Newsletter, May-June 2023

Biobehavioral Arts and Culture for Health


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II International Cardboard Encounter, University of Costa Rica

July 12, 13, 14. Vía Zoom
More info

Visit our Calendar for more Events

UCONN Completes first course on “Cultural Agents and Human Rights”

“The course “Cultural Agency and Human Rights” was not simply a credit or class that I took this semester; it altered my perspective on both art and life itself. Throughout the course I had various realizations that stood out to me, which happened with enough frequency for me to lovingly term them “moments that broke my brain”. From the very structure of the course to the professor, from the material studied to our final papers, this class expanded my horizons with regards to the capabilities of art and human rights.” Read the full article by Breanna Bonner here.

Arts and Policy, Certificate for Cities

“Had I understood how participatory arts promote personal and public growth, I would have made different decisions as an economist.” This “aha” moment reported by José Molinas, of the World Bank and Paraguay’s Minister of Development, is the inspiration for our “Certificate in Arts and Policy.” It is a pathbreaking response to missed opportunities. Decision-makers can access abundant resources to advance a range of objectives through participatory arts. Security, mental health, school dropout rates, substance abuse, are among the chronic challenges of many cities today. They have not responded well to high cost and sometimes punitive interventions. On the other hand, youth orchestras, mural crews, dance troupes, theater groups, etc. bring results. They provide benefits at two levels: First, they keep youth and their families occupied with collaborative pro-social activities that reduce crime, depression, and dropout rates. Second, they articulate city agencies to improve public services. A youth orchestra, for example, engages transportation, security, health, education, etc. to keep young and older citizens occupied in pleasant activities. Compared to the high financial and emotional costs of addressing violent conflict and trauma with police, prisons, and emergency rooms, the arts represent significant savings to a city. Certification will improve policymaking when public service and private sector social impact effectively engage creative agents for civic and economic development. Visit our webpage for more information.

Foro Theater in the town Padre de las Casas, Chile


A Forum Theater session was held in the town of Padre Las Casas, Chile, during the sec
ond week of April  with the participation of neighbors, community leaders and other social actors. Check the video to see the full scope of this intervention.


Training – Action with Social Leaders, Argentina

Mayra Gimenez making cardboard covers on the first day of Pre-Texts in Belleza y Felicidad Villa Jardín (Fiorito).

Our team in Argentina conducted a training workshop for women who are social referents and who lead community spaces. Following our Training-Action system, the participants have been following up with internships in their neighborhoods.

Silvia Goncel and Carmen Delfino implementing Pre-Texts for women workers in community kitchens, Barrio Ramón Carrillo.

Rosana Machaca implementing Pre-Texts in the Community Center Vamos a Andar, Villa 31.

“I love working with older adults, they say that they forget all their problems; for example they come with a headache and while they are doing the workshop they don’t have any pain. They really like to answer the “questions to the text” and go off on tangents.” Quelina Aponte Rivera said about her work with older women in Villa 31, in the capital city of Argentina. Read more about our work in Argentina here.

Universidad Mayor Training Workshop, Maipú



“It is surprising that in so few days we went from feeling fear, shame, little fluency in our words, and so many anxieties about the new and unknown to a totally different and diverse world based on reading. I can picture it as the dynamics of the wool string where, without realizing it, we were connecting not only with reading but also emotionally and cognitively and — as we highlighted yesterday– we let ourselves go. Reading with comprehension through the different arts, makes this a fabric we can take not only to schools, but to alert all sectors of our society.” Said one of the participants. Click here to find more about this project.

Full Article here.

Pre-Texts in Kindergarten Education, an Essay by Paulina Nuñez

The role of art in education has been recognized by numerous theorists throughout history. Art not only fosters creativity and critical reflection, but also promotes social and emotional skills that are fundamental in the integral development of students. Pre-Texts is a methodology that uses literature and other art forms as a starting point for learning, encouraging active student participation and the development of key skills. This essay examines the relationship -not always present and remembered by education professionals- between art, literacy, civic education and mental health at school, highlighting the challenges and contributions of Pre-Texts in this context and, in particular, in kindergarten education. Read the full article here

A Space to Play and Create, Bogotá


Our local trainer, Victoria Mena and Dr. Alberto Vargas, both professors at Jorge Tadeo Lozano University, gave a workshop during the month of March. The text read was “Antigone”. Here you can find more information on our fieldwork there.

Alliance with the Ministry of Science and Technology, Choco


The “Amoeba Tour” we hosted on May 23  at the Harvard Art Museum with young women from the Choco, Colombia, supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology: We took a few pages from Carl Sagan’s, Cosmos” read it, asked questions, and then visited a gallery to adopt an artwork and relate it to the text.  Everyone is a guide, so the tour is amoeba-like. Click here to see more pictures and videos.

Training – Action, Melting Pro

Athena D’Orazio, from the MeP team, is currently implementing Pre-Texts virtually. She is one of the new facilitators who participated in March in the Training Seminar held at the initiative of the Municipality of Pescara with the sponsorship of the Departments of Architecture, Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures, and Philosophical-Pedagogical and Economic-Quantitative Sciences of the University “Gabriele d’Annunzio” of Chieti and CCW – Cultural Welfare Center and organized by Abruzzo Social Lab. Click on image to read the article published in MeP about this implementation: “Pre-Texts” un nuovo approccio per l’insegnamento olistico”

Training – Action, Biblioteca delle Arti a Reggio Emilia


A new workshop has started at the Library of the Arts in Reggio Emilia with the participation of librarians, social designers and museum professionals.

Click here to learn more about this project

New Facilitators take Pre-Texts to Students, Kenya


Our new facilitators in Kenya, Fatma Ali, Laura Cheptarus, Joe Chege and John Kinyua carried out four days of protocol implementation with 235 students from the Elite Visionary Secondary School. Check more about our fieldwork with Shamiri Insitute here.


April Online Workshop: Testimonies from Mexico and Argentina

“I discovered a very simple and at the same time very powerful way to mix reading and art.  By mixing the two, it awakens the interest to read even more because it becomes a fun activity.  And finally, the interaction and exchange with other people takes place in an atmosphere of great harmony, because we seek to enrich and be enriched by everything that others contribute” Lic. Claudia Ortiz

“Personally, it was a challenge to be a participant in the training and to implement the protocol simultaneously without the framework of a facilitator’s manual. From facilitating the task on calligrams in the training workshop and the feedback I got from my colleagues, I understood that this simultaneity was an advantage since it allowed me to propose and define new activities for the classroom with the feedback from my colleagues. Undoubtedly, the PRE-TEXTOS protocol allowed me to reflect on my habits as a reader and my practices as a teacher, but above all to enjoy a collective experience of reading and production”. Corina Huber

Universidad del Este, Paraguay



Session at Ivy Preparatory Academy in Atlanta, GA, United States


Dr. Barbara Coble conducted a Pre-Texts session at Ivy Preparatory Academy in Atlanta, GA. Dr. Coble has recently used the Pre-Texts approach in a workshop for teachers who are running a summer school program for Atlanta Public Schools.

Available through Harvard University Press


The Swamp Observatory, 18th Venice Architecture Biennale

Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas. The Swamp Observatory AR App. Powered by Hoverlay (2022). Photo by Jonas Žukauskas

Nomeda and Gediminas Urbonas‘ Swamp Observatory is being featured at the The Children’s Forest Pavilion – the Lithuanian Pavilion at the 18th Venice Architecture Biennale. The Swamp Observatory uses Augmented Reality to unveil invisible and imaginative ecosystems of the planned stormwater ponds for the future city district of Visborg in Visby, Gotland Island, Sweden, in the Baltic Sea. More info.

From the Center for Literary Theory and Criticism (IdIHCS-CONICET) of the National University of La Plata we are organizing the XI International Orbis Tertius Congress: “Literatures, Arts and Activisms: New Articulations”, which will be held from Wednesday, April 24 to Friday, April 26, 2024. The congress will be structured in thematic symposia, to which will be complemented by a wide range of plenary activities and cultural encounters that will foster interactive and cultural encounters that will foster an interactive dialogue among the participants.
Symposium applications are open from May 2 to July 2, 2023.



Caminos de Paz Cases for Culture Cultural Agents Opportunities Partners Pre-Texts Rennaisance Now
June 11, 2023
by Rodriguez