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2023 CASE Festival

The Margaret Walker Center invites proposals for papers, presentations, and panels for the hybrid 17th Annual Creative Arts & Scholarly Engagement (CASE) Festival, scheduled for Friday and Saturday, April 14 & 15, 2023. The CASE Festival will focus on the legacy of Margaret Walker, Black women writers, and the 50th anniversary of the Phillis Wheatley Poetry Festival at Jackson State.

Proposals must be submitted by Saturday, March 25, 2023.

This year, CASE will feature a keynote address by Dr. Maryemma Graham, Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Kansas and biographer of Margaret Walker. Although the focus is on Black women writers, the organizers welcome proposals from high school, undergraduate, and graduate students on any topic.

Proposal submissions should be 250 words, include a title and name of the participant’s school, and should fit in one of four categories:

  1. Poetry/Spoken Word(10-15-minute presentations in original storytelling or poetry, including brief comments about inspiration &/or form of the work)
  2. Visual Arts(up to 3 pieces of artwork in any media with 10-minute presentations)
  3. Written (8- to 10-page essays with 20-minute presentations)
  4. Performing Arts (10-minute dance, musical, and theatrical presentations)

In the case of panel proposals, please submit the names of the participants and provide a brief synopsis of the panel’s topic and provide individual paper or presentation proposals. To submit a proposal, please send a document in Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF to

For more information, contact the Margaret Walker Center ( or 601-979-3935) or the Conference Coordinator, Dr. Robert Luckett (

Note that the best essay by a JSU student on the “Black experience in the American South” will receive the $1,000 Margaret Walker Annual Award. Submissions for the Margaret Walker Annual Award can be in various forms, including literary analysis, creative writing, research paper, biographical study, autobiography, and historical study. JSU students who would like to be considered for this award must submit their 8- to 10-page essays by Thursday, March 30, and present their papers during the CASE Festival on Saturday, April 15.

We will also present the annual $500 Doris Derby Visual Arts and Social Justice Award to a student at any level from any institution whose contribution best reflects this year’s CASE Festival theme in the category of visual arts, including painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, photography, video, filmmaking, design, and crafts. Students must present their artwork during the CASE Festival on Saturday, April 15, to be eligible for the award.

Winners for all awards will be announced during the Closing Ceremony for the 2023 CASE Festival.

This project is supported in part by funding from the
Mississippi Arts Commission, a state agency, and in part,
from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.