This article originally appeared in Iowa Now .
The 2013-2014 season of International Programs’ WorldCanvass  series begins Sept. 20 with a program focused on human rights and the arts.
Host Joan Kjaer and her guests will discuss ways in which the arts—both the performing and creative arts—serve as critical communicators on issues of human rights and freedom. The live event takes place on Friday, Sept. 20, from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Senate Chamber of the Old Capitol Museum. No tickets are required, and the public is invited to attend.
The arts provide a vocabulary for self-expression and communication across barriers of all kinds. By bearing witness, by exposing injustice, and by offering hope, the arts can help us see what we haven’t seen, understand what we haven’t understood, and find a new way of looking at life’s complexities.
In addition to a general conversation about the power of art to challenge accepted beliefs and effect change, the September WorldCanvass will highlight a year-long, joint initiative of the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights  and the Division of Performing Arts called SOAR (Series on Arts and Rights). The initiative’s goal is to engage and incorporate works that promote dialogue and critical thought, whether they explicitly address a human rights issue or whether they simply communicate ideas or concepts that question what it means to be human.
The discussion, which is held before a live audience and taped for later television, radio, and internet distribution, will be broken into four segments:
Part 1: Human rights and the arts at the UI—Guests: Alan MacVey, director, Division of Performing Arts; Kelsey Kramer, UI graduate student and UI Center for Human Rights representative; John Manning, associate professor, School of Music
Part 2: An exploration of performance and expression—Guests: Charlotte Adams, associate professor, Department of Dance; Mary Trachsel, associate professor, Department of Rhetoric; Jennifer Brown, instructor, English as a Second Language
Part 3: Bearing witness, visual communication, and the power of film—Guests: Ab Gratama, professor, School of Art and Art History; Nathan Platte, assistant professor, School of Music; and Zeyar Lynn, Burmese poet and resident of the International Writing Program (IWP)
Part 4: The arts as actor: human rights, conflict, peace—Guests: Jim Leach, former U.S. congressman and chairman of the NEH, visiting law professor and UI Chair in Public Affairs; Jovana Davidovic, assistant professor, Department of Philosophy
Sept. 20 - The Arts as Vocabulary
Oct.18 - The Rise of Chinese Public Opinion
Nov. 8 - The Social Impact of Sustainability
Dec. 6 - Teaching Innovation
Jan. 24 - Cultural Memory and Commemoration
Feb. 21 - A Century of Film
March 28 - Child Protection: A Global Responsibility
April 11 - The Crossroads Project with the Fry Quartet
May 9 - The Language of the Brain
Now beginning its fifth season of monthly programs, IP’s innovative television/radio/internet program WorldCanvass takes the thoughtful discussion of international topics directly into the homes and mobile devices of thousands of Iowans and others all over the world.
Each program brings together faculty, scholars, students, and community experts to engage in rich, intimate, interdisciplinary conversations on a variety of subjects. (Please see the sidebar for the 2013-14 schedule.) The program is produced by International Programs  in partnership with the Pentacrest Museums, the Hawkeye Network, and KRUI radio.
Distribution of the televised series is greatly expanded this year due to the conversion of UITV into the Hawkeye Network, offering UI programming throughout Iowa on Mediacom cable services and online sources. WorldCanvass will also be available on KRUI radio and online at the Public Radio Exchange, the International Programs website, and as an iTunes podcast.
For more information, visit the WorldCanvass Web page. 
Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to attend this meeting, contact Kjaer in advance at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 319-335-2026.
- WorldCanvass