Life on a Star 2 2023

August 20 - August 27

Collective Memory: The stories we tell about ourselves 

Our communities are formed and defined by the stories we tell, the rituals we share, and the monuments we sculpt. We receive culture from those who come before us, but we are also responsible to recreate it. To retell the stories, to reimagine the stories, and to remake the monuments, literally or figuratively. Join us as we explore who we are, how we want to remember the past and how we want to be remembered.

Speaker of the Week Renée Ater is a public scholar working at the intersection of art and history. Both artistic vision and the presence of the past in monumental form interest her. Standing in public space, she likes to sort out a monument’s relation to the landscape and larger geographies. She is also fascinated with how public ceremonies, civic events, protests, and acts of vandalism shape how we understand monuments and the multilayered messages they convey. She holds a B.A. in art history from Oberlin College (1987); M.A. in art history from the University of Maryland (1993); and Ph.D. in art history from the University of Maryland (2000). She taught in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at the University of Maryland from September 2000 to her retirement in July 2017. In Fall 2020, she was appointed to a two-year term as Provost Visiting Associate Professor in Africana Studies at Brown University. In July 2022, her status changed to Visiting Professor (2022-2025) in Africana Studies. During her tenure, she has taught several courses on monuments, history, and memory. Currently, she is working with Brown University Digital Publications on her digital project entitled, Memoryscapes of Slavery. 

Youth Programming

Children’s programing is available for children through high school. Groups meet in the morning and afternoon. Children are welcome and encouraged to engage in inter-generational activities when not in group. 

Theme Speaker

Dr. Renée Ater, Provost Associate Professor in Africana Studies at Brown University 

Minister of the Week

Anastassia Zinke, UU Church of Annapolis, MD 

Program Fees

$170 for adults

$70 for children

Room & Board

The rates below are per person for the full length of the conference.

Adults (18+) 

Standard Shared: $1,169 | Standard Single: $1,590

Motel Shared: $1,439 | Motel Single: $2,112 


Under 6: Free | 6-11 years: $541 | 12-17 years: $774 

Financial Aid

Visit the Life on a Star website to learn more about the conference’s financial aid offerings.

Boat Schedule

August 20: Depart Portsmouth at 2:20 PM, arrive to Star Island at 3:30 PM

August 27: Depart Star Island at 8:50 AM, arrive in Portsmouth at 10:15 AM


Email the conference chairs, Topher Soltys and Cece Braun, at