Graphic novelist and playwright Lynda Barry will deliver the keynote address during the annual Joan Oates Institute for Partners in the Arts on June 23, 8:45 a.m. in the Robins School of Business, Queally Hall, Ukrop Auditorium. Her presentation is open to the general public. Tickets are $15 and can be reserved online.

The Joan Oates Institute, hosted by the University of Richmond School of Professional and Continuing Studies, is a hands-on professional development course that trains K-12 teachers in the theory and practical application of using the arts to teach all subjects.

Barry’s presentation, which is based on her acclaimed writing guide “What It Is,” will explore a number of topics, including the biological function of the arts; why children are instinctively creative; why many adults lose touch with their creativity; and why the longing to be creative persists throughout our lives. “What It Is” won the Eisner Award for Best Reality Based Graphic Novel.

In addition to her keynote address, Barry will teach workshops on writing and drawing during this year’s institute. Registration for those workshops is closed.

“Lynda does an incredible job of helping all of us access the creative tools we were born with,” says Rob McAdams, Partners in the Arts program manager. “She shows us how to explore, imagine and communicate experiences and ideas in multiple forms, and in any educational or professional setting.”

Barry is the creator of the seminal comic strip “Ernie Pook’s Comeek and several graphic novels, one of which, “The Good Times Are Killing Me,” was adapted as an off-Broadway play. She has recently published “Syllabus: Notes from an Accidental Professor,” a guide to her creative writing method. Barry is an associate professor of Interdisciplinary Creativity at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

For more information about Partners in the Arts and the 2015 Joan Oates Institute, visit

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Director, Partners in the Arts
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Liberal Arts
Member, SPCS Speakers Bureau
Integrating Creativity in Learning & Working
Arts Integration