Press Release


“Future Perfect: Conversations on the Meaning of the Genetics Revolution”

begins with a town hall meeting at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago

September 26 at 6:00 p.m.

CHICAGO – There is a scientific revolution taking place that has the potential to change our society in profound ways. Advances in genetics–from genetically modified foods to stem cell research to genetic testing–have sparked polarized debates. Yet, the general public is not having a robust conversation about the ethics and implications of these advances. Questions about the promises and perils of genetic science concern what it means to be human, what it means to be free, and what it means to be fair — issues at the heart of the humanities.

From September 2006 to September 2007, the Illinois Humanities Council (IHC) will present “Future Perfect: Conversations on the Meaning of the Genetics Revolution” around the state — in Carbondale, Chicago, Decatur, Galesburg, Jacksonville, Lewistown, and Peoria — to increase public knowledge of genetics by engaging Illinoisans in conversations about the genetics revolution and its impact on the individual and on society. Programs will feature scholars, scientists, ethicists, artists, medical professionals, and philosophers as guest speakers. For a full calendar of events or for more information, please visit

The “Future Perfect” series will kick off with a town hall meeting, “Why Should We Care About Genetics?” on Tuesday, September 26, 2006, from 6:00 -8:00 p.m. at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Theater, (220 E Chicago Avenue). This event is free and open to the public, but reservations are required. To make reservations or for more information, contact the IHC at 312.422.5580 or send an email to This event is wheelchair accessible.

Rex Chisholm, Ph.D., Director, Center for Genetic Medicine, Northwestern University and Liz Lerman, Founding Artistic Director, Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, will engage the audience in an exploration of the science and the issues that are affecting public and private life as we experience advances in genetic science. Jon Miller, Ph.D., Professor of Integrative Studies, Michigan State University, a scholar who explores the role of scientific literacy in a democracy, will moderate this panel. Audience members will be encouraged to express their opinions and review the opinions of others in the room by using audience response technology.

“Why Should We Care About Genetics?” is presented in partnership with the MCA and the National Society of Genetic Counselors. This program precedes Ferocious Beauty: Genome, a new dance work by Liz Lerman, created in partnership with scientists, to be performed at the MCA September 28-30, 2006.

Upcoming “Future Perfect” programs in Chicago will include “What Will We Eat? Genetics and Food” (October 28, 2006), and “How Free Are We? Genetics and Free Will” (November 8, 2006). Upcoming “Future Perfect” programs outside of Chicago will take place at Millikin University (Decatur), The Galesburg Public Library (Galesburg), The Dickson Mounds Museum (Lewistown), Lakeview Museum of Arts and Sciences (Peoria), and other sites in Jacksonville and Carbondale.

Future Perfect” is funded in part by grants from the Motorola Foundation and The Boeing Company. Chicago Public Radio (WBEZ 91.5) and Illinois Channel are media sponsors for “Future Perfect.”

The Illinois Humanities Council is a nonprofit educational organization [501 (c) 3] dedicated to fostering a culture in which the humanities are a vital part of the lives of individuals and communities. Organized in 1973 as the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the IHC creates programs and funds organizations that promote greater understanding of, appreciation for, and involvement in the humanities. The IHC is supported by state, federal, and private funds.


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