Newsletter, July 2016


Arts and Humanities Civic Engagement


Cultural Agents is an interface between academic learning and civic engagement. The Initiative promotes arts and humanities as social resources.



  • Pre-Texts in the University of Valencia  
  • WHEN: Thursday & Friday, July, 7 – 8
  • WHERE: University of Valencia
  • WHAT: On Thursday Professor Doris Sommer, from Harvard University, will lead a session with members of the Consell Escolar de la Comunitat Valenciana geared towards a reflection about the problems that the education system currently faces.  Through the exploration of interpretative alternatives, professor Sommer will create a creative space for reflection, where empathy and understanding between the different political and social strata will materialise in different forms. Converting the participants in protagonists of behaviours and arguments, and susceptible of directly influencing the decision making process, in order to tackle the multiple issues of the educational system and in creating and improving a space of civic coexistence. Following the work session Professor Sommer, will present educators in Valencia the successful Pre-Texts workshop. On Friday,  the Plenary Conference: Cultural Agents Initiative will be held.
  • Pre-Texts Workshop Course in San Lorenzo de El Escorial 
  • When: Monday – Friday, July 11 – 15
  • Where: Universidad Complutense, San Lorenzo de Escorial
  • What: Pre-Texts: Education, Creativity, and Citizenship [CODE: 73112] is a workshop/course hosted by the Universidad Complutense, San Lorenzo de Escorial and will be led by Professor Doris Sommer.

For detailed information see:

  • Beauty, Leadership, and Innovation course in Milan and Siena
  • WHEN: Thursday, July 21 | 11:00am – 1:00pm
    (Course runs from June, 19 –  August, 18)
  • WHERE: Milan and Siena, The Harvard Summer School
  • WHAT: Milan and Siena 2016 – A Study Abroad Program of The Harvard Summer School presents: “A course about beauty: its meaning, its history, its connections to culture and the economy, and its role in generating value, innovation, and well-being.” Study aesthetics, cultural economics, smart cities, storytelling and fiction, Italian film, creative industries, and beauty as an indispensable device for change and sustainability. Doris Sommer from Cultural Agents Initiative at Harvard University will be discussing her book The Work of Art in the World: Civic Agency and Public Humanities (Duke University Press, 2014). Particularly, chapter 1 “From the Top: Government-Sponsored Creativity”.

For more information see:

General News: Pre-Texts

Pre-Texts at the Grangegorman
Development Agency, Dublin


Ireland’s community and higher educational sector is transforming itself through the relocation of the Dublin Institute of Technology from 39 locations into a new inner city urban quarter that was the former St. Brendan’s Hospital in the heart of the capital city. What makes this a fascinating challenge is the close proximity of primary and psychiatric care alongside pioneering institutes in technological higher education.

Doris Sommer was invited to share the Pre-Texts methodology – experience, impact and value – amongst an invited audience drawn from the educational, health, arts, sciences and humanities sectors. Hearing of about Sommer’s coming, a recently formed Aesthetics Group affiliated with The Graduate School of Creative Arts and Media requested the opportunity to devise a creative response to her book ‘The Work of Art in the World’. The live sessions took place with a focus on Schiller’s writings, and was linked to a live online discussion with colleagues in Barcelona. In addition, a final presentation was made by artist Jennie Guy’s initiative: ‘The Master Plan’.

Pre-Texts in 2016 International Academic Program IAP-UAM:
The Convergence of Education and Technology in the 21st Century

Professor Doris Sommer, Director of the Cultural Agents Initiative at Harvard University, was one of the guest speakers at the 2016 International Academic Program (IAP-UAM-DRCLAS) research symposium, The Convergence of Education and Technology in the 21st Century, held in Cambridge, Mass in June. Throughout the week-long symposium, participants from Latin America and Spain learned about and discussed new ways that technology is being used in education, and the ways in which these changes are effecting higher education.  In Professor Sommer’s sessions, participants learned about and experienced her Pre-Texts methods, and thought about how they could be utilized in their own classrooms in their respective countries.

The International Academic Program research symposium series is run through Autonomous University of Madrid, and works in collaboration with the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University.

Featured Story

The City of Boston partners with MassPoetry

During the month of May, in honor of National Poetry Month, the City of Boston collaborated with MassPoetry to bring Raining Poetry to the streets.  By utilising biodegradable water-repellent spray and stencils made by local artists, the city’s Mural Crew set out to place poems throughout Boston. The spray vanishes once dry, so the poems were invisible until it rained. Once wet, the area around the poems darkened, and Bostonians were treated to short poems as they walk around the city. Boston’s Poet Laureate, Danielle Georges, selected four poems for the initial art installation, including three by Massachusetts poets. With Raining Poetry, the City of Boston and MassPoetry hoped to bring more poetry into the everyday lives of citizens. They are hoping to expand the project to other neighbourhoods throughout Boston, and feature poetry in multiple languages.

For further information see:

Do not forget to visit our new webpage!

Check out the new design of the Cultural Agents
Initiative webpage at:


Please see our calendar on the Cultural Agents website for more information on upcoming events:


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