Tag Archives: youth

Link Roundup! – 7/15/16

Link Roundups feature articles and bits of internet goodness that our dramaturgy team digs up. If you find something you want to send our way, drop us a line on Facebook or Twitter!

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object-stories-book_clothingArts Museum Teaching has a post about creating empathy and social impact in museums that can and should be applied to theatres as well:

“We are in more urgent need of empathy than ever before.”

This quote has been on my mind often over the past days, weeks, months, and sadly, years—as senseless acts of violence and hatred hit the headlines at a numbing pace of regularity.  This past Friday was no different, as we all awoke to the horrific news from Dallas, during a week when the country was already reeling from news of the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.  We’re also seeing an alarming spike in hate crimes and xenophobia in the UK after ‘Brexit’ that correspond in unsettling ways to divisive rhetoric and acrimonious tone of Republican nominee Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.  All of this as we are still processing the Pulse nightclub attack in Orlando, where 49 individuals lost their lives.

I think in moments like these, it’s important for museums—and the people who work for them—to pause and reflect on the roles that we serve within our communities. Yes, museums are institutions that hold collections. But they can also serve a powerful role with our communities as active spaces for connection and coming together, for conversation and dialogue, for listening and sharing. Museums can be spaces for individual stories and community voices. They can be a space for acknowledging and reflecting on differences, and for bridging divides. They can be spaces for growth, struggle, love, and hope.

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The Nonprofit with Balls blog, following a week of tragic news from around the country, has some good reminders for folks working in the arts:

But we can’t give up hope. Despite the suffering and death we witness each day, our work is making the world better. I see it all the time. I am motivated every day by learning about the amazing programs you make possible, and by getting to know the kind of people you are and the kind you inspire others to be: thoughtful and compassionate and hilarious, full of hope and love and joy and creativity and the belief in a world that is possible. Our community is becoming stronger and more beautiful because of you and all you bring to it, even during difficult days when none of us know the answers. We must keep trying, even when we don’t know all the right words or all the right actions, even when we make mistakes.

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Link Roundup! – 8/7/15

Link Roundups feature articles and bits of internet goodness that our dramaturgy team digs up. If you find something you want to send our way, drop us a line on Facebook or Twitter!

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 The 30th birthday party for the Guerrilla Girls at the Abrons Art Center in Manhattan in May. Credit Benjamin Norman for The New York Times

The 30th birthday party for the Guerrilla Girls at the Abrons Art Center in Manhattan in May. Credit Benjamin Norman for The New York Times

The New York Times feature about the Guerrilla Girls, “masked crusaders for gender and racial equality in the art world,” looks at their legacy and relevance today:

Today they seem prescient: They long ago took aim at issues that are flash points now, like gender bias in Hollywood, and racism in the gallery world (“Guerrilla Girls’ definition of a hypocrite?” read one poster. “An art collector who buys white male art at benefits for liberal causes, but never buys art by women or artists of color.”) Co-opting the look and feel of advertising, they were social media-friendly and selfie-ready before those terms existed. Though other activist groups, like the newly formed anonymous collective Pussy Galore, have taken up the cause, the Guerrilla Girls say their mission is far from over. “They’re as valid today, and needed today, as they were 30 years ago,” Mr. Kiehl said, “because what they’re talking about is still going on.”

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Students from Marin Academy and Richmond High School interviewed each other for the project. (Dominic Colacchio/KQED)

Students from Marin Academy and Richmond High School interviewed each other for the project. (Dominic Colacchio/KQED)

KQED news has a story about students from two different high schools, both with very different economic and racial backgrounds, who came together for a documentary theatre project:

Ives lives in Marin but drives every day across the bridge to teach at Richmond High School.

“Something I am so aware of since working in this school, how segregated the Bay Area is. It’s shocking to me, actually, to come over the bridge and work in this school every day and to come home, and almost everybody’s white where I live,” Ives said.

To create the play students had to break through that segregatio, which meant examining some big differences, even when those differences were uncomfortable. At one point in the play, Marin Academy student Georgia Spears performs as a Richmond High senior talking about receiving her college admissions letter.

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Link Roundup! – 7/31/15

Link Roundups feature articles and bits of internet goodness that our dramaturgy team digs up. If you find something you want to send our way, drop us a line on Facebook or Twitter!

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 Two students from the creative:connection project collaborate on a piece of music. Photograph: Create

Two students from the creative:connection project collaborate on a piece of music. Photograph: Create

The Guardian has a story about how theatre and the arts can connect youth with disabilities with non-disabled kids:

National statistics show that 65% of people avoid disabled people because they don’t know how to act around them, while 67% say they feel uncomfortable when talking to a disabled person. A survey by Scope and Mumsnet also found that four in 10 parents said their disabled child rarely or never had the opportunity to socialise with non-disabled children.

This project has been designed to bring disabled and non-disabled students together to create friendships and a shared understanding. Not all communication is verbal – which the creative arts are a great way to show. By encouraging these young people to work together, listen to one another and explore communication through sound, music, art and movement, we’re breaking down some of those social barriers and strengthening bonds between disabled and non-disabled people.

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This past month, the Globe and Mail has been running a series following the theatre program of a Canadian high school as they rehearse and mount a musical. Parts 1-5 are online now:

After a decade of writing about the art form he loves, critic J. Kelly Nestruck found himself in a moment of crisis. Theatre, it seemed, had grown elitist and out of touch with the country it was supposed to entertain. To renew his faith, he went back to where it all began: high school. But can a group of teens enduring their own struggles prove that theatre is still worth fighting for?

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Link Roundup! – 7/23/15

Link Roundups feature articles and bits of internet goodness that our dramaturgy team digs up. If you find something you want to send our way, drop us a line on Facebook or Twitter!

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Berkeley Rep's teen council gathers at a monthly meeting. (Photo by Ben Hanna)

Berkeley Rep’s teen council gathers at a monthly meeting. (Photo by Ben Hanna)

American Theatre Magazine has a story about how regional theatres are using teen programming to change the makeup of their audiences:

Large theatre institutions can seem impenetrable to high schoolers. Narrow programming interests, high ticket costs, and a lack of diversity are just a few of the barriers that can make theatres feel unwelcoming, or worse, irrelevant to teen audiences. So it’s hardly surprising that many theatres are working to break down these walls and integrate teens into their organizations—and not only into their audiences. Through teen council or teen ensemble programs, young folks all over the country are getting hands-on experiences at regional theatres, where they learn all aspects of producing theatre, receive leadership training, and make important contributions to their respective institutions.

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On her blog, Melissa Hilllman breaks down the issues with the overuse of the word “offended”:

People who are resisting bigotry are often dismissed with the belittling idea that they’re “offended,” as if fighting cultural oppression and the tools with which it creates, disseminates, and preserves that oppression are equivalent to an imaginary schoolmarm shocked at finding the word “fuck” carved into a desk. No, we are not “offended.” We’re fighting bigotry, and it’s belittling to pretend it’s just about offending our personal, delicate sensibilities.

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Link Roundup! – 6/19/15

Link Roundups feature articles and bits of internet goodness that our dramaturgy team digs up. If you find something you want to send our way, drop us a line on Facebook or Twitter!

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There have been a lot of eloquent and heart-wrenching responses in the wake of the Emanuel AME church shooting that killed nine people earlier this week, and NPR has a round-up of a few to get you started, like this one from Huffington Post Black Voices writer Julia Craven:

Racism is not a mental illness. Unlike actual mental illnesses, it is taught and instilled. Mental illness was not the state policy of South Carolina, or any state for that matter, for hundreds of years — racism was. Assuming actions grounded in racial biases are irrational not only neutralizes their impact, it also paints the perpetrator as a victim.

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Everyday Feminism does a great job breaking down what’s wrong with cultural appropriation:

For many people, barriers like classism, racism, and xenophobia mean they don’t have the right look, language, or position of privilege to earn income with their culturally specific tools – and yet oftentimes, white people can turn those same culturally specific tools into profit, thereby hurting the community they’re borrowing from.

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The How-To Guide for Promoting Diversity in Arts Management

Last month, Howlround published a piece by Elena Muslar entitled “Racial and Ethnic Diversity in Arts Management: An Exposé and Guide.” The article focused on Muslar’s research as part of her MFA thesis, which contained interviews that demonstrated common challenges and hang-ups the success and promotion of people of color. In her “Expose and Guide,” Muslar includes questions, suggestions, and pathways to creating opportunity and access into arts management positions.

E_E Muslar infographic

Muslar noted four common responses in her interviews to current arts managers, about why there were not more people of color in leadership positions in their organizations:

  1. “My organization does try to reach out to people of color but they don’t apply.”
  2. “I’m not really sure why we haven’t had people of color in leadership positions.”
  3. “I fear my own voice in this conversation.”
  4. “I’m not sure how to get young people of color interested in this field.”

These answers are not surprising, and by now near commonplace. However, they are important to hear, and identify, so we can move past these fears and misconceptions. Without recognizing the hesitations, we are unable to challenge them, and consequently, leave them behind.

In all four responses, uncertainty is a common link. Responders are not sure why there is a lack of diversity in leadership, where their place is in the conversation, or how to resolve the issue. Uncertainty, here, is defeating. Rather than asking questions about how to perceive and create change, they are resolved in their inability and their unknowing.

Muslar does more than just raise these questions though, she provides answers.

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Link Roundup! – 4/24/15

Link Roundups feature articles and bits of internet goodness that our dramaturgy team digs up. If you find something you want to send our way, drop us a line on Facebook or Twitter!

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The ARTery has details on a report released last week by the city’s office of Diversity, calling for new strategies to diversify the city’s workforce after uncovering some sobering statistics about how gender and race are represented in Boston:

Overall, the report finds the city’s workforce is predominantly white (58 percent) and does not reflect Boston’s diverse population. Hispanics make up 18 percent of the city’s population, but only 11 percent of the city’s workforce while Asians make up 9 percent of the city’s population, but only 4 percent of the city’s workforce, according to the report. However, blacks make up 23 percent of the city’s population and 26 percent of the city’s workforce, according to the report.

But, when it comes to leadership positions (department heads) all minority groups are very much underrepresented, the report found — 74 percent are white, 18 percent are black, 5 percent are Hispanic and 3 percent are Asian.

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In his post on the Butts in Seats blog, Joe Patti looks at the Quartz post breaking down the recent Pew Research study stating that kids from different economic backgrounds use social media differently. There are some interesting takeaways for organizations looking to reach young and economically diverse audiences online:

Income and race also often determine whether someone has access to a desktop or tablet computer. In any case, it seems increasingly important to make sure your website design is mobile friendly (h/t Drew McManus) if you want teens to have positive interactions with it as that is increasingly the platform of choice.

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Link Roundup! – 4/18/15

Link Roundups feature articles and bits of internet goodness that our dramaturgy team digs up. If you find something you want to send our way, drop us a line on Facebook or Twitter!

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In the most recent post on Bitter Gertrude, Melissa Hillman examines the negative online reactions that the photo below received and how it highlights the importance of engaging with young audiences on their own terms:

Photo by Alvaro Garnero

Photo by Alvaro Garnero

We talk a lot about wanting to engage the rising generation in theatre, and I’m seeing a lot of “what can we do about this?” commentary on this picture. Listen: If you want to engage the rising generation, the first thing you need to do is stop lying to yourself about them. You’ll fail to engage them if you don’t approach them with honesty…This is exactly why 99.999% of “audience engagement strategies” fail miserably to bring in young, diverse audiences. This is why “tweet seats” failed. We’re not looking at this generation honestly. Instead we look at studies designed from the outset to confirm our hypotheses. We make assumptions about how the rising generation thinks and feels based on how they make us think and feel. We refuse to engage them on their own terms, instead dictating the terms to them and then blaming them for boorishness when they fail to meet them.

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Seth Lepore’s HowlRound essay about the importance of entrepreneurship and the blind many college theatre programs have about it has been getting lots of online buzz this week:

The blind spot of most college professors needs to be understood for what it is. A lot of college teachers who are tenure track have been in school their whole lives. Creating their own work has been in the context of academia and the relationship to both process and theory. Practitioners in the academy always have a place to rehearse and develop new work. They don’t have to worry whether people attend the performance and if it will break even or not. When showing a new work, they are part of an infrastructure that already subsidizes them. The business skill set doesn’t seem to fit into “What Would Artaud Do?” They are focused on students building a performance skill set. I’ve actually heard some of these well-meaning professors say “If they want that information, they can take a course with the business school.”

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#StaffChat: A Critical Look at THIS IS MODERN ART

Staff Chat posts feature articles and news that the C1 team discusses as part of our weekly all-staff meeting. We’d love to hear your thoughts too — hit us up on Facebook or Twitter!

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This week’s Staff Chat will focus on the conversation around the play This is Modern Art (Based on True Events), a Steppenwolf for Young Adults production co-written by Idris Goodwin and Kevin Coval. We’re looking at two reviews of the play and a few articles that examine the critical reception of the piece:

Kelly O'Sullivan (from left), J. Salome Martinez Jr., Jerry MacKinnon and Jessie D. Prez in the Steppenwolf Young Adults production of "This Is Modern Art." (Photo: Michael Courier)

Kelly O’Sullivan (from left), J. Salome Martinez Jr., Jerry MacKinnon and Jessie D. Prez in the Steppenwolf Young Adults production of “This Is Modern Art.” (Photo: Michael Courier)

The play, inspired by a real incident, follows a group of Chicago teens who decide to cover the Art Institute of Chicago’s Modern Wing in graffiti art. In their reviews, critics Jones and Weiss briefly touch on the artistic aspects of the play (which they seem to praise), but spend most of their columns taking the show to task for its portrayal of graffiti artists. From Jones:

But here is what “This is Modern Art” barely even mentions: Graffiti comes at a price. It can be invasive, self-important and disrespectful of the property of others — and plenty of struggling folks have had to clean graffiti off something they own or love. Graffiti can be inartful, for goodness sake. More importantly yet, graffiti had the effect of making people feel unsafe in the city. It terrified people. It was only when public officials declared themselves determined to wipe it out that cities finally came back to life, with broad benefits.

You wanna go back to riding public transportation in New York or Chicago in the 1980s? I do not. You do not have to be conservative or somehow not down with youth to think it reprehensible that these issues do not have a place in a show for schools that is quite staggeringly one-sided.

Weiss continues this line of thought in her review, though she takes it even further, stating:

This play is a wildly wrong-headed and potentially damaging work — one that fails to call “vandalism” by its name, and rationalizes and attempts to justify that vandalism in the most irresponsible ways. It also trades in all the destructive, sanctimonious talk about minority teens invariably being shut out of opportunities and earmarked for prison in a way that only reinforces stereotypes and negative destinies. Counterproductive in the extreme, it deepens and solidifies racial and class divisions and a sense of hopelessness among those who need to dwell on possibility.

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#StaffChat: Supporting Arts Education

Staff Chat posts feature articles and news that the C1 team discusses as part of our weekly all-staff meeting. We’d love to hear your thoughts, too — hit us up on Facebook or Twitter!

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Kristen Engebretsen, arts education program manager for Americans for the Arts, wrote an article about ways to support arts education for ArtsBlog that was recently posted by The Alliance for Student Activities:

C1’s educational programs are a huge part of the company’s mission, so this issue is near and dear to our hearts. We are passionate about our Stage One and Apprentice programs, and always looking for ways to increase the visibility of the work our students are doing. This article is a good reminder to think about how we can ensure the future success of our educational programming and initiatives, and a solid resource for anyone who is passionate about keeping the arts in our schools.

Here are a few suggestions from the article that especially stick out: Continue reading