – young, justice-minded Southern artists shaped by the social movements of their time – first met in 1976. In honor of this legacy, ROOTS Weekend-New Market/Knoxville was focused on Youth Justice. Throughout the three day gathering, we lifted up the ways young people across the South are contributing to their communities through arts and activism.

ROOTS Weekends are a condensed version of ROOTS Week, our signature gathering. This series of convenings brings artists, activists, and cultural organizers together to build community through workshops, dialogues, visual arts, and performances. ROOTS Weekends deepen our collective understanding of the work of social change by celebrating artists and organizers who are working within communities to develop creative solutions to long-standing issues.

Alternate ROOTS was excited to host a gathering at our birthplace during our anniversary year, and worked closely with local organizers and artists to produce this event. 

ROOTS Weekend in Knoxville, TN Schedule 

A variety of art making workshops – including dance and visual arts – will be offered throughout the weekend.

Thursday, June 23, 2016, Highlander Center | 1959 Highlander Way, New Market, TN 37820

4-6 pm: Arrival & Check In

Girls Rock Charleston Showcase

Girls Rock Charleston Showcase

6 pm: Dinner

7-10 pm: Welcome Reception

Who We Are: Alternate ROOTS

Who We are: Participants

How We Are With Each Other

Film Screening: Highlander History

Poetry Performance: Traja Petty

Friday, June 24, 2016, The Carpetbag Theatre | 1323 N. Broadway, Knoxville, TN 37917


Below are just two of the highlights from Carpetbag’s Youth Theatre Festival. A full listing of performances and workshops will be available on the day of.

Drum Sermons, Orisirisi African Folklore

Love Is the Answer, DUeX Dream Team and Stewards of the Earth

6-7 pm: Dinner @ Highlander

8-10pm: Evening Performances @ Highlander         

Performance: PG-13 Players

Message. Loud. & Clear: Fountain City Slam

Saturday, June 25, 2016, Highlander Center | 1959 Highlander Way, New Market, TN 37820

9-10:30am: Concurrent Sessions

“conNECKted”: Pamella Gibbs & Gwylene Gallimard

Teen Media Literacy: The Artizen Company’s StepStone Arts

10:30 am-12 pm: Intergenerational Conversation & Tree Planting


Appalshop’s Appalachian Media Institute

12-1 pm: Lunch

1-2 pm: Break

2-3:30 pm: Youth Led Sessions

Our participating youth organizations have been invited to share their work around art and activism. Please see the insert for more details.

3:30-4 pm: Break

4-5:30 pm: Self-Curated Sessions

Any participant is invited to self-curate a session to showcase a work of art, a special skill, or host a conversation about issues that are important to you. Over the course of the weekend, we’ll offer instructions on how to curate your own session.

6-7 pm: Dinner

7-7:30 pm: Break

7:30 pm: Evening Performances

LOUD: New Orleans Queer Youth Theater

9-10: Late Night: Youth Edition Cypher with King Shakur and South Dallas Cultural Center  

Sunday, June 26, 2016, Highlander Center | 1959 Highlander Way, New Market, TN 37820

9-10:30 am: Morning Sessions

Creative Aural History Workshop, DJ Oja

11 am-1 pm: Closing Session

1-2 pm: Lunch


Mellon logoThe ROOTS Weekend Series is made possible by the generous support of
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. 

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.