UK professor speaks on literacy, technology in black community

By Joy Priest

Funk music. Technology. Literacy issues. They all share something, and one UK professor will tell what on Thursday.

Adam Banks, associate professor of Writing, Rhetoric and Digital Media in the Department of English, will present “Technologizing Funk/Funkin’ Technology: Stevie Wonder’s Talking Book” at the newly re-opened Lyric Theatre.

“Technologizing Funk” will address how to use technology as an avenue to attack literacy issues within the black community. Jay Alexander, program director for 107.9 The Beat in Lexington, had members of the Community Conversations series on his program on Monday.

“I’m going to be there myself. I’m very excited about it,” Alexander said. “[Banks] just brings an enthusiasm and excitement to it and it will help kids learn … I think he’s breaking it down for young folks to understand.”

The session is part of the S.T. Roach Community Conversations, a collaborative of UK’s African American Studies and Research Program and the Lyric Theater.

“When I heard Dr. Feist-Price was putting this series together I was happy to be a part of it. Community work is something I’ve always tried to do on my own here and at Syracuse,” Banks said.

His presentation will be the second installment of the Community Conversations series.

“Every second Thursday of the month we will be meeting at the Lyric to discuss issues that are critical to people of African descent and our communities,” said Sonja Feist-Price, director of UK’s African American Studies and Research Program. “Rather than having discussions in a UK setting it is important that we bring outside sources. We are attempting to engage the community. Sometimes we’ll be discussing policy issues or how to impact change within the community.”

The S.T. Roach Community Conversations series was named after the late S.T. Roach, the Paul Lawrence Dunbar High School basketball coach who was a legend in the Lexington community.

“He stood for so many things. He stood for excellence, the academy as well as the community, and empowerment. He embodied everything this collaborative stands for. That’s why we named it in his honor,” Feist-Price said.

The African American Studies Department and 107.9 The Beat had lots of praise for Banks.

“In my opinion Dr. Banks is one of the baddest brothers on this campus. He has the heart for activism and community engagement,” Feist-Price said.

“His topic is hot, fresh new, energetic and a twenty-first century kind of learning. He will share some really exciting info about technology and how it relates to music and our community.”

“Technologizing Funk” will be Thursday at 5:30 p.m. in the Lyric Theatre multi-purpose room. The event will have free food for attendees, and the Martin Luther King Cultural Center will provide shuttle transportation to the Lyric.

The next Community Conversation will address how to re-enter the community after incarceration and will be the second Thursday in January.

The series schedule can be viewed at, ( and Banks forums and work can be viewed at, (