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MIXED DOUBLES: tandem lectures on unrelated topics

A Celebration of the Community for the Terminally Curious!

MIXED DOUBLES is a playful, informative, and engaging approach to a broad range of subjects presented two at a time by a diverse group of informed and passionate individuals or teams from various disciplines in the Triad region. Playful, open-ended, entertaining, and highly educational by its very nature, topics in the initial season range from the history of punk rock to the study of robotics, and from basic pruning techniques to belly-dancing and behind the scenes of animation and special effects. One of the sessions was ‘curated’ during the initial season by audience members and others who suggested topics and individuals who align with the spirit of the Mixed Doubles program. Season ONE began JAN 8 and ran through MAR 5, 2020.


Season TWO begins on Thursday, JAN 25, 2024 and runs on consectutive Thursdays through FEB 15, 2024 at the Forsyth County (Central) Public Library (660 W. 5th street, Downtown Winston Salem)


Its one speaker at a time for 20 minutes each. One follows the other. They are not allowed to refer to the other topic. This is followed by a combined Q&A where anything can happen! Its the opportunity for creative chaos!


All programs run from 6-7pm. Social Mingling starts at 5:30pm. GET THERE EARLY TO GET A SEAT. There will be a series of surprise guests! And the series is FREE and OPEN TO EVERYONE, thanks to our sponsors!


JAN 25: The Burke Singers (social justice choral group) and Intellectual Humility

FEB 1: Honey Bees and Burning Man

FEB 8: Hot Sauce and Contemporary Dance

FEB 15: Spy Music/Exotica and Solar Bikes


Presenters (in order of presentations)

Maestra D’Walla Simmons-Burke, Director of Choral and Vocal Studies, WSSU and Dr. Eranda Jayawickreme, Harold W. Tribble Professor of Psychology, WFU; Samantha ‘Foxx’ Winship, Founder and Queen, Mother’s Finest Urban Farm and Christine Toole, artist/creative, 10-yr Burning Man participant; Niki Farrington, celebrated chef, entrepreneur and Trish Casey, Professor Contemporary Dance, UNCSA; Carlos Bocanegra, Owner/Chief Operator, Monstercade and Ryan Gillispie, Founder, Sol Mobil, LLC

A VERY special thanks to

the Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts

and the Winston Salem Foundation for sponsoring the series!

Organized by David J Brown, Director/Co-Founder, DENT Creative Reuse Center and Art Laboratory, a nonprofit in Winston Salem, in conjunction with the Forsyth County Public Library.

Playful, open-ended, entertaining, and highly educational by its very nature, topics in the initial season range from the history of punk rock to the study of robotics, and from basic pruning techniques to belly-dancing and behind the scenes of animation and special effects.


During each event of the 8-part series, two speakers are featured each evening and each one presents for 20 minutes on their topic, without making any references to the other speaker or topic. This is followed by a 15-minute combined Q&A period (both speakers on the stage together) during which anything can occur. We encourage the audience to get adventurous with their questions., a chance for CREATIVE CHAOS! Presentations include lectures, images, film and video, music, or demonstrations. The series also featured unannounced special guests. DID YOU JOIN IN ON THE FULL AUDIENCE A CAPELLA VERSION OF FARMER IN THE DELL? IF YOU DIDN'T, THEN YOU MISSED IT!


The noted scholar Sir Kenneth Robinson has written and widely lectured about the different ways in which creativity is undervalued and ignored in Western culture and especially in our educational systems. He argues that the intersection where our personal talent meets our personal passion is the place we feel most ourselves, most inspired, and achieve our highest level. Mixed Doubles, as a series, ties together this approach to learning, creativity, and inspiration. 


Our goal with MIXED DOUBLES is to highlight, celebrate, and share the diverse viewpoints, knowledge and expertise, interests, research, experiences, and meaningful activities that occur in the Triad community in a non-hierarchical, fun and relaxed manner. We’re ‘’MIXING IT UP!"—combining scholars, researchers, practitioners, promoters, dancers, artists, scientists---all active in their respective fields of interests, all passionate about what they do. DENT firmly believes that everyone is an expert in a particular field or branch of knowledge.


Punk Rock & French Cooking

Dreaming/Creativity & The World of Robotics

Medieval Women Mystics & Sculpture for Art and Musical Performance

Belly Dancing & Pruning Secrets

Bats/Noise & Bands, Burlesque, Hot Rods

Urban Gardening & Animation/Special Effects

Fakers, Phonies, Liars & Cultivating Mushrooms


Dean Wilcox, Dean, Department of Liberal Arts, UNC, School of the Arts; Catherine Monteran Jones, chef, bon vivant, and former restaurant owner; Dale Pollock, Cinema Studies, UNC, School of the Arts; Dr. Elva Jones, Computer Science, WSSU; Ulrike Wiethaus, Religion/American Ethnic Studies, WFU; Mark Dixon, artist, musician, and inventor; Paula Stump, dancer/performer; Mary Jac Brennan, North Carolina Cooperative Extension agent; Nickolay Hristov, former Design Researcher for the Center for Design Innovation (CDI); Courtney Southern, Co-Founder, Heavy Rebel Weekender; Ryan D. Shirey, English, Dept. WFU; Cathy and Ernie Wheeler, Borrowed Land Farms, Pinnacle, NC; Michael Banner, Urban Gardener and activist; Keith Hobgood, creative director, Out of Our Minds Studios


Special THANKS to our partners: the Forsyth County Public Library, Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, and Camino Bakery, the Bagel Station, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Trader Joes, and Julien Patton's Its a Photo Booth.

The event was incredible.  The pairing was just fantastic.  I was totally stumped until I was just as totally in complete accord.  Congrats - and thanks - for getting this fantastic idea off the ground.  I am going to try hard to make it to future iterations.  Mark Dixon

See the article about Mixed Doubles from the Winston Salem Journal: Mix it up: Curator using talents, passions for learning, creativity, inspiration here.

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