BLOOMSBURG - The September 2011 flood's impact on the Bloomsburg area will be explored in a series of programs from March 8 to 14, organized by Bloomsburg University's Institute for Culture and Society (ICS). The series includes lectures and panel discussions presented on campus and downtown in the Alvina Krause Theatre and the Moose Exchange, all open to the public free of charge.

The program coincides with the performance of "Flood Stories, Too," a production of Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble (BTE), the Bloomsburg Bicentennial Choir and the BU Players, from March 7 to 17 in Alvina Krause Theatre.

"The BU faculty members of the ICS have organized a series of panel discussions and lectures on topics related to the idea of community and the arts," said Christina Francis, associate professor of English and acting co-director of ICS. "These programs, offered as part of 'Bloomsburg Explores…,' highlight some of the specific issues and people involved in the 2011 flood, as well as some perspectives on the value of art that responds to and includes its community in the creative process."

The series will open at 5 p.m. Friday, March 8, in McCormick Center with "Tell It! How Shaping Our Stories Shapes Our Lives and Communities" by Arlene Goldbard. Goldbard is a writer, speaker, consultant and cultural activist whose work focuses on the intersection of culture, politics and spirituality. The author of "New Creative Community: The Art of Cultural Development" and "The Culture of Possibility: Art, Artists and the Future," Goldbard has addressed audiences in the U.S. and Europe on topics ranging from the ethics of community arts practice to the development of integral organizations.

Other programs in the series

Lecture: "What Happens When Communities Participate in Telling Their Own Stories," 4:30 p.m., Saturday, March 9, Alvina Krause Theatre. Presented by Goldbard and Gerald Stropnicky, BTE ensemble emeritus.

Lecture: "Flood Stories, Too: Context and Process," 12:30 p.m., Sunday, March 10, Moose Exchange, Grille Room. Presented by Stropnicky.

Panel discussions: 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 12, Moose Exchange, Grille Room. "Climate Change and Flooding" by Jennifer Whisner, assistant professor of environmental, geographical and geological science, followed by "The Role of Response Services to the 2011 Flood" by Kathy Lowe of AGAPE and Rita Inklovich of the American Red Cross, Bloomsburg Chapter.

Panel discussion: "Psychological Responses to Natural Disaster: Stress, Community, Resilience," 6:30 p.m., Thursday, March 14, Hartline Science Center, room 108. Participants are Leo Sokoloski, chief of police, Town of Bloomsburg; William Harrar, director of BU's counseling center; James Dalton, Joseph Tloczynski and Jennifer Yarnell, BU psychology faculty members, and Jodi Weiskerger, private practitioner. Nancy Giles, BU assistant professor of psychology, is moderator.

BTE's "Flood Stories, Too," written and directed by Stropnicky, will be offered as "pay what you wish" performances at 7:30 p.m. March 7, 8, 9, 14, 15 and 16, 2 p.m. March 9 and 16, and 3 p.m. March 10 and 17, in Alvina Krause Theatre. The play transforms the words and stories of local residents into a production about heartbreak and survival.

"Bloomsburg Explores …" is sponsored by BU's College of Liberal Arts. For information on the series, contact Francis at cfrancis@bloomu.edu. For information on "Flood Stories, Too," see www.bte.org.