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Center for Care Initiative


The Center for Care Initiative grows from a two-year Borghesi-Mellon Grant made possible by the UW Madison Center for Humanities. We take an interdisciplinary approach to addressing the challenges of care work, offering innovative connections between the humanities, the social sciences, policy studies, STEM disciplines, and health sciences — supporting emerging practices toward more livable futures.

Through a wide array of events, workshops, and reading groups, we have gathered a strong network of faculty, students, and community members to engage some of the most pressing questions of care facing us today, from sexual violence and racism to poverty and ecological destruction. Through these activities, we continue to advance our four primary objectives:

  1. To build a community of inquiry around care that activates our community’s existing strengths
  2. To invite scholars and organizers to understand their work within a framework of care
  3. To create a network that supports future work in this area, as well as establish a website to promote and archive workshop experiences
  4. To curate vital thinking around these questions to deepen our collective understanding of care

This care-centered thinking, practice, and community building has only become more crucial in the face of an uncharted new reality as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds. Our activities continue to build on this foundation, deepening dialogues and relationships across campuses and our surrounding community, while expanding our reach to engage national and global horizons of care.

Building upon this foundation, this initiative seeks to establish a UW-Madison Center for Care.

Co-Hosted Events

To date, the Workshop on Care has organized, sponsored and supported a wide array of events and activities for students, faculty, staff, and community members.  This includes public lectures and discussion forums with scientists, social scientists, theorists and artists.

Sarah Deer; Bonnie Clairmont
Sarah Deer and Bonnie Clairmont

On November 9, 2020, the Workshop on Care and the WUD Distinguished Lecture Series hosted a virtual conversation with Sarah Deer and Bonnie Clairmont, titled “Confronting Sexual Violence in the Settler Colonial University.” Dr. Deer and Ms. Clairmont spoke about gender-based violence in a university setting defined by ongoing settler colonial occupation and the ways students and faculty can work to address these issues.

The video recording of this live event can be found on the WUD Distinguished Lecture Series YouTube channel.

This event was also funded by the Wisconsin Experience and Our Shared Future Heritage Marker Educational Innovation Grant. Learn more about Our Shared Future here.

Additional Accomplishments

  • A monthly reading group addressing themes such as: Mapping a Feminist Ethics of Care; Reproductive Justice and Care; Environment and Care; Care and the Arts; Self and Community Care, etc.
  • Campus events like “Sexual Violence and Care on Campus.”
  • Art therapy and self-care workshops.
  • Public performances and art exhibits.

Our website has been a particularly important pedagogical tool – even more so during this COVID-19 crisis. We have created and continually update an archive of cutting-edge scholarship on care to promote distance learning; gather and post local community resources related to care; provide workshop programming information; upload news stories related to the workshop, and highlight information related to international scholarship on care.

Lead Organizers

Read about the Center for Care Initiative Lead Organizers here.

Care Workshop Collage