Talks & Workshops

History is always in motion, and always being created.

Be a part of the Exiled to Motown exhibit by joining us for our additional community programming!

We have come to speak in college classrooms across the country, senior centers, and have also been invited to talk to organizations interested in local history.

Check back soon for more programming opportunities!

Past Programs


  • Zoom Talk for English 156: Reading the World – Japanese American Incarceration and Social Justice (Dr. Mika Kennedy) at Kalamazoo College
  • Zoom Talk for Birmingham Next, a senior community center
  • Zoom Talk for the Cranbrook Center’s Bauder Lecture Series: Unsettling Landscapes at Cranbrook: Histories of Indigenous Communities, the Japanese Experience, and Suburban Segregation: “The Cranbrook Japanese Garden and the Japanese Experience in World War II and its Aftermath” with Dr. Bonnie Clark
  • Zoom Talk at Michigan in Perspective: The Local History Conference: “Letters Lost: Preserving the History of Japanese Americans in the Motor City” 
  • Zoom Talk for Asian American Studies 372: Japanese American Incarceration – Remembering an Unfinished History (Dr. Vince Schleitwiler) at the University of Washington: “From Sea to Motor City: Japanese Americans in Detroit”
  • Zoom Talk for Sociology 276: Contemporary Issues in Asian American Communities (Dr. Jenny Kwak) at the University of Southern California: “From Sea to Motor City: Japanese Americans in Detroit” 



  • Talk and Exhibition for American Culture 214: Introduction to Asian American Studies (Dr. Ian Shin) at the University of Michigan: “Letters to Memory”

Opening Ceremony

Novi Public Library
Wednesday, June 5, 2019


Join us in opening the Novi exhibition of Exiled to Motown, which we’re celebrating with a public talk by Mika Kennedy, the curator of the Exiled to Motown exhibit.

Japanese Americans have been hard at work and play in the Detroit area for over a hundred years, finding ways to celebrate a distinctly Midwestern Japanese American culture while chasing American dreams. From the beginnings of the Ford Motor Company to mass migration eastward following World War II, this talk will guide you through the stories of objects and photographs, and oral histories that offer unique insights into the lives of Japanese Americans in metro Detroit. What do sock hops and civil rights have in common? They are both colorful, vital components of the personal recollections of Detroit’s first Japanese Americans and the way these personal stories connect to flashbulb moments in American history, such as the 1982 murder of Vincent Chin in Highland Park. Join us in exploring the rich histories of labor, race, and belonging in Detroit!

You will then have an opportunity to share your own stories and inquiries in a Q&A session, before previewing the Exiled to Motown exhibit before its official opening on June 6!

Mika Kennedy is a doctoral candidate in Asian American Literature at the University of Michigan and the 2018-19 James A. Wynn Graduate Fellow at the Institute for the Humanities. Her research focuses on narratives of Japanese American incarceration during World War II and their intersections with Native sovereignty, environmental justice, and the seductions of Western frontier mythologies. She has served as a public research fellow for the Arab American National Museum and the JACL Detroit Chapter.

Storytelling Workshop

Ann Arbor District Library – Downtown
Fourth Floor Meeting Room
Saturday, May 11, 2019


Get hands-on with history with our storytelling workshop! During this interactive program, you’ll learn about how to tell your own community stories. You’ll have a chance to brainstorm and draft your story, in addition to receiving friendly, constructive feedback from your workshop leader and peers. This workshop is intended for middle-schoolers and up.

Photo Credit: Mark Bialek (The Ann Arbor Observer)