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Our Shared Future: Reckoning With Our Racial Past

New Smithsonian Initiative Explores Racism’s Past

When Don Mischer Productions launched a new experiential venture in 2020 as part of the storied company, the goal was to use its industry-leading capabilities and history in producing live television and entertainment-based storytelling to help clients bring their messages to life. DM.Experiential, led by partners Charlie Haykel, Juliane Hare, and Christopher Laue, set out to offer brands, organizations, and movements new ways to share their messages by combining entertainment-based storytelling, technologies, and experiential techniques.

After a year in the making, DM.Experiential debuts their expertise and innovation with a new initiative for the Smithsonian: “Our Shared Future: Reckoning With Our Racial Past.” The program, which will run through 2021–2022, mines the vast resources of the sacred institution and the capabilities of DM.Experiential to explore how Americans understand, experience, and confront racism through several critical lenses like wellness, wealth, and the arts. “Our Shared Future,” produced by Haykel (partner/executive producer), Hare (partner/executive producer), Laue (partner/executive producer), Alex West Steinman (content director/strategist), David Zarembka (executive producer), and Laura Beasley (executive creative director), will include virtual and live events across the country, as well as digital content and storytelling and learning resources for students and educators.

“Making DM.Experiential’s national debut with the Smithsonian is as big of an affirmation as you can get,” Haykel says. “Our Shared Future: Reckoning With Our Racial Past” is an incredibly powerful effort that tells an important story with sensitivity, timeliness, and openness that brings people into the conversation.”

“DM.Experiential was a natural partner to produce the Smithsonian’s ‘Our Shared Future: Reckoning With Our Racial Past’ initiative,” says Tasha Coleman, initiative coordinator. “I saw the work Charlie and his team had done in opening the National Museum of African American History five years ago and was impressed with how they used their deep experience in live television and storytelling to create powerful, in-person experiences that also translated to a broad audience.”

The Smithsonian, with DM.Experiential producing all initiative components, will help lead conversations about race and racism across the country, exploring all races in America and how Americans experience race through six main themes: race and wellness; race and wealth; race and place; race, policy, and ethics; race beyond United States; and race, arts, and aesthetics. “Our Shared Future: Reckoning With Our Racial Past” will invite the public to join the conversation through website response prompts, opportunities for local engagements, and downloadable resources that will empower anyone to host a program and engage in conversations in their own communities.

The Our Shared Future Forum, the first of three national forums, will be Thursday, August 26. The virtual event will be filmed in Los Angeles and livestreamed free for the public to watch on the Our Shared Future web portal https://oursharedfuture.si.edu.

“Through an LED set, graphics, short films, and other techniques, DM.Experiential is striving to create an immersive experience to discuss the complex issues of race and racism in a human and accessible way,” says Haykel of the August 26 event. “As much as what you hear and see, it’s about how you experience these important messages on a human level that strikes an emotional chord.”

The August 26 program will focus on race, wealth, and wellness, exploring the complex systems driving racial inequality in America. From the history and implications of race as a social construct to the health and economic disparities exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, each discussion in the forum will help illuminate how we got here and where we’re going. Each panel features industry experts to contextualize the past and community leaders to reimagine a better future.

Additional programming for “Our Shared Future: Reckoning With Our Racial Past” will center around national forums throughout 2021–2022 that explore the six key themes of the initiative through panel discussions, presentations, performances, and conversations among Smithsonian experts, industry leaders, and public figures. Additional events featuring conversations, music, art, and cultural installations will be held across the country in cities including Los Angeles; Chicago; Charlotte, North Carolina; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Washington, D.C.

— Source: 360bespoke