The Woodshed: A Center for Art, Thought & Culture

A Research Center of the Racial Justice Institute

The Woodshed brings artists, scholars, thought leaders and activists into conversations about racial justice to develop art projects, scholarship and public events. 

Woodshed (a verb). A recognition of the need to sequester oneself and dig into the hard mechanics…before you can come back and play with a group in public.


Projects in Motion

Silhouettes of basketball players in a dimly lit arena

Black Performance as Social Protest

The Woodshed collaborates with Georgetown University’s CNDLS staff and the Center for Academic Innovation at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor to develop a new extended reality component for the Black Performance as Social Protest massive open online course currently serving 5,000 learners.

Bitter Flower

The Woodshed will sponsor composer Jonathan Girling to come and develop music for the piece Bitter Flower which explores the relationship between Ida B. Wells-Barnett and Jane Adams. Bitter Flower, by Award-winning novelist and playwright Professor Jennifer Natalya Fink (Department of English & Program in Disability Studies), examines the racism of the White suffrage movement and the visionary work of Black suffragists. Professor Anita Gonzalez (TPST and African American Studies; co-founding leader of the Racial Justice Institute) will direct this workshop production, featuring original music by Jonathan Girling, whose work was recently heard on Broadway in The Kite Runner.
After each performance, the audience is invited to join for tea in the parlor with the cast and a special guest.
“I am hoping, Miss Adams, you can use your impressive voice to speak out against lynching.” 

A storefront reads Holborn Station with an Underground sign above it

Black Communities and Enslavement in Liverpool UK

The Woodshed sponsors a series of collaborations and exchanges with artists and scholars in the United Kingdom who respond to legacies of the slave trade. Faculty members, students and GU272 descendants explore how origins of the slave trade in Liverpool impact communities in Washington DC, the Caribbean and the city of Liverpool.

Watch a Video About this Project

Zora on My Mind

The Woodshed sponsors continued development of Zora on My Mind, a jazz/blues chamber musical written by Racial Justice Institute co-founder/leader Anita Gonzalez. The work explores the nuances of representation, independence, and success for Black women. Dramaturg Jordan Ealey writes: “Inspired by the work of (Harlem) Renaissance woman Zora Neale Hurston, ZORA ON MY MIND fights against prescriptive narratives around race and gender and challenges the notion of what music theatre can and does look like.”

Watch 2022 Workshop Performance
A row of women sit in chairs on a stage

Indigenous Women: “How We Go Missing”

The Woodshed supports the residency of the Anishinaabe Theatre Exchange, a collective of indigenous artists developing new work for the theatrical stage. In collaboration with the Center for Global Performance and Politics, the artists from the collective will participate in panels and performances as a part of the 2022 Gathering in the Gonda Theatre at Georgetown University.

Flags wave at convocation

Johannesburg, South Africa Exchange, and Seminars

The Woodshed is developing an international symposium about “Women’s Liberation and Protest through Transnational Musical Storytelling.” The weeklong academic workshop and symposium at the University of the Witwatersrand will bring together a cohort of Georgetown and South African scholars and artists to investigate how music, language, and community activism coalesce in the production of transnational liberatory musical works based upon women’s experiences.

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