Gates is an internationally-renowned African-American sculptor, performance artist and cultural planner that lives and works in Chicago.

His lecture, entitled My Labor is My Protest / Artist Agency in the Re-Creation of Space, explores his work in "cultural development"-the arts-based revitalization of under-resourced neighborhoods. Gates uses sculpture, performance art, installations and urban interventions to explore ways in which artists and cultural producers can be proactively involved in community renewal, particularly in poor, black, urban neighborhoods.