Newsletter, June 2021

Upcoming Events



You are invited on June 24 (9 am – 12 pm ET) to make change. 2020 was a year of reckoning. The pandemic crisis forced us to think afresh and reorder priorities. We will launch a bold initiative that combines our talents and resources, in business, government, natural and social sciences, arts, and culture. A new Renaissance, like the early modern one, demands courage and imagination to connect our various fields and generate behavioral change. It demands Art as the dynamic face of culture.

The working meeting will advance the initiative by facing challenges posed by policymakers, getting tips from game changers, and brainstorming in breakout rooms to imagine new policies.



Pre-Texts News

Pre-Texts in Kenya with Tom Osborn

Depression and anxiety are common worldwide, disproportionately among poor adolescents. Therefore, design and delivery of effective interventions is a global public health priority. By consensus, traditional psychotherapy presents structural barriers while advances in psychological sciences note that effective approaches support wellness. Our interdisciplinary research explores how a non-clinical art-based intervention can improve adolescents’ clinical profile of self-esteem to generate positive cascading effects on their mental health.

Click here to see a video of Sing Ngugi’s Birth of a Dream Weaver – Pre-Texts Workshop by Tom Osborn.

Oficina Pre-Texts in Sergipe, Brazil 

Matheus Batalha, a Brazilian facilitator of Pre-Texts, published an article called The Raspberry Pie in the City Journal in Aracajú, Brazil. The article describes the experience of the Oficina Pre-Texts in Sergipe. You can enjoy the full article here.

New Pre-Texts Facilitators

We welcome the new Digital Pre-Texts facilitators who completed their training remotely from all different countries around the world. During the pandemic, we had the opportunity to meet and train together despite not knowing each other personally. We played with texts and made art together in different time zones.

Pre-Texts in Buenos Aires

Our team in Argentina will continue for the third consecutive year with Pre-Texts workshops in the Mugica and Carrillo neighborhoods. Thanks to the support of Mecenazgo, we will continue with the activities both remotely and face-to-face.

Pre-Texts Summer Workshop with United Somali Youth 

This summer we will be partnering with United Somali Youth to facilitate a Pre-Texts workshop. The workshop will take place in Boston from July 6th to August 27th with the participation of 15 Boston Public Schools high school students. Justin Hu, a Harvard intern, will be the facilitator.

June Pre-Texts Training for Interns and Collaborators

This past week, we completed a 15-hour Pre-Texts training for all of our summer interns, as well as several other collaborators, who will be launching new projects in Brazil, China, Kenya, Colombia, Mexico, Germany, Paraguay, and the U.S.. Working with Foucault’s “Discipline and Punish,” experienced educators and new ones taught and learned from one another as they recognized Pre-Texts to be a protocol for democracy as well as close reading and research skills.

Testimonies from Pre-Texts Workshop in Mannheim, Germany 

After the conclusion of the Pre-Texts workshop in Mannheim, participants shared their insights by sharing testimonies:


“Pre-Texts for me is a completely new approach to work with texts. From school and university, you just learn to fight your way through a text and not how to have fun with it – so the creative part is so interesting and refreshing!” 

“Pre-Texts gave me many ideas on how to actively, creatively work with texts. The various sessions gave me a feeling for how to structure a session myself and what’s important (e. g. “What did we just do?”, having everyone say something, the ritual of asking for questions and recommendations, the tangents, etc.). It also made me realize that it is just as important to go off on a tangent than to stay very close to the text, which is something that in my opinion is barely being done at school.”


Cultural Agents News

Podcast with Doris Sommer for the La Paz se Cuenta Cultural Project

Last month, Doris Sommer participated in a podcast from La Paz se cuenta cultural project produced by the Banco de la República, Colombia. In her conversation with Angela Perez, she spoke about how reading, interpretation and art are important tools to change an entire sphere of society. Click the link here to enjoy the podcast.


Highlighted News


Hashtags Project: COVID-19 Risk Communication for Brazilian Immigrant Community in Boston

The Brazilian Journal of University Extension published an article about the Hashtags Project. This project, created in response to the emergency situation generated by Covid-19, was a collaboration between Juiz de Fora Federal University, Harvard, MIT and UMass Boston. The professors and researchers involved shared their experience with early risk communication and community engagement during the Covid-19 pandemic in the immigrant community. Read the full article here.

Democracy of the Land: Viral Warming
May 28 – June 23, 2021, AMP Gallery, Provincetown, MA

Artist and Pre-Texts collaborator Jay Critchley will present his new work created in 2020: Democracy of the Land: Viral Warming. The project examines our global health and its dependence upon the dominant cultural, economic and political foundations that engage in ruthless extractive strategies that degrade the land and the livability of individuals, communities and the planet. Click here for more information.

Webinar “Intersections of Art/Activism/Research in HIV/AIDS Advocacy”
June 16th from 1-2:30 pm

A webinar on the “Intersections of Art/Activism/Research in HIV/AIDS Advocacy” will be held on June 16th from 1-2:30 pm. The panel discussion will include a conversation with Mark Harrington, Joy Episalla, Gregg Gonsalves, Sur Rodney (Sur), and Michael Cox. Register here.
Jaime Lerner, model policy maker and artist

Jaime Lerner (1937-2021), a Brazilian renowned architect, urban planner and teacher, was an inspiration for so many Cultural Agents. Click the link to learn more about his life and work.

Caminos de Paz Cases for Culture Cultural Agents Opportunities Partners Pre-Texts Rennaisance Now
June 4, 2021
by Rodriguez