c. Jordan Rathkopf

University Open Air Brings Free Lectures to the Rose Garden

June 10, 2019

This June, Prospect Park Alliance and Brooklyn Public Library present University Open Air, a free, three-week series of classes from June 11 through June 30, in Prospect Park’s former Rose Garden.  University Open Air brings immigrant teachers and professors outdoors to be a part of a pop-up university with lectures on topics ranging from Urban Anthropology to Data Science to Contemporary Taiwanese Poetry.

Featuring courses and workshops from mathematicians, social scientists, urban planners, an actor, and historians from more than 15 countries across the globe, University Open Air will span from urban anthropology to Islamic history, gender equality, data science research, LGBTQI and gender studies, linguistic preservation in Tajikistan, and more. Courses will take place on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, expanding the Library’s role as a catalyst for civic engagement for the borough’s 2.6 million residents, and the Alliance’s mission to provide innovative programs in the park for its more than 10 million annual patrons of all socio-economic and cultural backgrounds.

For a full schedule of courses and to register, please visit bklynlibrary.org/university-open-air. Courses will be accessible and open to all levels of knowledge. Please check the website for the most current schedule. Walk-ins will be welcome.

“Prospect Park’s former Rose Garden is the next area of focus for Prospect Park Alliance in terms of our mission to restore the park and provide spaces where the public can interact and enjoy nature,” said Maria Carrasco, Vice President of Programs at Prospect Park Alliance. “University Open Air directly addresses many of the qualities that the public has voiced for public programming through our community outreach efforts. We serve so many immigrant communities in the park, so to bring together such a diverse roster of faculty makes this program quite special; while the areas of focus are ambitious, the courses will be accessible to all members of our community no matter their level of knowledge on the topic at hand, so we welcome everyone to register and enjoy.”

As part of University Open Air, Prospect Park Alliance Horticultural Supervisor and artist, Ronen Gamil, has created a site-specific installation, Threshold. Extended paths lead visitors through meditative, immersive environments offering a reflection on the hurdles, anxieties, unknowns, promises, opportunities and dreams of migration and education. Threshold hints at the challenges migrants face through interactions with a State Apparatus. The space within evokes State control and monitoring while its colors, patterns and textures celebrate the beauty and richness of ethnic diversity. The horizontality of the installation echoes a broadening and expansion of horizons intellectually, culturally and geographically, while participants are exposed to glimpses of the interior beyond– an obstructed view layered with complexity and unknowns. 

The program will take place in the former Rose Garden, located in the northeast corner of Prospect Park, an area that has been the focus of community visioning sessions as part of Prospect Park Alliance’s plans for restoration of this area of the park

Following the open call, the Library and the Alliance worked closely with the Library’s robust immigration and outreach services team, along with Upwardly Global, Emma’s Torch, and World Education Services to bring together a diverse range of professorial candidates. In advance of the lectures, professors will participate in a teacher’s training session to help structure the classes. All professors will be compensated for their work. University Open Air will continue with an indoor winter semester and will return to Prospect Park again for a summer semester in 2020, expanding the opportunities for potential professors to share their knowledge with the New York Community. Following last summer’s Democracy Lab, the collaboration between the Library and the Alliance broadens both organizations outreach to engage with citizens, as well as serve as a vital resource for Brooklyn’s diverse immigrant communities. 

Learn more and RSVP.