IMPACT Design Lab
2018 Design Lab
The Design Lab brought into conversation leading thinkers and practitioners in the arts, culture and conflict transformation field.
In preparation for the Design Lab, various working groups within IMPACT (Executive Committee, Steering Committee, researchers team, data analysis team) sketched out a picture of the arts, culture and conflict transformation field: its strengths and its needs, its internal differences and points of consensus, the opportunities that are emerging and the factors that threaten to limit its efficacy. They listened to the hopes that people have for a stronger regional and global infrastructure for the field, as well as the cautions and concerns that people have expressed about this idea. The working groups have been in conversation with practitioners, researchers, policy-makers and funders, and organized the ideas and questions that had emerged from all of these conversations in the "Emerging Story of the Field."
Following the Design Lab, IMPACT translated the bold ideas surfaced into a proposed design of an emerging platform to support the arts, culture, and conflict transformation ecosystem, laid out in the Imagine IMPACT report (available by completing the online publication request form). This proposal of an emerging platform includes a web of teams crafting virtual and in person spaces where knowledge can be shared, ethical dilemmas can receive sustained attention, advocacy strategies can be developed and advanced, risks of harm can be minimized, and relationships of reciprocity can be formed.
Armine Avetisyan, IMPACT Project Manager
Armine is a graduate student in Conflict Resolution and Coexistence (COEX) program at the Heller School at Brandeis University. She holds another MA in cultural management from Istanbul Bilgi University (Turkey).
Armine comes from Armenia, a country with ongoing conflicts with two of its neighbors — Azerbaijan and Turkey. She was born in Gyumri, a city located very close to Turkish border, which is one of the few sealed borders in the world right now.
Armine has been involved in nonviolence work creating bridges of communication between people, separated by the closed border, for over a decade. She has been working on creation of platforms for people from Armenia and Turkey to come together and open up the possibility for dialogue through various forms of arts and culture, namely visual arts, music, cinema and even food.
Babu Ayindo, IMPACT Steering Committee Member
Babu is a storyteller, artist, teacher, facilitator, researcher and writer with over two decades of experience in the design, implementation and evaluation of peacebuilding processes and programs in different parts of the world. He has taught short courses in arts-based approaches to peace work at peacebuilding institutes in Africa, Asia, the Pacific and North America.
Some of his publications include: co-authoring "When You Are the Peacebuilder" (published by United States Institute of Peace, 2001); "Arts Approaches to Peace: Playing Our Way to Transcendence" published in Barry Hart (ed) "Peacebuilding in Traumatized Societies" (University of America Press, Inc., 2008); "Mpatanishi: A Handbook for Community-Based Mediators" (published in 2010 by PeaceNet); and "In Search of Healers" (published by the Coalition of Peace in Africa in 2011).
Babu holds a B.Ed from Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya, and MA in conflict transformation from Eastern Mennonite University, USA. In September 2017, he successfully defended his doctoral thesis, "Arts, Peacebuilding and Decolonization: A Comparative Study of Parihaka, Mindanao and Nairobi" at the University of Otago (Aotearoa/New Zealand).
Anthropologist, Human Rights Officer at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
Johanne Bouchard holds a bachelor in international studies from the Laval University (Quebec, Canada), a master in social anthropology from the University of Fribourg and completed a specialized training on economic, social and cultural rights.
She worked for the Observatory of cultural diversity and cultural rights as scientific collaborator from 2007-16. The Observatory was a research programme of the Interdisciplinary Institute for Ethics and Human Rights (IIEDH) of the University of Fribourg before becoming an independent civils society organisation in 2016. During those 10 years, she was projects coordinator for various research and partnerships specialised on cultural rights, and particularly in charge of the research programme on "contrasted observations of cultural rights," including the Paideia programme (France) on public policies in the field and the analysis of the intersectionality of human rights violations in the work of UN Human Rights mechanisms.
She joined the OHCHR in January 2015 and has been since assisting the mandate of special procedure in the field of cultural rights.
Cynthia Cohen, PhDIMPACT Project Director and Director of Programs in Peacebuilding and the Arts
Cynthia E. Cohen is director of the Program in peacebuilding and the Arts at the International Center for Ethics, Justice, and Public Life at Brandeis University, and director of IMPACT — Imagining Together: Platform for Arts, Culture and Conflict Transformation. At Brandeis, she initiated an undergraduate minor in Creativity, the Arts, and Social Transformation. Cindy has written extensively on the aesthetic and ethical dimensions of conflict transformation, including the chapters "Engaging with the Arts to Promote Coexistence" and "Creative Approaches to Reconciliation." She co-edited and co-authored "Acting Together: Performance and the Creative Transformation of Conflict," a two-volume anthology accompanied by a documentary film and a toolkit of educational and training materials. She holds a PhD in education from the University of New Hampshire, a master's in urban studies from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a BA in ethnomusicology from Wesleyan University.
Ruth Daniel is an award-winning cultural producer and social entrepreneur. Inspired by the transformative use of hip-hop in the drug cartels of Medellin, Colombia, when a young MC said: "If it wasn't for hip-hop, I would be dead. Hip-hop gave me another option and I'm truly thankful for that." Ruth believes art has a capacity to make change in the toughest of contexts. Over the past 15 years, Ruth has worked to make change with creativity in the most marginalized communities across the world working in 24 countries.
Ruth has taken an organization routed in research around the impact of arts in conflict zones, to an organization supporting grassroots change-makers in 24 countries to amplify their socio-economic impact. Ruth initiates new work, develops and implements In Place of War's strategic vision and connects the organization to stakeholders from community to global level. Ruth is passionate about the capacity of young people to make change and believes in equality and the representation and inclusion of the most marginalized people in order to make a better world for everyone. Ruth has spoken at over 100 music and creative industry events in over 30 countries, including two TEDx talks.
Emilie Diouf expertises in Anglophone and Francophone postcolonial African literatures and Cinema with an emphasis on gender, feminist theory and trauma theory. Francophone Caribbean literature; African Cultural Productions and Human Rights. Emilie's research and teaching reflect her interdisciplinary background in Literature, African American and African Studies, as well as Women's and Gender Studies. She is interested in the interdisciplinary study of the relationship between narrative and trauma, expanding the field of trauma studies to include more substantially the writings of African women.
Since African women's trauma narratives represent subjectivities shattered by violence, they are imbricated into the socio-economic and political transits of cultural production, circulation, and reception. She uses trauma theory to explore the ways in which African women survivors of civil war and genocide narrate the large-scale violence inflicted upon them. Her research in African women's literature forms a bridge to Francophone Caribbean Women's literature, and to black feminist theory. Comparisons of various women's cultural productions across the African Diaspora enhance critical inquiry into systemic violence and the promotion of gender justice. Emilie is interested in diversifying the field of feminist studies through cross cultural analysis that accounts for historical shifts that allows us to rethink new feminist paradigms that could take into consideration Black women's unique conditions.
Ellada Evangelou has studied in Cyprus and the United States (BA in English, MFA in dramaturgy, PhD in theatre studies / cultural studies). She has worked as an educator, dramaturge, theatre director, workshop facilitator and independent consultant. She is co-founder and president of the board of Rooftop Theatre. She currently teaches theatre and dramaturgy in higher education in Cyprus and the USA.
Ellada is interested in the intersection of aRtivism and scholarship in post-colonial, post-conflict communities.
Mary Ann Hunter
In daily cooperation with caring and cared-for children, animals and families of belonging, Mary Ann researches and teaches in Hobart at the University of Tasmania. She works mainly in the fields of arts education, applied philosophy and peacebuilding with current interests in the role of curiosity and presence in educational and applied arts encounters. Alongside national and international consultancy work in mentoring, evaluation, arts-based peacebuilding, and curriculum design, Mary Ann is the recipient of numerous teaching and research awards and was start-up coordinator for Curious Schools and the Aboriginal community-led arts mentoring program, meenah mienne.
Recent publications include "Education, Arts and Sustainability: Emerging Practice for a Changing World" (Springer) and "Education and the Arts" (Oxford University Press) as well as contributions to anthologies, "Playing with Possibility, Philosophy and the Arts in Education" and "Acting Together: Performance and the Creative Transformation of Conflict."
Jasmina Ibrahimovic (1984) is a Bosnian-Dutch theater director, dramaturge and teacher in the field of community arts. At the age of 10, she came to Holland as a war refugee from former Yugoslavia. In 2010, she obtained her master's in contemporary theater and dance studies at Utrecht University. She previously worked as a practice researcher at Community Arts Lab XL (CAL-XL) and was involved in Domain for Art Criticism in the workgroup "the quality of community arts." She is currently the home dramaturge of the Rotterdams Wijktheater and assistant programmer of the International Community Arts Festival (ICAF) in Rotterdam.
She is regularly asked to give lectures and workshops to art schools in the Netherlands. She is also mentor for a number of young artists who want to work in the community arts sector. Since mid-2016, she has been a board member of the oldest community theatre group in the Netherlands; Stut Theater, and she is advisor theater, amateur art and community arts at the Amsterdam Fund for the Arts (AFK).
Germaine Ingram, IMPACT Steering Committee Member
Germaine Ingram is a jazz tap dancer, choreographer, songwriter and vocal and dance improviser. She has created choreography for national tap companies, performed as a solo artist, and collaborated and performed with noted jazz composers and instrumentalists, as well as dance artists rooted in diverse genres. Through choreography, music composition, performance, writing, production, oral history projects, and designing and leading artist learning environments, she explores themes related to history, collective memory and social justice. Her recent projects include an hour-length performance piece for the city of Atlanta, Georgia's 150-year commemoration of the Battle of Atlanta, a turning point in the Civil War; and an evening-length production of original music and dance for the VivaDanca International Festival in Salvador, Brazil.
Currently she is a collaborator in an 18-month, multi-disciplinary exploration of how art addresses incidents of sudden loss of human life. Ingram was a 2010 Pew Foundation Fellow in the Arts and a 2014 resident fellow at the Sacatar Institute in Itaparica, Bahia, Brazil. She received, among other awards, a Rocky Award (2011) from DanceUSA/Philadelphia and Philadelphia Folklore Project's Award for Folk Arts & Cultural Heritage Practice (2012). Ingram practiced law for 30 years before becoming a full-time artist. She litigated employment discrimination class action suits that reformed apprenticeship and hiring practices in the heavy construction trades, and challenged policies and practices that limited employment opportunities for women and minorities in the Philadelphia Police Department and the Pennsylvania State Police.
As General Counsel and Deputy to the Superintendent of the Philadelphia School District, she led multi-pronged litigation against state funding formulae that discriminate against districts with concentrations of poor and minority children, and helped to implement an aggressive education reform agenda. As a faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania Law School she founded a clinical program that provided free representation for children and youth. Among her non-profit board commitments are the Leeway Foundation, which funds women and transgender artists, and the Picasso Project, which supports high quality arts education in inner-city public schools. Ingram was the keynote speaker for the Center's 2016 'DEIS Impact festival of social justice.
Thomas A. King
Thomas A. King (PhD, Interdisciplinary Program in Theatre and Drama, Northwestern University) is Associate Professor of theatre and performance studies, queer studies, and early modern and eighteenth-century English literary and cultural studies at Brandeis University, where he is also co-chair and undergraduate advising head of the interdisciplinary minor in Creativity, The Arts, and Social Transformation (CAST). Tom is author of "The Gendering of Men 1660-1750, vol. 1: The English Phallus" (University of Wisconsin Press, 2004) and "The Gendering of Men 1660-1750, vol. 2: Queer Articulations"(University of Wisconsin Press, 2007). ] He is a core member of Artists' Theater of Boston (ATB), which produces low-cost, accessible theater responding to systemic injustices faced by our communities.
For our current production, "This Place/ Displaced," eight area playwrights have partnered with Boston-area residents who have experienced eviction and displacement to create a new work exploring gentrification, loss of community and local memory, and the fight to have a home.
Catherine A. Muhoma
Catherine A. Muhoma is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Administration, Finance & Development, Maseno University. She also serves as an associate professor in the Department of Literary Studies. Her research interests are on the Arts and Cultural Studies for Social Change in East Africa; Gender and Masculinity Studies in Literary Scholarship; and Peace Building and Conflict Management in the Arts. She has undertaken research on issues to do with truth and collective memories in the midst of trauma, and readings of narratives of election violence in the Kenyan context. These studies have created subjectivities and alternate voices to versions of truths, and how memories are constantly constructed, dismembered and reconstructed. Her research in popular cultures have a bias on masculinity studies in so far as depiction and performances of men and masculinity is constructed the readings therein provide rich ground for engagement on the widely contested field of gender scholarship in literary studies.
Shahid Nadeem is Pakistan's leading playwright and Executive Director of Ajoka Theatre. He is well-known for his life-long commitment to human rights and peace. Issues addressed in his plays include peace, tolerance, gender and human rights. Has organized several peace theatre festivals in India and Pakistan. Oxford University Press published a selection of English translations of his in 2008. Several collections of his plays have been published in Pakistan and India. His play "Dara" was produced by National Theatre, London in 2015. His telefilm, "An Act of Terror," was nominated for Scottish BAFTA in 2009.
Shahid was Getty Institute's International Scholar/International Pen Visiting International Writer in Los Angeles in 2001 and Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy Washington. He received Otto Award for Political Theatre on behalf of his theatre group in May 2012 at a ceremony held at the Castillo Theatre, New York. Shahid has been associated with Amnesty International, first as a prisoner of conscience and later as Campaign Coordinator at its International Secretariat in London. He was awarded President of Pakistan's Award for Pride of Performance (Arts) in 2009. He is currently professor of film and TV at the Institute of Art and Culture, Lahore. Shahid was born in Sopore, Kashmir. He studied at Govt College Lahore and Punjab University where he did his Masters in Applied Psychology.
Refilwe Nkomo is a Johannesburg-based multidisciplinary artist, curator, educator and writer creating cultural and artistic interventions, programs and installations using various mediums including performance, video, text and dance. She has founded and co-founded numerous organizations and platforms, most notably We Are Here (WAH) founded in 2010, a non-profit organization working with men and boys to dismantle gender-based violence and recently, Izindlovu Collective which uses arts for social and transformative change. In 2014, she obtained a master's in arts and politics from New York University (Tisch School of the Arts|Art and Public Policy) where she developed the critically acclaimed choreopoem, "Songs for Khwezi."
Her research and performance have been presented in Germany, Italy, South Korea, Ghana, Botswana, Brazil and the United States of America. She has been the recipient of a number of awards including the King Chavez Grant, Oppenheimer Memorial Fellowship and several other fellowships. She teaches at the Market Photo Workshop in Johannesburg and is a partner and director at !Kauru Contemporary Art. In 2017, she participated in the German Development Institute's Managing Global Governance Academy and co-developed the Sustainable Ideas Game, an interactive tool to move from knowledge to action with regards to the Sustainable Development Goals; this was presented at the UN Festival of Action in 2018. She was recently selected as a member of the Technical and Advisory Committee for the African Union's flagship cultural program, The Great Museum of Africa. She is interested in memory, home, belonging, trauma, affect, social change and the archive.
Carmen Olaechea, Argentina, has been working with the Latin American civil society for over 28 years, in NGOs, networks and in an international donor foundation. Her responsibilities have included: the design, development and supervision of projects and programs; knowledge and risk management and the promotion of networks. She has developed conceptual and strategic frameworks; led institutional change processes; designed and implemented collaborative learning architectures; evaluated local and international projects and managed risks at both operational and strategic levels. Her publications include two co-authored books on art and social transformation.
Carmen is a member of the advisory board of Crear Vale La Pena, a leading Latin-American NGO in the field of arts for social transformation; and chairwoman of Fundación Cambio Democrático, an NGO specialized in dialogue and conflict transformation. In addition, Carmen works as an independent advisor to individuals and social, and business leaders (and their organizations) helping them integrate new perspectives in their thinking and action.
Madhawa Palihapitiya, IMPACT Steering Committee Member
Madhawa has over 15 years of experience in the conflict resolution field as a practitioner and researcher with significant work in the areas of violence prevention, mediation, dispute systems design, organizational development, program evaluation and creative approaches to conflict transformation. As an evaluator, Madhawa's experience spans over multiple continents and assessments of the impact of peacebuilding work.
He presently heads the research and evaluation unit of the statutory state dispute resolution office in Massachusetts (Massachusetts Office of Public Collaboration, MOPC) at the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston. He is also adjunct faculty in the Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security and Global Governance at the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies.
Prior to working at MOPC, Madhawa was the director of programs at the Foundation for Co-Existence in Sri Lanka where he engaged in high-risk mediation and violence prevention efforts, including co-creating a state-of-the-art conflict early warning and early response system for Sri Lanka.
Madhawa is committed to ensuring that humanity finds innovative solutions to violent global conflicts. To this end, he promotes a combined approach to conflict resolution through both rational approaches like mediation, negotiation and dialogue, as well as creative approaches to conflict transformation like performance/theatre and participatory photography. Mr. Palihapitiya has also contributed to the Acting Together: Performance and Creative Transformation of Conflict.
Ángela María Pérez Mejía
PhD in literature, journalist, and cultural manager. She is currently Cultural Deputy Governor at Banco de la República (the Central Bank of Colombia), and her work involves leading a network of cultural centers, libraries and museums in 29 cities across the country. From her current position, she focuses on managing cultural networks, the impact of culture on citizenship formation, cultural publications, and management of physical and digital audiences. She was director of the Luis Angel Arango Library, and professor of Latin American literature at Brandeis University for 10 years, where she directed the Center for Latin American Studies. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana, a master's degree from the University of Maryland and a doctorate from SUNY at Stony Brook. As an academic, her research has focused on travel literature, pirate tales, feminism and women travelers.
Since 2016, she is member of the Ideas Council at the International Center for the Arts of the Americas, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and member of the board of directors for the Ethics Center for Peace and Conflict Resolution at Brandeis University.
Lee Perlman, PhD, IMPACT Executive Committee Member
Lee is a research fellow at the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research, Tel Aviv University, where he published his new peace-building performance study, "But Abu Ibrahim, We're Family!" (2017). The study is a series of case studies, describing collaborations of Jewish and Palestinian professional theater artists in Israel, creating theater about their realities.
Lee is a contributing author to the anthology "Acting Together: Performance and the Creative Transformation of Conflict" (New Village Press, 2011), and wrote "Arab-Jewish Youth Encounters: Impact over Time," (Arab Youth in Israel: Caught between Prospects and Risk, Tel Aviv University, the Konrad Adenauer Program for Jewish-Arab Cooperation, 2008).
Lee is board chair of RECAST, Inc. (Reimagining Art, Conflict and Social Transformation); Chair, artistic committee of the International Spotlight on Israeli Drama Festival; and chair, board of directors, of the Daniel Centers for Progressive Judaism, Tel Aviv-Jaffa.
In 2013, Ha'aretz named Perlman as one of "The 100 Most Influential People in Israeli Culture." He has previously served as executive director of the America-Israel Cultural Foundation and as director of grants and programs of the Abraham Fund Initiatives, an organization promoting shared society and equality.
Raj completed his PhD at the University of California, Irvine in the humanities with a concentration in modern continental European philosophy and critical theory at the Critical Theory Institute. His areas of specialization centered on the philosophy of history, historical time and epochal shifts. Subsequently, he did a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley, and a D.A.A.D. research scientist fellowship in Germany where he published articles in continental European philosophy. From 2006-09, he was an adjunct lecturer at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and continued to serve on the Provost Council for College Eight at the University until June 2012.
His current research interests and disciplinary expertise include: 20th-century Anglo-American and European moral and political philosophy, philosophical theories of modernization and social-historical change, comparative constitutional law and legal philosophy, epistemology and the sociology of knowledge in comparative religious studies, and comparisons of Western philosophy and traditional African, Indian, and Chinese philosophy. Teaching interests include Critical Race Theory/Intersectionality, Global Queer and Gender studies, Anglo-American, European and Global South traditions of philosophical ethics, human rights, and theories of justice when applied to sustainable development issues.
Raj teaches in the Masters of Arts Graduate Program in Sustainable International Development where he is currently serving as associate director at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management. He teaches in the Heller School PhD Program in Social Policy. Raj is also the Lead Investigator of the Program on Social Exclusion at the Heller School's Center for Global Development and Sustainability.
In addition to being a full-time faculty member of the Heller School, he is a member of the core faculty in the Master of Arts Program in Comparative Humanities (MACH) within the Division of the Humanities, an adviser to MA theses in the Master of Arts Program in Global Studies within the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and a member of the core faculty in the South Asian Studies Program in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Raj is a member of the NAACP and the Peace and Justice Studies Association.
Toni Shapiro-Phim, PhD, IMPACT Steering Committee Member
Toni Shapiro-Phim received a PhD in cultural anthropology from Cornell University. Her dissertation, books and other publications focus on the history and cultural context of dance and music around the world, particularly in relation to violence, migration, conflict transformation and gender concerns. She's held teaching and research appointments at the University of California-Berkeley, Yale University and Bryn Mawr College, and worked in Cambodian, Lao and Vietnamese refugee camps in Indonesia and Thailand. She's also conducted years of ethnographic research in Cambodia. Co-editor of "Dance, Human Rights and Social Justice: Dignity in Motion," she has also contributed to "Annihilating Difference: The Anthropology of Genocide" and "The Choreography of Resolution: Conflict, Movement, and Neuroscience," among other publications. Her most recent book, "Talking Dance: Stories from the South China Sea," was published in 2016.
Toni serves as director of programs at the Philadelphia Folklore Project where she conducts ethnographic research, curates exhibitions and produces performances, humanities forums and publications highlighting aspects of the cultural practices of Philadelphia's diverse communities, all in collaboration with artists and community groups working for equity and justice. Her first documentary film, "Because of the War," about four brilliant singers — mothers, refugees, immigrants, survivors of Liberia's civil wars — who use their music to address injustices at home and in exile, premiered at International House in Philadelphia in October, 2017.
Clare Shine was appointed vice president and chief program officer of Salzburg Global Seminar in 2012. She is responsible for multi-year program strategy, design, partnerships and implementation in Salzburg and around the world; next-generation leadership development; communications and marketing; and the Salzburg Global Fellowship which straddles nearly 170 countries. Prior to joining Salzburg Global, Clare worked from 1990-2011 as an independent environmental lawyer and policy expert for intergovernmental organizations, national governments, the private sector and NGOs. Her work and publications focused on biodiversity and sustainable development, climate change, international trade, global and cross-border governance and cooperation, coastal and oceans policy, and conflict transformation.
She has played an influential role in global biosecurity and biodiversity policy development, working as legal adviser to the World Bank, European Union, Council of Europe and African governments, and led environmental capacity-building projects across four continents. Clare is a UK-qualified barrister, an Associate of the Institute for European Environmental Policy, a member of the IUCN Commission on Environmental Law, and a bilingual French speaker and professional facilitator. She began her career in industry, working in the media and publishing sector with responsibility for marketing and new ventures. Clare is also a professional journalist who was the Financial Times' theater critic in France from 2001-11. She holds an MA in English literature from Oxford University, UK and post-graduate degrees from London University and the Sorbonne University, Paris, France.
LaShawn Simmons recently graduated from Brandeis University majoring in African and Afro-American studies with minors in anthropology, art history and Creativity, the Arts and Social Transformation (CAST). During her time at Brandeis, she developed skills in arts programming, cultural work, and curating in order to deepen community understanding of diverse social issues. One of her most popular projects is the publication of Ebony Axis, a project she has been working on since her sophomore year. Ebony Axis is a zine that contains a collection of poetry and anecdotes of Black women on Brandeis campus. This publication showcases the beautiful and varied narratives of Black women on Brandeis campus through the medium of poetry and storytelling. She's also been able to pursue these interests outside of Brandeis University through her extensive experience working with nonprofit organizations.
Kiran Sirah is president of the International Storytelling Center (ISC), an educational and cultural institution dedicated to enriching the lives of people around the world through storytelling. ISC organizes the world's premiere storytelling event, the National Storytelling Festival, and supports applied storytelling initiatives across a wide variety of creative industries. Prior to his appointment at ISC, Kiran developed a number of award-winning arts, cultural and human rights in cultural centers across the UK and Ireland. These programs have received recognition from UNESCO, Her Majesty the Queen's authority in Education and the European Commission. He has spoken at the Library of Congress, the Kennedy Center, led stories for peace based discussions at the U.S.Senate foreign relations, for U.S. commanders at Fort Benning Military base in Georgia, U.S. State Ddepartment, the Pentagon's Department of Defense's force directorate.
He is widely recognized for advancing storytelling as a tool for building social empathy and intercultural understanding. In 2015, he was invited to the White House in support of storytelling efforts for national grassroots peace building efforts. An advisory member to UNESCO Scotland- and a Rotary Peace Fellow he has developed articles, talks and conference papers about interdisciplinary approaches to relationship building in communities and around the globe. Kiran emphasizes his interest in "the power of human creativity, arts, storytelling and social justice, and the notion of a truly global multicultural society."
In 2017, Sirah was awarded the "Champion of Peace" recognition at the Rotary International Day ceremony at the United Nations in Geneva. Kiran firmly believes Storytelling not only has the power to enrich lives, but it also holds the key to building a conflict free society. His Telling Stories that Matter program aims to use storytelling in support of changing the trajectory of storytelling, as an ethical art form and social movement and as a global force for peace.
Christine Vertucci graduated from the University of San Francisco with a BA in sociology and a JD in law. She practiced law at a Legal Aid Society before leaving for Hong Kong in 1978 where she served as the co-director of the Asia Monitor Resource Center. Her commitment to the Philippines brought her to Davao City in 1984 where she worked as an international volunteer with non-governmental organizations. She co-founded the Philippine International Forum and served with Mennonite Central Committee as its country representative.
She served with the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor as its donor liaison and with Timorese organizations in a capacity-building role. She returned to Davao City in 2009 to lead the institutionalization of the Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute which she co-founded with Filipino colleagues in 2000 and where she is currently the Director. Christine is a seasoned, detail-oriented and highly committed mentor, manager, and administrator offering 40 years of experience in international development work in areas of peacebuilding, human rights advocacy, popular education and community development in various countries of Asia.
Polly Walker, PhD, IMPACT Executive Committee Member
Polly is of Cherokee descent and a member of the Cherokee Southwest Township. She is currently director of the Baker Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies and the Elizabeth Evans Baker Professor of Peace Studies at Juniata College in the United States. Polly earned her PhD at the University of Queensland in Australia where her research focused on conflict transformation between Aboriginal and Settler Australians.
Polly has published in a wide range of peer-reviewed journals and contributed chapters to a number of edited volumes on topics related to cross cultural issues in conflict transformation, Indigenous approaches to peace, and the role of ritual and performance in peacebuilding. Polly is co-editor, along with Dr. Cynthia Cohen and Prof. Roberto Varea, of "Acting Together: Performance and the Creative Transformation of Conflict Vol. I: Resistance and Reconciliation in Regions of Violence," and "Vol. II: Building Just and Inclusive Communities."
Polly is an experienced trainer. She was a lead trainer and program developer in a six-year international Kastom Governance program in Vanuatu, which was conducted under the auspices of the Australian Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, AusAid and The Malvatumauri National Council of Chiefs. Polly also conducted mediation training with the Solomon Islands National Peace Council, and conflict transformation training with an Aboriginal Community Development organization on Palm Island in Queensland, Australia.
Polly is chair of the Indigenous Education Institute whose work supports ethical collaboration with Indigenous peoples and revitalization of their knowledge systems, particularly in relation to the sciences.
Liz Dreyer (Facilitator)
While Liz Dreyer is a classic rock fanatic, she also has a lifetime appreciation of boundary-breaking art in all genres — both high and low. "I love deeply risky work," she says, and she has devoted her career to creating the "brave space" to make it happen. After attending Oberlin College and subsequently earning her MFA in stage management from Yale University in 1990, she spent 20 years at the Gertrude Stein Repertory Theatre, an experimental theatre devoted to exploring form and process. In 1998, she began working in virtual space as well when GSRT established Learning Worlds — a for-profit technology consulting firm focused on helping companies and organizations use digital technology to tell their stories more effectively.
At EmcArts, Liz continues to focus on space — and on the "deeply risky" work of organizational change. As the Senior Program Manager, she helps create challenging and flexible environments for organizations to explore innovation and adaptive capacity. She manages, designs and delivers the Community Innovation Labs and Arts Leaders as Cultural Innovators programs, as well as coaching in the New Pathways programs and helping to organize national convenings.
An acknowledged extrovert, Liz describes herself as a "social learner and networker who complements" her colleagues. She likes being immersed in multiple aspects of EmcArts' work — from working with EmcArts' senior leadership on her own program content to acting with others throughout the organization to "make the space for our ideas to come to fruition." Now in the "second act" of her career, Liz believes she has found the perfect fit. "The thing that's amazing about being here," she says, "is how the threads of my life all seem to be coming together."
Richard Evans (Facilitator)
Richard Evans directs, designs and facilitates EmcArts' programs and strategic partnerships, which support individuals, organizations and communities on their journey to becoming highly adaptive. Richard is a lead facilitator for current EmcArts programs, which include New Pathways for the Arts, Community Innovation Labs, Arts Leaders as Cultural Innovators, and ArtsFwd.org, an online presence for learning and exchange around "next practices" for arts leaders.
A frequent speaker on the relationship between cultural policy and emerging practices in the arts, Richard's recent engagements have included most of the annual conferences of arts service organizations in the U.S. and Canada. His past research and analytical expertise has been published in numerous field studies.
Richard received his MA from Trinity College, Cambridge, England. Prior to founding EmcArts, he held senior positions in arts management and philanthropy, including co-director of the National Endowment for the Arts' Advancement Program, chief executive of the Bath International Festival of Music & the Arts, England, and vice president of the National Arts Stabilization Fund.
Emily Forsyth Queen
Emily Forsyth Queen is an independent consultant specializing in inclusive strategic planning, program design, and learning for trauma-informed conflict transformation and development. She has nearly 10 years of experience in monitoring, evaluation, research and learning and is dedicated to sparking radically inclusive adaptation and innovation. Within donor organizations like USAID and peacebuilding organizations like the Alliance for Peacebuilding, she has driven action research on using participatory evaluation approaches grounded in systems thinking within complex environments. Now that she has graduated with two MA degrees from the Heller School at Brandeis University, Emily hopes to integrate her skills with work on trauma, healing, the arts and reconciliation.
Sarah Terrazano is a rising senior at Brandeis, and the Peacebuilding and the Arts Undergraduate Assistant at the Ethics Center. A writer and poet, she is an English/creative writing major with minors in CAST and Hispanic studies. She is also the editor-in-chief of The Brandeis Hoot newspaper.
"It is a great honor to be in your company this evening and to welcome you to this great place on behalf of the university community — everyone knows you are here — the President, Provost, faculty, students, staff — and we are blessed that you bring your energy, heads, hearts and hands to this ACCT movement.
And, I have read the just-published report "Summarizing IMPACT research through an emerging story," and among all the lessons I also see your skepticism about universities and resource distribution etc. I understand... my hope is that after this retreat, we will have earned your trust as a home to the movement.
To that point, I want to share part of the Brandeis legacy associated with the arts — (spoiler alert: we stand on the shoulders of giants!)
Our commitment to the arts is LONG and DEEP.
Brandeis was founded in 1948, 70 years ago. The same year as the State of Israel, and the signing of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (UNDHR).
Albert Einstein was a founding trustee and Eleanor Roosevelt and Leonard Bernstein became trustees soon after.
In early discussions about mission, Einstein was adamant that the university invest equally in the ARTS and the sciences, and we did.
In 1952 at the first Commencement ceremony, Leonard Bernstein was in the pit conducting the orchestra and Eleanor Roosevelt was at the podium giving the commencement address — can you imagine the joy and excitement, an inspiration in midst of the Korean War?
As we are now celebrating Bernstein's 100th birthday, we look back not only at his music but also his words, he once wrote:
"A work of art does not answer questions, it provokes them... "
Your "wicked questions" with no clear or easy answers is a fine illustration of that sensibility.
Eleanor Roosevelt, well-known as "First Lady of the World" and lead author of the UNDHR, is perhaps less known as an advocate for the arts.
In 1961, in one of her famous "My Day" columns, she wrote: "Gratitude for artists fills my heart — they can speak through their art to the souls of people... "
Under FDR's New Deal, she was called "the patron saint of the arts," advocating for the arts in American culture with repeated emphasis on the role of art in civic life — the connection between making and participating, the appreciation of beauty in simple things, and art as a means to connect individuals to a larger national narrative.
She is credited with sparking the Public Works of Art Project in 1934 — the precursor to the Works Progress Administration, employing artists to produce thousands of paintings, murals, prints, sculptures for government buildings across the nation. (This for example helped support the likes of Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock...)
Eleanor Roosevelt, like Brandeis today, and I would say, like the ACCT movement, supports "the fundamental emphasis on artists as both the recorder of social ills and dreamer of new realities... "
Now to our own backyard and your voices, one of you quoted in the report said:
"Disruptive innovation frequently starts in the margins rather than the mainstream".
As the ACCT field emerges, let us be careful about entering the mainstream.
Grace Paley, author, poet, activist, reminds us "the mainstream is WIDE and Shallow — the tributaries are where all the life is... "
Like you, Brandeis has shown that you can live LONG and Deep in those waters.
Thank you for swimming up steam in the tributaries — we are with you!
We look forward to learning more about the outcomes from this retreat and look forward to welcoming you all back to this great place soon where "Knowledge Advancing Social Justice is the air we breathe."
Design Lab: Planning for Youth Leadership in the Emerging IMPACT Platform
Recognizing the importance of the voice and leadership of young people, one IMPACT working group facilitated a collaborative space for youth to design strategies to support young people in the arts, culture, and conflict transformation (ACCT) ecosystem.
Drawing on human-centered design techniques, a youth-focused design lab in November and December 2018 engaged young people around the world in assessing the particular strengths and needs of young people in the ACCT ecosystem. Then, through a "Creativity, Arts, and Social Transformation" (CAST) course at Brandeis University, students developed strategies IMPACT could adopt in order to leverage these strengths and address the needs articulated by young people:
- "Virtual Platform" — A platform for ACCT that incorporates many different social media elements, including: spotlights of human experiences in ACCT, networking, digital marketplace, mapping and highlighting ACCT efforts, telethons, ability to categorize and use many languages.
- "Inclusive Learning Spaces" — University-based yearly conferences that rotate among regions and aim to reduce divisions between people in the ACCT ecosystem through reciprocity, homestays, and access to university resources.
- "Transformative Consciousness" — A weeklong, holistic retreat/festival that rotates among regions, is live-streamed, and plans for follow-up small-scale local replications.
The PDF of the Youth-Focused Design Lab Report may be requested by completing the online publication request form.
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