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ARTs + Change Conference

Activate, Reimagine, Transform

Poster art courtesy of Joey Hartmann-Dow.

This gathering hosted by the University of Rochester Institute for the Performing Arts, in partnership with the University of Rochester Office of Equity and Inclusion, The Paul J. Burgett Intercultural Center, the 540WMain, Inc., Create A Space Now and Rochester Fringe Festival, will provide opportunities for artists of all disciplines, educators, community members and community organizations to come together to create, to share work and ideas, to present research, to propose collaborations. We invite participants to learn from one another while considering how the arts play a pivotal role in promoting justice, equity and citizenship. Through the sharing of work, participatory workshops, panel discussions, research presentations, curriculum design, guided discussions and more, participants will come together to listen, to consider, to share and to act.

While we have encouraged every presenter to make every effort to create safe and brave space, we would like to encourage you to attend these sessions in the way that you need to attend. While we know that discomfort allows for growth, we would like to remind you that you have agency to make decisions that keep you safe as we embark on potentially difficult content and discussions. As we are all here to learn and grow, we welcome you to challenge ideas, but ask you to agree to challenge the idea and not the person. We also want to remind you that individual presenter views do not necessarily represent the official ideas or beliefs of the University of Rochester, the Institute for the Performing Arts, or its partners.

To ensure accessibiltiy, the conference is free of charge. A suggested $10 donation to register for those who are able.  Donate here: 

Register Online     View the presenter bios


All sessions will have the capacity for turning on closed captioning. If you need additional accommodations, such as a sign language interpreter, please email We will do our best, in good faith, to provide accommodations where possible. Please submit requests as early, and no later than May 27 if possible.

Thursday, June 3
8:30-9:15 a.m. EDTPresenter Welcome/Meet and Greet
9:30-10:45 a.m.Questioning Todo: A Latinx Inquiry of Culturally Responsive PedagogyLatinx Dance Educators Alliance (Kiri Avelar, Michelle Manzanales)
11 a.m.-noonBeyond Movement: Reimagining creative process through dance and activismHannah Park
12:15-1:30 p.m.Giving Words: Building Community Through StoryLisa Nichols
1:45-3 p.m.Dancing the Philosophies of Katherine DunhamMolly Christie
3:15-4:30 p.m.Movements Keep Moving: Abolitionist and Decolonial Organizing In Our CitiesMarz Saffore
4:45-6 p.m.The Aesthetics of Kindness and Human Connection: An Artist Talk and WorkshopHeather Layton
6:30-7:45 p.m.Understanding Their Given Circumstances: Making Space for Our Student’s Diverse Backgrounds in the Studio ClassroomKerstin Vaughn, Leah Johnson
8-9 p.m.The Injured Body: A Discussion About Racism in AmericaMara Ahmed
Friday, June 4
8:30-9:30 a.m. EDTMy Hidden City: Mrauk U Heritage FilmWunna Kyaw
9:45-11 a.m.Gratitude: A Catalyst to ActionDale Andree, Kristin O'Neal
11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m.Asking Evolving Questions to Decenter Whiteness in the StudioRuth K. Arena
12:30-1:45 p.m.Somatic Integration of Emotional IntelligenceNicole Perry, Sara Yanney
2-3 p.m.No White Woman's Tears Here: Steps for Decolonizing Dance EducationMeredith Sims
3:15-4:45 p.m.20th Century Modern Dance in the 21st Century: Gender ImpactDante Puleio
5-6:15 p.m.Teaching Embodied Arts Activism in a PandemicDonna Davenport
6:30-7:45 p.m.Dance and Peacebuilding: "The Pedagogy behind an Interdisciplinary Course"Mariah Steele
8-9 p.m.Create a Space NowHettie Barnhill
Saturday, June 5
8:30-9:30 a.m. EDTSing Me A Mural: Mural-Making In Group Homes For Disabled CommunitiesChristine Sloan Stoddard
9:45-11 a.m.Creativity and Crisis, a psychodrama workshop and presentationMalena Selic
11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m.Music for all?: A discussion about the challenges and successes of bringing Music Education to communities of people with migration background in BerlinBridget Kinneary
12:30-1:45 p.m.Cyborg Pedagogy: Embodying Agency in the Human–Techno EntanglementErica Gionfriddo
2-3 p.m.World Dance Representation: Best Practices for the Studio and ClassroomMegan Taylor Morrison (Damilare Adeyeri, Kara Nepomuceno)
3:15-4:15 p.m.Reframing “White” Dance: Folk Dance, Equity and InclusionKevin S. Warner
4:30 p.m.Keynote AddressTamar Greene
6:30-7:45 p.m.LivingDance~LivingMusic's "Shape" — Defining Boundaries and Asserting SelfDanielle Fraenkel, Jeffrey Mehr
8-9 p.m.LAB RAT: a graphic novelMichaela Chan
Sunday, June 6
9:45-10:45 a.m. EDTGet a Bigger Table: Reimaging Teaching Practices to Include Multiple Stories and ExperiencesPaula J. Peters
11 a.m.-12:15 p.m.Power Dynamics in Dance and Theatre SpacesNicole Perry
12:30-1:45 p.m.Learning FROM > Learning ABOUTKelly Johnson
2-3 p.m.Learning to Chat: A Guide to Starting and Sustaining ConversationsDr. Blaire Koerner (Adam Cordle, Blaire Koerner, and Rosanna Moore)
3:15-4:15 p.m.A Guided Discussion on Music Pedagogy, Social Change, and El-Sistema-Inspired ProgramsCatherine Hurwitz
4:30-5:30 p.m.The Mindful Art Pause: an arts-based response to the crisis in the healthcare communityGaelen McCormick, Susaan Daiss, Patricia Luck
7-8:15 p.m.Living MarksKristen Mitchell, Jo Blake, Kenny Zhao, Alicia Pugh, T. Carlis Roberts, Jiyoun Lee-Lodge, Songyi Kim