What's Happening

New Minor: Creativity, the Arts, and Social Transformation

Attention Faculty: Call for Proposals, CAST Minor
Due October 27th

Article: New minor brings social purpose to the arts

Acting Together Screening
October 22
Heller School, Room G3


Video: Interview with Catherine Filloux about her new play "SELMA '65"

RFP: Artist as Activist, Rauschenberg Foundation

Job Opening: Director, CONTACT Program, SIT

ABOG Fellowship for Socially Engaged Art
LOI Due November 24

Call for Nominations - Center Stage

Fulbright-mtvU Grants

Listen to a podcast from Arts, Well-being and Resilience: Ideas and Music with Cynthia Cohen and Jane Wilburn Sapp

Video: Liberian Women's Chorus' song about abducted Nigerian girls

Listen to a podcast of a panel on the theme of Resilience, the Arts and Social Transformation at the UBIAS conference that featured Dr. Cynthia Cohen and many more

Press Release Summary from 25th IPRA General Conference
August 10-14
Istanbul, Turkey

Rehearsing Change: A semester study abroad opportunity in Ecuador
Spring 2015

Read News from the Field under the featured themes of Creative Approaches to Sustainability and Environmental Justice
and Puppetry and Social Transformation

Report - "ReGeneration: Young People Shaping Environmental Justice" 

View a video
"Composing Our Lives
Together" song-writing
workshop with Jane Sapp

Don West unveils portrait of Jane and Hubert Sapp at "Seeking Lives of Purpose"

Acting Together short film featured in Culture Unplugged film festival

Read reflection by Cindy Cohen: "Synergy: Women, Creativity & Peacebuilding"

Read review by Anthony Ellis of the Acting Together anthology.

Learn about our new project:
"A Way Out of No Way"
with Jane Wilburn Sapp

Read Cindy Cohen's article in the 2013 Olive Branch Teacher's Guide.

View video: Presentation by the Ulafa’a Visual Artists of Bahrain

“Acting Together” Documentary receives the “Spirit of Place” Award

Ethics Central: Winter/Spring 2013 issue featuring Rose Art Museum Exhibit and From Bahrain to Brandeis and Back Again


Program in Peacebuilding and the Arts featured in Brandeis Magazine: (Summer 2012 issue) 

“Acting Together” Documentary selected to receive a Telly Award


Xchange Perspectives (XCP) is using a Peacebuilding and the Arts report to support their work in South Sudan.  Read more and watch the video.

Read a review of the Acting Together documentary by Shoshana Zeldner, featured by the Compathos Foundation

Read a Book Review
by Serge Loode of the
Acting Together Anthology 
Vol. I & II

Acting Together Documentary

holding hands

Watch the preview!

Find out about "Acting Together" screenings near you.


Read the latest issue of our newsletter, Peacebuilding and the Arts Now.

Sign up to receive updates about the Peacebuilding and the Arts program and the Acting Together project.


New Minor at Brandeis: 
Creativity, the Arts, and Social Transformation 

CASTThe Program in Peacebuilding and the Arts is proud to announce a new interdepartmental minor in Creativity, the Arts, and Social Transformation at Brandeis. The minor offers students the opportunity to explore theory and practice at the center of arts and culture, peace and justice, and creativity. It is designed for students in the arts who want to connect their creative talents to their concerns for social change, and for students in the humanities and social sciences to explore music, theater, literature and visual arts as resources for justice and peace.

Why Creativity, the Arts, and Social Transformation?

Throughout the world, artists, cultural workers, educators and organizers are incorporating the arts into efforts to strengthen relationships across differences and contribute to more just, less violent communities. They engage with a wide array of art forms – music, literature, theater, visual arts, storytelling, digital art and broadcast media, architecture, conceptual art and folk expressions of all kinds.

Artists and cultural workers are nourishing, restoring and strengthening the capacity of communities to live creatively, sustainably and ethically.

Creative and artistic approaches to social transformation involve people as creators, performers, producers, participants, audience members, witnesses and critics. Some initiatives operate in single neighborhoods; some are international in scope. Some are one-time events, others create institutions and processes that last for decades.

Dr. Cynthia Cohen will be teaching the introductory course, Introduction to Creativity, the Arts and Social Transformation (CAST 150b), starting in spring 2015. Read more about the objectives, learning goals, and requirements for the minor. Read the description in the 2014-2015 list of courses (page 18), and read an article about CAST in the Ethics Central newsletter. Students who are interested in signing up for the minor can email Jennifer Cleary or call 781-736-3377. 

Call for Faculty Proposals - CAST Minor

The faculty committee of the new minor in Creativity, the Arts, and Social Transformation announces awards of $2000 for research and creative projects related to the new minor will be available to members of the Brandeis faculty during the next two academic years. Proposals are due October 27th. The stipends are designed to:

  • Support creative and scholarly inquiry into theory and practice at the nexus of arts, culture, and social change.
  • Enhance teaching and advising related to the educational objectives of the new minor.
  • Animate an interdisciplinary conversation about creativity, social justice, and peacebuilding through the arts.

For more information, see the call for proposals and contact Cynthia Cohen, co-chair of the CAST faculty committee.


Read about CAST in State of the Arts 
by Cynthia Cohen
in Brandeis' State of the Arts Magazine 
Fall 2014 issue

Read about CAST in the Brandeis Hoot
New minor brings social purpose to the arts
BHootThe Brandeis Hoot
October 16, 2014

With generous funding from the Max and Sunny Howard Memorial Foundation, the minor will sponsor grants for faculty research and creative projects, and host conversations and events that will invite affiliated students and faculty into an interdisciplinary community of inquiry. We also express gratitude to Naomi Sinnreich P '13 for her vision and support.

Letter from Cynthia Cohen to students of the independent study course of spring semester 2014, “Cultural Work and Social Transformation"

During the course, students learn about the cultural work and the 40 years of experience of Jane Wilburn Sapp, a distinguished African American musician, educator activist and cultural worker, in communities struggling for social justice. Students have the opportunity to reflect on Jane’s work and its meaning in their own lives in writing and in an intimate, small group format.
 Read Cindy's letter, which includes powerful excerpts of reflections from students. 


Drum circle fosters new approach to peace
By Emily Wishingrad, Justice Editor
The Justice, Brandeis University
February 11

"The beat of 10 drums filled the Alumni Lounge of the Usdan Student Center on Tuesday evening as musician and educator Toussaint Liberator led a group of Brandeis students in a drum circle. In a collaborative effort by Brandeis Beats and ’DEIS Impact, the event Beats of Peace aimed to enlighten students about the power of drum culture and how drumming can be used as a tool for peace. During the first half of the event, Cynthia Cohen, the director of Peacebuilding and the Arts, a program affiliated with the University’s International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life, spoke about how music, and in this case, drums, can be and have been used for peacemaking. Cohen told a story of two drummers, one of the Hutu tribe and one of the Tutsi tribe, both living during the Hutu-Tutsi conflict...." Read more.

drum circle

PEACE TALKS: Cynthia Cohen spoke about how
communal drumming can be used to assist
peace talks between groups in conflict.
Photo credit: Josh Horowitz/the Justice

Photos from "Seeking Lives of Purpose"
Photographer Don West unveiled his new portrait of Jane Wilburn Sapp and Hubert Sapp during “Seeking Lives of Purpose: Images, Songs and Stories that Challenge and Inspire,” part of ’DEIS Impact 2014. Read about the event series and view additional photos from two of the events: "Ain't You Got a Right to the Tree of Life: Spirituality and the Quest for Justice in the African-American Musical Tradition" and "Meet and Greet Artists Don West and Jane Sapp: Reception."

Photographer Don West unveils his new portrait of
Jane Wilburn Sapp and Hubert Sapp 

Acting Together short film accepted into
Culture Unplugged film festival

“Dijana Milošević: Performing Truth in the Face of Denial,” one of the short films from the Acting Together toolkit, was accepted to the online film festival Culture Unplugged! Culture Unplugged aims to integrate disparate parts of the self and the global human society, primarily by leveraging the power of new media and extending the effort to offline events and actions. The organization is committed to contemplate and contribute to personal as well as collective spiritual need of the time by focusing on inner and intercultural expression. View the film.

Reflection on a national meeting on documenting,
archiving, and communicating in the field of
community cultural development

virgtechartsA small national meeting on documentation, archiving, and communication in the field of community cultural development was hosted December 6 - 8, 2013 by the Virginia Tech School of Performing Arts & Cinema, Center for the Arts, Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology, and Institute for Policy and Governance. Dr. Cynthia Cohen and Jane Wilburn Sapp participated in the meeting. Read a blog post by another participant Jamie Haft, Assistant Director of Imagining America. The post reflects on learnings from the meeting and explains five misconceptions about documentation, archiving, and communication in the field that the meeting helped to debunk.

Beyond Words
By Erica Granor '15
Exploring Ethics: Ethics Center Leadership Council Blog
"I’ve always loved to draw. The margins of my chemistry notebooks are dotted with doodles, my dorm room walls are plastered with sketches of landscapes and flowers. Until I became a member of the Ethics Center Leadership Council, art had always been about the aesthetic. Art took on new meaning when outreach for Peacebuilding and the Arts became my semester project for the ECLC...." Read more.

Applications now being accepted for
Composing Our Lives Together:
Song-Writing Workshop with Jane Wilburn Sapp
Sunday, February 2, 2:00 – 5:00 pm
Slosberg Recital Hall
Application deadline: January 27 (Download the application)
Part of ‘DEIS Impact 2014: The weeklong "Festival of Social Justice" at Brandeis University

Join the dynamic activist, musician, educator and cultural worker Jane Wilburn Sapp to create an original song that will inspire us to compose lives devoted to social justice. We will draw themes from Portraits of Purpose and from our own experiences and aspirations. Musical background welcome but not required. Participation limited. If you wish to attend, please download and complete the application and email it to David Stiefel deisimpactby January 27.

This event is part of the "Seeking Lives of Purpose" event series featuring Jane Wilburn Sapp and photojournalist Don West as part of 'DEIS Impact in February 2014. View the program brochure page.