The Penn Program in Environmental Humanities hosts a roundtable, "Remembering Refining," featuring environmental artist, Amy Balkin; environmental scientist, Peter DeCarlo (Johns Hopkins); Grays Ferry community experts, Charles and Tammy Reeves; and NY Times Magazine reporter, Linda Villarosa. Balkin’s "Area of Interest" billboard-as-visual essay provides the event's dramatic backdrop. The conversation, offered in person and online, will be moderated by Professor Bethany Wiggin, coordinator of the collaborative Futures Beyond Refining project, launched in the immediate aftermath of the Philadelphia refinery explosion in 2019. Now, the refinery lands, divided into eleven Areas of Interest, are undergoing remediation by legacy owner, Sunoco, and swift re-development by the site’s new owner, Hilco. Despite promises of “green” opportunities and a re-branding of the site as the “Bellwether District,” the developer intends to retain fossil fuel infrastructure. The site, adjacent to multiple residential areas, is ground zero for climate flooding in Philadelphia.
This moderated conversation intends to prompt consideration of how the refinery and its legacies will be remembered–and how we can learn from and act on them. The Kleinman Forum space offers a rare opportunity to showcase Balkin’s 14x48 ft. visual essay on Penn’s campus after its display along I-76. Register here! Also, check out this Penn Today article on the future of the refinery site featuring PPEH and Futures Beyond Refining!