Creativity, the Arts, and Social Transformation Program (CAST)

Camila Cano ’23 Helps Create CAST 125a: Confronting Gender-Based Violence

Cano sitting in a red chair in a room with colored lights hanging from the ceiling

Photo Credit: Mike Lovett

February 16, 2021

Camila Cano ’23 not only serves as CAST co-chair Toni Shapiro-Phim's TA for CAST 125a: Confronting Gender-Based Violence, but she helped create the course. In Camila's own words:

I was born in Mexico City and attended an international school there. After graduating, I took a gap year in Israel. I am currently a sophomore majoring in Economics and Education Studies. My interest in gender-based violence was sparked by the alarming scourge of femicide in Mexico. As tensions have escalated in the country, I’ve felt powerless as I couldn’t physically participate in the fight. I decided to act within the community I was in: Brandeis. I created a video about violence in Mexico for one of my classes and participated in the International Women’s Day essay contest. I then shared my work and concerns with Professor Toni Shapiro-Phim, who proposed that we create a new course to address gender-based violence and the ways it has been confronted.

I had previously taken a class with her which opened my eyes to how the arts can be a major tool for social transformation. Since I am very passionate about dance and art in general, having a creative focus in the new course is very inspiring. Creating this class is incredibly significant to me, as it is my way to contribute to the fight against such violence, not only in Mexico but in the Brandeis community and beyond. My work includes contacting, researching and interviewing potential guests for the class, or people whose creativity and projects we might study; producing a video that gives an overview of different kinds of gender-based violence; and designing a three-day activity based on the situation in Mexico.

Shapiro-Phim received an award from the Theodore and Jane Norman Fund for Faculty Research and Creative Projects in Arts and Sciences to support Camila's work on developing the course.