Community Conversations

An audience of an event is depicted. In the foreground, a Black woman audience member holds the microphone and speaks. Next to her another audience member listens.

Controversy /History

Envision the future with the Valentine during the 11th year of our community conversation series, Controversy /History.  

What can history tell us about our future? Given that our present has been profoundly influenced by the past, how can we purposefully shape the world of tomorrow?  

In January of 2024, the Valentine will open a new exhibition, “Sculpting History,” which explores the myth of the Lost Cause through the lens of power. In this season of Controversy/History, we’ll explore the future of the big themes introduced in this new exhibition- education, violence, politics, religion and media – and consider the ideas and institutions of the past that still shape our community today. Join us as we imagine a fresh future grounded in a commitment to seeking truth, building community and serving the greater good.  How can we create a future for Richmond that creates greater opportunity for all? 

The series is co-hosted by Valentine Director Bill Martin, Kelli Lemon (of the Richmond Times-Dispatch and Virginia Video Network), and “Sculpting History” co-curator Josh Epperson. Each event will feature a diverse panel of thought leaders carefully selected to address the specific subject matter. Attendees can look forward to interactive discussions, lively debates, and the chance to have their voices heard in the conversations that matter most to our community’s past, present, and future. 

Controversy/History is sponsored by Altria, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo and supported through a media partnership with the Richmond Times Dispatch and Virginia Video Network.



2023-2024 Controversy/History Schedule 

Beyond the Book: Educating the Future
Thursday, October 5 | 6:00 -7:30pm 

Beyond Law & Order: Building Community
Thursday, November 2 | 6:00 -7:30pm 

Beyond Politics: Voicing our Ideas
Tuesday, December 12 | 6:00 -7:30pm  

Beyond the Information Age: Supporting Truth Based Media
Tuesday February 13 | 6:00-7:30pm

Faith & Beyond: Finding Our Moral Compass – Rescheduled Date
Tuesday, March 5 | 6:00 -7:30pm