What is the Night School Bar?

It’s night classes, reading groups, and seminars for adults where you learn about the arts and humanities in various ways. They are designed for people who work everyday jobs, who are curious about these topics and want to engage with them. It’s a place for people to think about, write about, and learn about art and literature in ways that they might not get to on a regular basis.

How did the idea for Night School Bar come about?

I co-own a bar called Arcana, and I was trying to open another bar that was going to have this kind of programming. About a year and a half ago, The Carrack, a zero-commission gallery in Durham, closed, and that had been a really important community art space. When they closed, they wrote this letter about the financial difficulty of arts and cultural programming, and so I started thinking about how to make that work. I came up with this idea of doing it through a bar to keep it financially afloat … Then the pandemic hit, and the bar plans had to be put on hold, so I offered a class completely for free, as I already had this model set up.

How do you choose class topics? 

I have a lot of experience teaching. I’ve been teaching for 10 years, and I teach at N.C. State right now. I think part of it is just trying to be aware of what might be interesting to other people, but also what is timely. What are the things we need to deal with and make sense of right now, or what are ways we can think about the future in the world we are living in? 

Are there other teachers? 

Yeah. Annu Dahiya is doing a class right now on “Race, Pain, and Media.” I love teaching, but I also really want to learn, so I was trying to solicit more teachers to create a community of people who want to study together. I made that public, and Annu reached out to me. She had some really great ideas for classes that I wanted to take and be involved with.

What classes will you be offering this Spring? 

Annu is going to be doing one on “Reproduction and Reproductive Justice.” I’m doing one on “Science Fiction and the Feminist Imagination,” and those will be in January 2021. We are going to continue trying to create new programming and bring on new instructors as the year progresses.

Visit nightschoolbar.com for more information. 

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