Newsletter, 13 October 2014

Cultural Agents Initiative: Arts and Humanities in Civic Engagement

Students rediscover their classroom and texts, playing with Pre-Texts in new unexpected spaces at the Instituto San Gregorio Hernández in Bogotá, Colombia. Mariana Charry and Andrea Ramírez, two Literature students who attended Cristina García’s Pre-Texts workshop at the Universidad Javeriana on August 15th, are currently doing their professional practice at the Instituto San Gregorio Hernández.

13 October 2014
Dear Friends,

We hope you enjoy this weekly update, which highlights some of our recent activities and the work of other cultural agents. Please see our websites for more information, news, and a list of our upcoming events: and

As we hope to support your work as a cultural agent too, please send your news to us at

To all of our supporters, “texters” (tejedores, tecelões), and collaborators throughout the world, thank you!

With many thanks,
The Cultural Agents Team

As part of the Comparative Media Studies/Writing and MIT Communications Forum, Doris Sommer will give the talk “Welcome Back, to the Humanities as Civic Engagement” on Thursday, October 16 at 5pm. The talk will be held in the MIT Media Lab, Room 633, 75 Amherst Street, Cambridge.

The Harvard Undergraduate Humanities Initiative, organized by Josh Stallings, held its first meeting last week. The group was featured in The Harvard Crimson:

Lisa Crossman attended the Imagining America National Conference, “Organizing. Culture. Change.” It was held in Atlanta, Georgia, October 9-11. As part of the conference and in collaboration with Emory University, Imagining America organized site-specific workshops around the city such as a visit to the Latin American Association (Asociación Latinoamericana), which examined the partnership between the Latin American Association and Emory University and their co-organization of the annual Latino Youth Leadership Conference (LYLC) since 2011.

A third-year student from Hokmah International School in Shenzhen leads an extended lesson about fish and their environments as an extension from a short story called “The Unfriendly River.”

United States 
A Pre-Texts workshop for Harvard graduate students will be held at the Bok Center, Tuesday, December 9 – Thursday, December 11, 12:30-4pm. If you are interested in participating, please email the Cultural Agents Initiative.

More Boston Public School teachers will be trained in Pre-Texts in the coming year. We look forward to sharing more details with you as plans develop.

Other Active Cultural Agents 

From Albania to the United States
The Prime Minister of Albania, Edi Rama, will give a public talk on Thursday, October 16 at 6pm. The event will be held at the JFK Jr. Forum, Harvard Kennedy School, and is co-sponsored by the Center for European Studies and the Center for International Development. For more information on Edi Rama’s transformation of Albania’s capital during his tenure as the Mayor of Tirana, see:

From the United States to Colombia 
Inspired by his experience in the course Cultural Agents at Harvard, Javier Felipe Aranzales Flechas participated in a summer internship offered by Harvard’s Institute of Politics and the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies in Bogotá’s Center for Social Innovation, a branch of the National Agency to Overcome Extreme Poverty (ANSPE) of Colombia’s national government. For Javier’s testimony, see:

The Cultural Agents Initiative recognizes the arts and humanities as vital resources for positive social change. Working from a long humanistic tradition dedicated to civic development, we focus on identifying artists, educators, and leaders who have developed creative practices and respond to the role of art in building civil society and confronting its challenges.
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October 13, 2014
by Rodriguez