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Academy Talks

Upcoming Talks

June 8, 2023

In late 2021, maritime archeologist Tamara Thomsen found

June 10, 2023

In celebration of World Wide Knit in Public Day, join us

Videos of Recent Talks

Slide with Event Title and a headshot of Sara Smith
Mead Public Library Talk

On Tuesday, April 18, 2023 at Mead Public Library in Sheboygan, WI, Sara Smith shared how changes in the environment disproportionately impact Tribal communities across the Nation.

The clear and detailed images coming in from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) depicting far-off galactic phenomena have captured our imaginations and set our eyes towards the stars.

Covid 2 years on program graphic
COVID Two Years On

Over 12,000 Wisconsinites have died from COVID-19. Many more have suffered illness due to the virus. After two years battling COVID, uncertainty about our shared future remains.

COVID Two Years On

Public health researcher Dr. Jon Temte has had the unique experience of transiting through the pandemic on many levels: from home and community, through clinical practice, and as part of vaccine policy creation on state and national levels.

COVID Two Years On

Dr. Dipesh Navsaria discussed the science of how stressors affect children, how the pandemic has specifically created challenges for families, and the power of protective strategies at the micro-, meso-, and macro- levels to not only ameliorate stress, but to enable children to flourish and thrive.

Presenter Rebecca  Webster

How can America address its big problems through government leadership and individual citizen participation?

NASA-affiliated researcher Richard Barker discusses his astrobotany experiments with the International Space Station.

Helping kids achieve the American Dream

Boys & Girls Clubs of Dane County CEO Michael Johnson shares reflections on how education can help young people and their families achieve the American Dream.

An evening with Dr. Richard Davidson

Richard Davidson talks with TTBOOK's Anne Strainchamps about the brain’s capacity for change, its connection to the body and how it regulates genes, and our innate human tendency toward basic goodness.

Equity for rural and urban communities

Donna Friedsam hosts a panel discussion with Greg Nycz and Lisa Peyton-Caire reviewing the impact of the Affordable Care Act on Wisconsin and how policy changes will affect various communities as part of the Wisconsin Academy's

Perspectives on the American Dream

Perspectives on the American experience and our shared identity.

Many hands make fair work

Michael Bell and Sarah Lloyd explore fair labor systems for an increasingly diverse farm workforce.

The challenges of diversity in Milwaukee

John Gurda explores how in Milwaukee, as in other American cities, differences became divisions—and how we can work to reconcile the promise of diversity with its abundant challenges.

Three Academy Fellows explore the connections between discovery and imagination.

How are we cultivating creativity in the next generation? Watch the Wisconsin Academy-hosted discussion with three leaders in Wisconsin's early childhood and K-12 education fields.

A panel discussion with three leaders in Wisconsin’s downtowns explores how the arts are making a difference for their communities.

How are entrepreneurs nurturing creativity and leading innovation in business, art, and technology in our state?

An evening with Sheila M. Smith of Minnesota Citizens for the Arts

How can a revved up creative economy help create a better quality of life in Wisconsin?

Lake Superior State University president Thomas Pleger explores how states and our nation can foster creativity.

UW-Madison journalism scholar and science communicator Sharon Dunwoody examines the ways in which stories give meaning to our world by exploring the evolution and influence of stories about climate change.

Part Two in Our Series Connecting Wisconsin and the UN Climate Talks

A recap of the role Wisconsin played in the history COP21 conference in Paris.

Connecting Wisconsin and the U.N. Climate Talks

A conversation with a panel of Wisconsin leaders participating in the United Nations 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21).

How are climate change, globalization, and changes to land ownership affecting Wisconsin forests?

75 Years Encouraging Wisconsin Artists

Explore the history and future of rural arts in Wisconsin with two of its greatest leaders: Maryo Gard Ewell and Helen Klebesadel.

A special Academy Talk with Hector DeLuca

Renowned biochemist and Wisconsin Academy Fellow Hector DeLuca discusses the profound application of vitamin D in medicine, including new treatments in the areas of immunity and autoimmunity, in this special Wisconsin Academy Talk.

In this Wisconsin Academy Talk we explore how tools like scenario-building, storytelling, and the arts can help us better envision our role in prospective responses to climate change.

Panelists include:

Hosted by the James Watrous Gallery & Wisconsin Historical Society

A James Watrous Gallery-hosted discussion of the life and work of photographer, archivist, visual thinker, and bricoleur Paul Vanderbilt.

Michael Kienitz, Kevin Miyazaki, and Craig Schreiner discuss their own work and reflect on the way photographic images can be used to record personal narrative, document conflict, capture a cultural landscape, and share the human experience.

Dr. Chukuka S. Enwemeka, dean of UW–Milwaukee’s College of Health Sciences, shares the latest medical applications for near-infrared and blue light.

Unveiling the Secrets of the Universe

In this Academy Evening talk, physicist and principal investigator of the IceCube Neutrino Observatory Francis Halzen discusses the ghostlike neutrino, a fundamental particle first formed in the first second of the early universe, and what it tells us about our galaxy and those beyond.

A Wisconsin Academy panel discussion hosted by Patty Loew
Led by journalist and author Patty Loew, a panel of Wisconsin experts provide perspective on how climate change is changing Wisconsin life and culture.
A presentation from the 2013 Science in Society Fellows Showcase

For the Science & Society showcase event at the 2013 Wisconsin Science Festival, Academy Fellow and biochemist Laura Kiessling explains how the manipulation of the carbohydrate "coat" that cells wear on their surface can direct the differentiation of embryonic stem cells to medically important cells.

A presentation from the 2013 Science in Society Fellows Showcase

For the Science & Society showcase event at the 2013 Wisconsin Science Festival, Academy Fellow and bioethicist R. Alta Charo discusses the effect of the public debate around embryonic stem cells on the development of a phenomenon called “stem cell tourism.”

A presentation from the 2013 Science in Society Fellows Showcase

For the Science & Society showcase event at the 2013 Wisconsin Science Festival, Academy Fellow and atmospheric scientist Steven Ackerman discusses the future of weather satellite technology and its connection to Wisconsin.

A Presentation from the 2013 Wisconsin Climate and Energy Future forum in Ashland

Jerry Grenberg discusses how social marketing and microtargeting strategies can engage small woodland owners in forest adaptation management.

A Presentation from the 2013 Wisconsin Climate and Energy Future forum in Ashland

At our 2013 Climate & Energy Future Forum in Ashland, Forest Supervisor of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest Paul Strongdiscusses how to build capacity for climate change adaptation and forest conservation among natural resource professionals.

A Presentation from the 2013 Wisconsin Climate and Energy Future forum in Ashland

Maria Janowiak, a scientist for climate change adaptation and carbon management at the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science, discusses how to build capacity for climate change adaptation and forest conservation among natural resource professionals.

A Presentation from the 2013 Wisconsin Climate and Energy Future forum in Ashland

The Trust for Public Land’s Climate Conservation Program director Jad Daley explores challenges and opportunities for forest and landscape-scale conservation in the Northwoods region.

A Presentation from the 2013 Wisconsin Climate and Energy Future forum in Ashland

Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission program director Jim St. Arnold (also known as Nigaanigiishig) discusses climate change impacts on traditional Anishinabe hunting, fishing, and harvesting.

A presentation from the 2013 Wisconsin Climate and Energy Future Forum in Ashland

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore supeintendent Bob Krumenaker explains climate change projections for the Great Lakes and outlines adaptation strategies.

A Presentation from the 2013 Wisconsin Climate and Energy Future forum in Ashland

Chris Swanston shares the science behind climate change adaptation strategies and the role of ecosystem carbon cycling.

A panel of Wisconsin experts discusses the latest research on social and informational hurdles to tackling some of the planet's most serious problems.

A Presentation from the 2013 Climate Innovators' Showcase in Milwaukee

At the 2013 Academy-hosted Innovators Showcase in Milwaukee, John and Dorothy Priske of Fountain Prairie Farm discuss a range of climate- and energy-conscious practices for farms, including wind turbines and sustainable land management.

An Academy Talk featuring Sandra Postel

Sandra Postel, director of the Global Water Policy Project, discusses local and global water challenges as part of the Wisconsin Academy’s renewed Waters of Wisconsin Initiative.

A Vital Skills panel discussion hosted by the James Watrous Gallery

As a part of the Vital Skills exhibition at the James Watrous Gallery, exhibitions manager Jody Clowes convenes a conversation about the importance and relevance of preserving traditional skills and the best means for passing them on.

Economist Timothy Smeeding, director of the UW-Madison Institute for Research on Poverty, explores the "Great Recession" of recent years and its implications for employment, poverty and inequality in the U.S.

In this Academy Evening talk, panelists Donna Neuwirth and Jay Salinas of the Wormfarm Institute in Reedsburg, Wisconsin, and Mitch Menchaca of Americans for the Arts in Washington, DC, share perspectives on how to build community—especially in sm

Held at the James Watrous Gallery from August 31–October 14, 2012, About Seeing is an exploration of the fascinating differences in how we see.

For those with a vested interest in online technologies for learning, the knowledge and skills that constitute successful participation in massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs) places them squarely among the most promising new digital technol

Understanding Immigration

Jeffrey G. Williamson, Emeritus Professor of Economics from Harvard University, discusses declining global emigration rates will affect American culture and commerce.

Age On! A Series on Growing Older, Better

While organ and muscle atrophy is a natural part of getting older, research shows that there are many community-based prevention programs and other ways in which to improve overall physical health and reduce the risk of falls.

In his Academy Evenings talk at the Northwestern Mutual Art Gallery, entitled Milwaukee Labor History: Struggle, Strikes, and Survival, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee emeritus professor of history Michael Gordon discus

Age On! A Series on Growing Older, Better

Why is it so important to get a good night's rest? Could you be suffering from sleep apnea or another sleep disorder without even knowing it?

Can victims, their families, and communities—even countries—heal after unspeakable acts of violence?

If the 20th century was the "American Century," what will the 21st century bring? How can the United States maintain its international leadership and build a better world?

Perpectives on a Post-9/11 World Series

In Part III of the Wisconsin Academy's "Perspectives on a Post-9/11 World" Academy Evenings event on September 11, 2011, panelists consider how the arts can provide new ways of understanding tragedy: John DeMain, music director of

Wisconsin 2050: Pioneering the Future Series

In his Academy Evening talk Jonathan Patz, professor and Director of Global Environmental Health at UW–Madison and lead author for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, outlines how global climate change—including warming t

Perpectives on a Post-9/11 World Series

In Part II of the Wisconsin Academy's "Perspectives on a Post-9/11 World" Academy Evenings event on September 11, 2011, three panelists reflect on the meaning of citizenship in America: Charles Cohen, UW–Madison professor of histo

What role does oxidative stress play in the development of many chronic neurodegenerative diseases? How might we prevent or cure such diseases?

Best Prospects for Progress in Bridging Political Divides

How do we resolve America's problems in ways liberals and conservatives will embrace?

New Approaches to the Old Nature-Nurture Debate

In their Academy Evening talk, UW–Madison psychology professors Jenny Saffran and Seth Pollak look at contemporary perspectives, complex human behaviors, and new insights about the emergence of young children's language and social skills that rais

In her Academy Evenings talk, chief economist at the Concord Coalition (Washington DC) and blogger Diane Lim Rogers gives us a fair-minded assessment of the current debate over the federal budget, the widening gap between revenues

Part One

The Wisconsin Academy, along with UW–Madison and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), hosts a free, two-day event to highlight the accomplishments of stem cell research in the state and to examine future stem cell issues.

Understanding Immigration

In Part I of a special series of Academy Evenings talks entitled "Understanding Immigration," UW–Madison history professor Thomas Archdeacon examines immigration in our nation's history and how it compares and contrasts with immigration today.

Diane Ravitch gives us one of the best informed analyses of the current state of American education—what's broken and what are the best ways to fix it

Understanding Immigration

In Part II of the Wisconsin Academy's special "Understanding Immigration" series of Academy Evening talks, Jose Olivieri, an immigration attorney with Michael Best & Friedrich in Milwaukee, discusses the impact of immigration—

Brain to Five Series

In this Academy Evening talk Susan Ellis Weismer, a UW–Madison professor of communicative disorders, takes parents and caregivers through the stages of child language development.

Understanding Immigration

In Part III of the Wisconsin Academy's special "Understanding Immigration" series of Academy Evening talks, Benjamin Johnson, executive director of the American Immigration Law Foundation in Washington DC, looks at the impact of i

Understanding Immigration

In Part IV of the Wisconsin Academy's special "Understanding Immigration" series of Academy Evening talks, Tamar Jacoby of the Manhattan Institute addresses immigration issues and solutions.

Gary Rhoades, Professor of Higher Education at the University of Arizona, shares a seasoned, national perspective on the rapidly changing landscape of higher education.

Getting to Purple Series

What role do individual voters play in the current presidential election campaign?

Wisconsin 2050: Pioneering the Future Series

In his "Wisconsin 2050: Pioneering the Future" Academy Evenings talk, professor of bacteriology and head of the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center at UW-Madison Tim Donohue discusses the growing field of bioenergy, the production of energy from

The global economy is racked by its worst crisis since the Great Depression. What are the lessons to be learned from the world economic collapse of the late 1920s and how might the current downturn affect our thinking a generation from now?

In the run up to the 2012 fall elections, UW–Madison professors Lewis Friedland and Michael Xenos discuss the role that social media plays in political organizing.

Age On! A Series on Growing Older, Better

How can we prepare for the difficult decisions and conversations surrounding end of life decisions? In the second presentation of the Wisconsin Academy's 2012 Age On!

Age On! A Series on Growing Older, Better

In the last of the 2012 Age On! Series of free Academy Evening talks in Menasha, WI, Dr. Neil Binkley discusses new research involving vitamin D and osteoporosis.

Age On! A Series on Growing Older, Better

Featured speakers at this talk, the first of the 2012 Wisconsin Academy Age On Series in Menasha, are Susan H. and John T. McFadden.

Dr. Davidson gives us a new and useful way to look at ourselves, develop a sense of well-being, and live more meaningful lives.

An Academy Talk with Jonah Lehrer

Jonah Lehrer, contributing editor at Wired magazine and the author of How We Decide and Proust Was a Neuroscientist, shares a sparkling and revelatory introduction to the new science of creativity.

Chele Isaac and BA Harrington's collaborative, multimedia installation work at the James Watrous Gallery explores themes of dislocation, migration, and the way nostalgia distorts and narrows the idea of "American-ness." For their latest project, t

In Part I of the Wisconsin Academy's "Perspectives on a Post-9/11 World" Academy Evenings event on September 11, 2011, John W. Hall (UW-Madison Ambrose-Hesseltine Professor in U.S.

Under No Child Left Behind, efforts to reduce educational inequality have focused on raising standards and holding educators accountable for whether students meet their targets.

A Conversation on Nuclear and Renewable Energy Technologies

In the wake of the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico—arguably America's worst environmental disaster—does nuclear power look any more appealing than it did after the Three Mile Island accident in 1979?

Richard Davidson, Wisconsin Academy Fellow and William James and Vilas Research Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at UW-Madison, discusses how the development of certain positive human qualities may foster not only greater personal happiness

The paintings of Shorewood, Wisconsin, artist David Lenz reveal the inherent beauty of everyday people—from central city children to rural dairy farmers to people with developmental disabilities. How does the artist tell their story?

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Wisconsin Academy Offices 
1922 University Avenue
Madison, Wisconsin 53726
Phone: 608.733.6633


James Watrous Gallery 
3rd Floor, Overture Center for the Arts
201 State Street
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: 608.733.6633 x25