Newsletter, October 2015


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.



  • WHEN:  October 8, 2015
  • WHERE: Gym, Fletcher Maynard Academy, 225 Windsor Street, Cambridge, MA
  • WHAT: STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. This community event will feature more than 20 activities for youth and family. Food will be served. For more information, contact
  • WHEN: Tuesday, October 13, 2015, 1-3pm
  • WHERE: Deknatel Hall, Lower Level of the Harvard Art Museums (32 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA)
  • WHAT: This talk is associated with the course “Spanish 245: Artes en movimiento,” the WCFIA Connectionists and Facilitators: Cultural Agents Coin Words Seminar, and the Mahindra Hispanic Seminar.
    Thinking about the correlation between radical aesthetic movements, key pedagogues and discourse in Latin America, this lecture will bring together two key vanguards–Camnitzer and Mockus–to speak on their roles as artists, educators and leaders.
  • For more on the work of Luis Camnitzer, see:
  • For more on Antanas Mockus and his participation in the Global Faculty-in-Residence Program at NYU this fall, visit:

Courtesy of Luis Camnitzer.
  • WHEN:  The bus will leave Harvard Yard at 2pm on November 6, 2015.
  • WHERE: Leaving from Harvard University to Portsmouth, New Hampshire
  • WHAT: Please join the Cultural Agents Initiative and Sandra Arnold (Fordham University) on a field trip to the African Burying Ground Memorial Park in Portsmouth New Hampshire. This important trip will invite participants to consider the complexity of memorialization and reconciliation in relation to historical and current racial inequity. If you are interested in attending this event, please email Ernest Hartwell at
  • For more information on Sandra’s Burial Database Project of Enslaved African Americans, see:
  • For more information on the African Burying Ground Memorial Park in Portsmouth, see:

Photo Credit: John Benford Photography

General News: Pre-Texts 

Last week, Pre-Texts workshops were held in Cambridge and Baltimore. The session in Cambridge was part of the fall retreat for Harvard mentors at the Ed Portal, and the session in Baltimore was part of the Imagining America Conference.

In Baltimore, educators from around the country joined Paul Tritter (Boston Teachers Union) and Lisa Crossman (Cultural Agents Initiative) in an interactive workshop to learn about Pre-Texts as an effective and innovative approach to teaching.

In this image, participants read responses to James Baldwin’s    “A Letter to My Nephew.”

During the workshop, Vialla Hartfield-Mendez (Emory University) shared her experience using Pre-Texts in the course “Drawing the Line: The Mexico–U.S. frontera and its Stories” last term. Vialla plans to offer training for instructors in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Emory this fall. Her colleagues Kim Loudermilk and Bobbi Patterson will also implement Pre-Texts in their classrooms. We look forward to sharing more stories about Professor Patterson’s use of Pre-Texts in the course “History of Religions in America,” and Dr. Loudermilk’s work with undergraduate fellows from the Institute of the Liberal Arts.

General News: Cultural Agents

Adams House, Harvard College, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Center, and El Camino Project will co-present Beyond Tomorrow: Safeguarding Civilization Through Turbulent Times–a three-day conference and concert experience for a diverse audience of artists, scholars, students and activists that will be held October 16-18 at Harvard University. The conference will include presentations, panel discussions and workshops that will reflect on the inevitability of turbulent change, and the role of culture in understanding current challenges, the past, the present and the arts as an essential part of survival. Among the presentations scheduled for Beyond Tomorrow, Doris Sommer will present “Cultural Capital” on October 18th, 1-1:45pm. For the complete schedule, please visit:

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

Featured Story 

Eirik Jarl Trondsen–a SPURS Fellow at MIT this academic year–
recognizes the arts as integral to social transformation, and has used this belief as the basis for the development of Affirmative Art and as the mission of the Nagenda International Academy of Art and Design, which he co-founded in Uganda. For more on Affirmative Art and the Nagenda International Academy of Art and Design, see: and


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Cases for Culture Cultural Agents Department of Architecture Doris Sommer Italia Launch Videos Mental Health Opportunities Partners Pre-Texts Rennaisance Now Social Equity
October 2, 2015
by Rodriguez