Newsletter, 26 September 2014

Cultural Agents Initiative: Arts and Humanities in Civic Engagement

As part of their work with the novel The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, fifth-year students from the Colégio Postivo Internacional created concrete poetry after learning about the characteristics and seeing examples of this genre. Curitiba, Brazil. August 2014. 

26 September 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

Next week Professor Doris Sommer will travel to Colombia to present at the Conferencia internacional de cultura ciudadana: Cultura y Construcción de Paz (International Conference on Civic Culture: Culture and the Construction of Peace), which will be held at the Centro Cultural Gabriel García Márquez in Bogotá on October 2 and 3. Professor Sommer will present alongside distinguished politicians, scholars, university directors, and business executives such as Antanas Mockus–philosopher, former mayor of Bogotá, and President of Corpovisionarios–and Juan Manuel Santos–the President of Colombia.

On October 4, the renowned scholar Néstor García Canclini will lead a discussion with Professor Sommer about key themes related to her recent book, The Work of Art in the World: Civic Agency and Public Humanities, at the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation in Miami.

With the support of Grupo Positivo, teachers at the Colégio Positivo Júnior and the Colégio Positivo Internacional continue to use Pre-Texts in their classrooms, developing new and creative activities to engage students with texts through art making. For more on teachers’ implementation of Pre-Texts in their classrooms, please visit their blog:

Language Out Loud (Pre-Texts) is showing positive results, demonstrating that this method is effective in advancing skills such as reading comprehension.

A student engages with the assigned text through

Teachers continue to use Pre-Texts in high school classrooms at the Instituto de Ciencias y Humanidades in Saltillo to enhance student engagement with course content.

An object made out of recycled materials
during a chemistry class.

Other Active Cultural Agents 

United States
On October 1, the Andes Initiative and HSPH, Social and Behavioral Sciences will host a discussion with
Colombian writer Juan Gabriel Vasquez on his books, and the relationship between literature and public health. Ichiro Kawachi, Professor and Chair of the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, will lead this discussion. The event will be held in The Leadership Studio, HSPH —677 Huntington Ave, Boston, from 12:30-2:00pm.

Syria and Beyond
Syria: The Trojan Women is an adaptation of The Trojan Women by Euripides, which weaves the contemporary stories of Syrian refugees into this ancient text. This play reflects the work and stories of a group of Syrian women refugees who traveled to Amman, Jordan to join a drama therapy workshop at the invitation of the British NGO Refuge International. Syria: The Trojan Women reflects the enduring relevancy of great literature, creatively using a classic text as a pretext for addressing current crises and individual tragedies. For more on the stories and work of these women, please visit:

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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Caminos de Paz Cases for Culture Cultural Agents Opportunities Partners Pre-Texts Rennaisance Now
September 26, 2014
by Rodriguez