The 2023 UNITE Research Showcase

2023 UNITE Research Showcase

On Tuesday, April 18, 2023, UNITE will host the 2023 UNITE Research Showcase - centered around elevating and promoting the importance of racial equity research at the University of Kentucky, across the Commonwealth, and beyond. This event, which will be held in the Gatton Student Center, is open to UK faculty, staff, and students – in addition to UK affiliates and academic partners. Attendees will gather to hear keynote addresses from national leaders in their fields, breakout sessions presented by local researchers, and a poster session designed to highlight the impactful work of our faculty and students. 



Irma Sarett Rosenstein Lecture

Melissa Harris-Perry, PhD

Professor, Wake Forest University
Founder and President, Anna Julia Cooper Center
Co-Host, System Check podcast

Professor Melissa Harris-Perry is the Maya Angelou Presidential Chair at Wake Forest University where she teaches courses on American politics at the intersections of race, place, and gender. Professor Harris-Perry is the Founder and President of the Anna Julia Cooper Center. Along with Dorian Warren, she is co-host of the podcast System Check, with The Nation. For nearly two decades, Harris-Perry has contributed to American public life through her distinct combination of scholarly analysis and grounded wisdom applied to analysis of race, gender, politics, and power. She hosted the award winning television show “Melissa Harris-Perry” from 2012-2016 on weekend mornings on MSNBC and in 2016, won the Hillman Prize for broadcast journalism. She is the author of the award-winning Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought, and Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

Harris-Perry received her B.A. degree in English from Wake Forest University and her Ph.D. degree in political science from Duke University. She also studied theology at Union Theological Seminary in New York. Harris-Perry previously served on the faculty of the University of Chicago, Princeton University, and Tulane University. She serves on several boards and award committees and is a trustee of both The Century Foundation and The Next 100.  

Sponsored by: University of Kentucky College of Social Work



Afternoon Keynote Address

Nicole Fleetwood, PhD

Professor, New York University
MacArthur Fellow ("MacArthur Genius")

Nicole R. Fleetwood is the inaugural James Weldon Johnson Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication in the Steinhardt School at New York University. A MacArthur Fellow ("MacArthur Genius"), she is a writer, curator, and art critic whose interests include gender and feminist studies, Black cultural history,  prison abolition and carceral studies, and poverty studies.

She is the author of Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration. She is also the curator of the traveling exhibition, Marking Time: Art in the Era of Mass Incarceration, which debuted at MoMA PS1 (September 17, 2020-April 5, 2021). The exhibition was listed as “one of the most important art moments in 2020” by The New York Times and among the best shows of the year by The New Yorker. Fleetwood is also co-editor of Aperture magazine’s “Prison Nation” issue, which focuses on photography’s role in documenting mass incarceration. 

Fleetwood has co/curated exhibitions and public programs on art and mass incarceration at MoMA PS1, Zimmerli Museum of Art, and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. She is the inaugural Genevieve Young Writing Fellow of the Gordon Parks Foundation. Her work has been supported by Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center, American Council of Learned Societies, the Art for Justice Fund, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, NJ Council for the Humanities, Schomburg Center for Research on Black Culture, Ford Foundation, and Puffin Foundation.

Sponsored by: University of Kentucky Commonwealth Institute for Black Studies


Breakout Sessions

During the 2023 UNITE Research Showcase, University of Kentucky researchers will feature their racial equity work during breakout sessions designed to illustrate the relevance and impact of their ongoing scholarship. Sessions will cover the following topics:

  • Health Equity

  • Economics and Law

  • Social Justice

  • Education


Poster Session

University of Kentucky faculty, trainees, and students are invited to submit poster presentation titles and abstracts by March 10, 2023. Poster topics must be directly related to racial equity research and fall under one or more of the following topics:

  • Arts and Humanities

  • Economics and Law

  • Education

  • Health Equity

  • Social Justice

The student and trainee poster session will be a competition, with prizes awarded to the top three posters in the graduate/postdoctoral and undergraduate categories.


  • 1st Place - $1,250.00

  • 2nd Place - $750.00

  • 3rd Place - $500.00



The UNITE RPA extends its sincerest gratitude for the breakout session and keynote speakers, event staff,  and generous contributions of the following colleges and centers at the University of Kentucky:

College of Social Work

Commonwealth Institute for Black Studies

College of Medicine

College of Arts & Sciences  |  College of Nursing

Gatton College of Business & Economics  |  College of Public Health

College of Law  |  Markey Cancer Center

College of Communication & Information  |  Graduate School  |  UK Libraries

Center for Health Equity Transformation  |  College of Education



Parking Map and Directions


University of Kentucky Map:

Gatton Student Center Lot

The Gatton Student Center parking lot will be reserved for event attendees. Parking will be offered on a first come, first served basis.

Cornerstone Parking Garage

Overflow parking is available in the Cornerstone Parking Garage. Please take a ticket when you enter the garage. Prior to leaving the event, request a validation slip from one of the attendants in the Coat Room (just outside of the Grand Ballroom). Please scan this slip before exiting the parking garage.

Gatton Student Center Room Maps

Second Floor: Senate Chamber (left) and Grand Ballroom (right)



Third Floor: Room 331 (left) and Room 330AB (right)


Directions to the Gatton Student Center From I-75 North: (Traveling from Southeastern Kentucky)

Take Exit 104 (marked Athens/Lexington). Turn left off the ramp onto Athens-Boonesboro Road and follow for 8.2 miles to downtown. Turn left onto Rose Street. Turn right at the 4th traffic light onto Avenue of Champions/Euclid Avenue. Turn left into the Gatton Student Center parking lot.

From I-75 South/I-64 East or West: (Traveling from Northern Kentucky, Louisville, or Eastern Kentucky)

Take Exit 113 (marked Paris/Lexington). Turn right off the exit ramp onto North Broadway (US 68). Follow through downtown for 3.5 miles. One block past Hyatt Regency Lexington, turn left onto West Maxwell Street. At the fourth light, turn right onto Martin Luther King Boulevard.  At the end of the street, turn left onto Avenue of Champions/Euclid Avenue.  Turn right into Gatton Student Center parking lot.

From Bluegrass Parkway: (Traveling from Elizabethtown or Western Kentucky)

Turn right off the exit onto Route 60 (Versailles Rd.). Follow until it becomes a one-way street, West Maxwell Street. At the 5th traffic light, turn right onto Martin Luther King Boulevard.  At the end of the street, turn left onto Avenue of Champions/Euclid Avenue.  Turn right into Gatton Student Center parking lot.

A link to a map of the region can be found here using Google Maps.

For additional parking locations, please see the latest maps created by UK Transportation Services HERE