2015 Events

November 2015

Presentations by Recipients of CAST Grants for Faculty Projects

These stipends were possible through generous funding from the Max and Sunny Howard Memorial Foundation, with gratitude to Naomi Sinnreich P’13 for her vision and support.

Dr. James Thompson in Residence

Distinguished British applied theater scholar/practitioner in conversation at Brandeis

  • James ThompsonArt, Beauty and War: A Brief History
    A pre-concert presentation and discussion with Dr. James Thompson. Followed by Music Unites Us Concert "Home Within — A Live Audio-Visual Performance from Syria" featuring jazz clarinetist Kinan Azmeh, and post-concert conversation.
  • Presentation/Performance of "In Place of War: Digging Up Stories in Ondaadtje's Sri Lanka" by Dr. Thompson, followed by Q&A and reception
    Dr. James Thompson, an acclaimed leader in the global peacebuilding and the arts field, discussed 10 years of theatre practice and research in the conflict-affected areas of Sri Lanka. He explored how performance and the arts in these settings can deliberately and accidentally dig up issues from the past and question notions of truth places where those stories are violently contested. As in "Anil's Ghost," digging up human histories, as well as digging up human remains, challenges the present as much as putting the past to rest.
  • Open class and workshop in Applied Theater and Oral Communication with Dr. Thompson

October 2015

Four women pose for the camera

CAST Faculty Grant Recipients, L to R: Prof. Adrianne Krstansky, Judith Eissenberg, Azlin Perdomo, Ilana Szobel

Presentations by Recipients of CAST Grants for Faculty Projects
  • "My American Girls" — Azlin Perdomo (Hispanic Studies, Romance Studies)
  • "Choreographing the Disabled Body: Gender, Performance, and Zionism in the work of Tamar Borer" — Prof. Ilana Szobel (Near Eastern and Judaic Studies)

These stipends are possible through generous funding from the Max and Sunny Howard Memorial Foundation, with gratitude to Naomi Sinnreich P'13 for her vision and support.

Presented by students in the CAST minor, in collaboration with the Program in Peacebuilding and the Arts, and the Department of Politics 

Events focusing creative attention on the struggle for voting rights

We explored songs and stories surrounding the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1963, and consider actions we can take today in the face of the 2013 Supreme Court decision that annulled the key provision of the Voting Rights Act and "put a dagger into the heart" of the law.

Read more about the event series and view a video from a workshop with Jane Wilburn Sapp.

April 2015

A Mini-Festival of Creativity, the Arts, and Social Transformation

Find Your LightPresented by the program in Peacebuilding and the Arts and the minor in Creativity, the Arts and Social Transformation. A program of the Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts "Find Your Light"

  • Acting Together on the World Stage: "Asking Toward the Light"
    Screening of the award-winning, Brandeis-produced, hour-long documentary, "Acting Together on the World Stage: Performance and the Creative Transformation of Conflict," featuring courageous performance from conflict regions around the world, followed by conversation with film-maker Allison Lund, Center associate Jane Wilburn Sapp and Associate Professor of English and Women’s and Gender Studies Thomas King, joined by students in the CAST minor.
  • Opening Eyes, Ears and Hearts: Performing Oral Histories about Encounters with Differences from students in CAST 150b
    Students from the Introduction to Creativity, the Arts and Social Transformation share scenes, poems, songs and images based on oral history interviews with people different from themselves. Come prepared to listen, look, and, if you like, sing and dance as well! Refreshments will be served!

March 2015

Director Cindy Cohen joins Tom Hall in an opening discussion "Improvisation and Social Transformation" to launch the first Brandeis Improv Festival

Improv Brandeis FestivalExplore the many ways that improvisation enlivens the arts and sciences; inspires individual and group creativity; and encourages cultural innovation at the first Brandeis Improv Festival. This three-day festival was filled with concerts, live performances, panel discussions and workshops, featuring a diverse range of mediums and artistic genres.

The Festival opened with an open discussion on "Improvisation and Social Transformation" between Tom Hall (author of "Free Improvisation: A Practical Guide") and Cindy Cohen (director of the program in Peacebuilding and the Arts), followed by a multimedia improvisation between artist Lennie Peterson, Tom Hall (sax), and Marty Ballou (bass).

Forum on Peacebuilding and Traditional Arts

PFP Forum flyerPeacebuilding encompasses efforts that aim to transform conflict by nurturing compassion and creating safe spaces for people to live fulfilled lives, with dignity and joy. Please join us as we explore the relationship between traditional/folk arts and historical memory, reconciliation, anti-violence, immigration rights and other justice work through a screening of the documentary, Acting Together on the World Stage, and a panel discussion featuring artists, activists and scholars.

The Philadelphia Folklore Project is proud to be collaborating on this program with Professor Cynthia Cohen of Brandeis University's Program in Peacebuilding and the Arts, and local artists and activists Germaine Ingram, Yared Portillo, Ximena Violante and the Liberian Women's Chorus for Change, featuring Fatu Gayflor, Marie Nyenabo, Tokay Tomah and Zaye Tete.

Movie: "Traitors"

Traitors movie poster

The new Brandeis minor Creativity, the Arts, and Social Transformation (CAST) presents:

Synopsis: "Malika agrees to make just one drug run to save her family home and make a demo tape for her punk rock band. When she is teamed with a veteran woman drug mule, she must decide what her deepest values are. A feminist thriller without a gun." 86 mins. in Arabic and French, with English subtitles. 

Sponsors: Women's Studies Research Center (WSRC), International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO), Peacebuilding and the Arts, the Gender Working Group, the new Brandeis minor in Creativity, the Arts and Social Transformation (CAST), the Feminist Majority Leadership Association (FMLA), NARAL

Fatu Gayflor sings

Fatu Gayflor, joined by Marie Nyenabo, Tomah and Tete on background vocals.

Photo Credit: Toni Shapiro-Phim

Fatu Gayflor and Toni Shapiro-Phim in Residence

The CAST minor hosted singer/activist Fatu Gayflor and anthropologist/dance scholar Toni Shapiro-Phim, both now living in Philadelphia. Fatu is a renowned Liberian singer who is the founder and the artistic director of the Liberian Women's Chorus for Change, a group that focuses on domestic violence, post-conflict reconciliation and other issues of concern for Liberians in the Philadelphia region. The Chorus is an initiative of the Philadelphia Folklore Project, an arts and social justice organization where Toni serves as Director of Programs. Toni has conducted extensive research on the performing arts of Cambodia, and edited an anthology on dance and human rights across the globe.

January 2015

Creative Approaches to Seeking Justice / Portraits of Purpose

Open session of CAST 150b featuring launch of a book by photojournalist creator of Portraits of Purpose Don West.

Conversation with photojournalist as well as Christle Rawlins Jackson, D. Farai Williams and Libbie Shufro discuss the contributions of the arts to social transformation, based on experiences in Boston's African American community and beyond.