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WEBINAR: Democratizing Preservation: How the Providence Preservation Society is Recalibrating for the 21st Century

Wed May 25, 2022 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

1 LU

Presented by Providence Preservation Society

Zoom Registration required

Course description:  Since 1956, the Providence Preservation Society (PPS) has played an important role in the preservation and revitalization of the city. Today, however, we and our preservation colleagues nationwide struggle to demonstrate relevance to a broader audience. While transformative of the built environment, our work has not engaged a city-wide audience, nor adequately protected and stewarded Providence’s complete architectural legacy, and we have not kept pace with the issues most affecting the residents of Providence. Recognizing this, and believing that historic preservation has a role to play in addressing a range of contemporary challenges, PPS set about to develop a strategic vision that engages the broader community of people who care about preservation; thoughtful planning and design; vibrant, healthy, and safe neighborhoods; and affordable, quality housing. The result is a strategic plan that reconsiders the role of preservation and its practices, and has drawn national attention for putting equity and restorative justice squarely at the heart of all work moving forward. PPS staff will share how the organization came to this work, delve into the two-year planning process that produced the strategic plan, preview how the plan is being implemented, and discuss the reactions – good and bad – that PPS has provoked with this new direction.

Learning Objectives:

  • Expand knowledge of changing practices in historic preservation
  • Build familiarity with strategic planning frameworks
  • Learn basics of an equity audit performed at a small nonprofit
  • Understand how to develop and implement a community development and engagement ethos

To read the Plan


Brent Runyon
Brent came to PPS to serve as Executive Director in October 2013. Prior to that, he was the executive director of Thomasville Landmarks (Thomasville, Georgia) for eight years. He received his master’s degree in historic preservation from the University of Georgia. While at UGA, he focused on community planning and affordable housing issues and worked on several community-based design charrettes.  His focus is on community planning, place identity, and affordable housing issues. He is actively serving on the boards of the Providence Revolving Fund, the Providence Public Library, Trinity Gateway Historic Improvement Association, and HousingWorks RI. He was named a Providence Community Library “Champion of the Year” in 2017.

Kelsey Mullen
Kelsey Mullen joined PPS as Director of Education in June 2019. She is a public historian, humanities champion, and architecture superfan with 15 years of experience in cultural organizations throughout the northeast. Previously, Kelsey served as the Public Programs Manager for the Newport Restoration Foundation, and as Director of Public Programming and Education at The Mount, Edith Wharton’s Home. In each of her roles, she has worked to harness the social power of cultural heritage and historic site experiences. Kelsey holds bachelor’s degrees in History and Education from Mount Holyoke College and a M.A. in Museum Studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program.


Wed May 25, 2022
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Event Category:


RI United States


Roni Phipps
View Organizer Website