Newsletter, May 2021

Upcoming Events

Renaissance NOW: Culture is a Game Changer for Policy Makers

2020 was a year of reckoning. The pandemic crisis forced us to think afresh and reorder priorities. Change will require systems thinking because survival depends on the environment; the environment depends on science and politics; and all these respond to arts and culture. Feverish feel-good activism is a short-cut that will not work. A new Renaissance, like the early modern one, will embrace market resources, but also demand more courage and imagination. Today’s wicked problems require complex strategies that combine technology, the natural and social sciences, humanities, and the arts. Leaders who share these concerns will muster the will and the motivation to respond. Culture and the arts are resources for solutions and have been widely discussed in high-level meetings. Already projected are a journal, “Cases for Culture,” and a Certificate Program for policymakers on “Culture and Development.” Your contributions are needed. To register for the launch click here.

Pre-Texts Workshop in Brooklyn with Juan Carlos Ruiz

We will be offering a Pre-Texts workshop starting on June 4th in Brooklyn with Rev. Juan Carlos Ruiz and Havard RLL doctoral candidate Andrea Garza. Juan Carlos Ruiz is a Mexican pastor who leads a congregation in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. He is known for his human rights advocacy, serving undocumented Mexican and Guatemalen immigrants. Read more about him here.

Pre-Texts For Research with Harvard Library
May 19-21, 24-25, 2021, 2:00pm-5:00pm, ET

Facilitated by: Doris Sommer, Ira and Jewell Williams Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures and of African and African American Studies, Harvard University, and Ramona Crawford, Head of Academic Partnerships, Service for Academic Programs, Harvard Library. Developed in collaboration with Sarah DeMott, Research Librarian, Services for Academic Programs, Harvard Library, and Andrea Garza Erdmann, doctoral candidate, Romance Languages and Literatures, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University.

Register for Pre-Texts for Research with Harvard Library

Pre-Texts Summer Internships and June Training

We are thrilled to announce the pilot year of our Pre-Texts Summer Internship program. Starting this June, Ten Harvard interns will be partnering with eight organizations around the world, carrying out Pre-Texts related projects and exploring other opportunities. From Filmmaking in the Bahamas, to learning about Law in Paraguay, virtual musical performances in Germany, and curriculum design in China, there will be lots of exciting new opportunities that we will be featuring over the next few months.

Pre-Texts News

Pre-Texts Facilitator Training for High-School Students in Kenya
On May 10th, we had the first session of the Pre-Texts Facilitator Training for 22 high school students (18 to 22 years old) in Kenya. After graduating, these students will facilitate Pre-Texts workshops in after-school programs in low-income schools in urban slums in Kenya. The project is led by our Africa Regional Director, Tom Osborn.

Pre-Texts with Futebol Viral in Brazil


Rebeca Brito facilitated a workshop with participants from Brazil, many of whom are part of the Futbol Viral Mundial project. The workshop took place over five sessions in April and May 2021.

Pre-Texts Workshop in Sergipe, Brazil for Violence Prevention in Schools
May 8th and 15th, 2021

On May 8th we had the first meeting of the Oficina Pre-Texts for Portuguese speakers. This event, dedicated to higher education students interested in educational innovation and the connections between psychology and literature, had 25 participants from Brazil, the US and Peru. The Oficina was facilitated by Matheus Batalha and it is part of a bigger project financed by the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies – Harvard University, Lemann Foundation and Foundation for Support of Research and Technological Innovation of the State of Sergipe.


Pre-Texts for the “Mochilas Culturales” Project in Buenos Aires

On Saturday, May 8th, we participated in the Mochilas Culturales project at the Vamos a Andar Cultural Center in the Mugica District (formerly Villa 31), Buenos Aires. We read Discurso del Oso (Speech of the Bear) by the Argentine writer Julio Cortázar. The questions we asked the text were posted around the neighborhood written on colored ribbons. The activity was carried out using the Digital Pre-texts protocol, exclusively using the WhatsApp instant messaging platform. If you are interested in training as a facilitator in Digital Pre-Texts, stay connected with us. There will be a new seminar coming soon.

Cultural Agents News

Futebol Viral Mundial

Futebol Viral was cited in the journal “Improving Pandemic Response: GLOBAL LESSONS AND CULTURAL INSIGHTS FROM COVID-19.” Click on this link to read the full article.

Adolescent Depression and Anxiety in Kibera: Arts Literacy as Intervention Project

The project “Adolescent Depression and Anxiety in Kibera: Arts Literacy as Intervention” was awarded $50,000 in the Faculty Award from “The Mind Brain Behavior Interfaculty Initiative” at Harvard University. This award will support the project between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022.


Highlighted News

OPEN CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: Learning About Climate Change In, With and Through Art

Please kindly send all submissions or questions to by 23 May 2021.

UCLG Culture Summit, September 2021
Following the success of the three first Culture Summit of UCLG, and considering the growing importance of culture in the framework of sustainable cities, the Executive Bureau of UCLG has decided to convene a fourth UCLG Culture Summit in 2021 in Izmir, Turkey. The UCLG Culture Summit is a unique global event. It responds to the growing importance of culture in local development, a fact that is being evidenced in all continents, at least since the beginning of the 21st century. Participants to the Summit are very committed to the successful implementation of policies and programmes on culture and sustainability.

See below for a link to the summit agenda:


What are we reading?

Is an artist obliged to stand up for injustice and inequity?


What are we watching?

Meet Japan’s Trash Collecting Samurai

Justicia Restaurativa en Colombia y las Humanidades
Last month, Harvard’s David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies hosted Roberto Vidal and Marco Abarca Diaz for the lecture “Justicia Restaurativa en Colombia y las Humanidades / Restorative Justice in Colombia and the Humanities.” For those who missed the live session, you can find a link here to the full lecture.

Cases for Culture Cultural Agents Department of Architecture Doris Sommer Italia Launch Videos Mental Health Partners Pre-Texts Rennaisance Now Social Equity
May 4, 2021
by Rodriguez