CAC 2020 Symposium

Conversations Across Cultures Symposium 2020

Shaping Priorities: The Arts and Community Engagement

March 6-8th, 2020
Teachers College, Columbia University
525 West 120th Street
New York, NY 10027


Hosted by the Art and Art Education Program at Teachers College, Columbia University, Conversations Across Cultures is a symposium offered once or twice a year to bring together artists, curators, scholars, educators, social workers and other interested professionals from around the world to consider critical issues of our time. Assuming that solutions to problems are more fully enlightened when tackled through collaboration, each session is tightly focused on a theme/issue of salience inquiring into how we construct new knowledge, engage in new practice and guide each other forward with sensitivity.  

This year’s symposium theme, Shaping Priorities: The Arts and Community Engagement explores the role the arts can play in empowering communities and nurturing creative, socially responsible lives at a time of unprecedented social challenges.  

The symposium will be held in the Millbank Chapel and the Macy Art Gallery at Teachers College, Columbia University. The Millbank Chapel is located on the first floor of Zankel Hall and the Macy Art Gallery is on the fourth floor of Macy Hall.   

Throughout the Symposium weekend, the Macy Art Gallery (Macy 444) will be open and available for Symposium participants to use as an informal meeting room. 

For further information, contact Symposium Coordinator, Ayelet Danielle Aldouby at or (212) 678-3360


Non-Credit Registration Fees

Friday only: $25
(STUDENT) Friday, Saturday, and Sunday: $50
(NON-STUDENT) Friday, Saturday, and Sunday: $100


Friday, March 6th

Millbank Chapel (Zankel 125) & Macy Art Gallery (Macy Hall 444)
5:30 pm - 8:00 pm
4:30 pm - 5:30 pm REGISTRATION & COFFEE outside of Milbank Chapel 
5:30 pm - 5:45 pm Welcome & Introductions by Dr. Judith Burton 
5:45 pm - 6:15 pm

Distinguished Lecture: 

Pablo Helguera, Artist and Director of Adult and Academic programs at the Museum of Modern Art, New York

Peripatetic Containers: Mobile Social Practice and Audience Engagement 


6:15 pm - 6:45 pm

Distinguished Lecture: 

Marit Dewhurst, Director of Art Education and Associate Professor of Art and Museum Education at The City College of New York 

Humility, Vulernability, and Accountability: Nurturing Relationships in Arts-based Community Engagement

6:45 pm - 6:50 pm Closing remarks by Ayelet Danielle Aldouby 
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Reception in the Macy Art Gallery (Macy Hall 444) 

Exhibit on View: Shaping Priorities: The Arts and Community Engagement

An exhibition of activist art-based projects exploring community empowerment and celebrating the centenary of the Harlem Renaissance




Saturday, March 7th

Millbank Chapel (Zankel 125)
9:00 am - 5:00 pm


9:00 am - 10:30 am: SESSION I

Setting the Stage: Artists’ collaborations with communities highlighting, envisioning, mobilizing, and sustaining community projects as new forms of socially engaged educational practice.

8:30 am - 9:00 am  Coffee & light breakfast in the Macy Art Gallery (Macy Hall 444)
9:00 am - 9:15 am Welcome & Introductions by Dr. Judith Burton
9:15 am - 10:15 am 

Keynote Speakers:

Lily Yeh, Founder of The Village of the Arts and Humanities, and Barefoot Artists Urban Alchemy, Community

Urban Alchemy, Community Transformation Through Art

Christine Licata, Executive Director of No Longer Empty (NLE)

Artists and Community - A Site Responsive Approach to Social Justice 

10:15 am - 10:30 am  Coffee Break in the Macy Art Gallery (Macy Hall 444)

10:30 am - 12:30 pm: SESSION II

Harlem Renaissance Celebration: This year we celebrate the centenary of the Harlem Renaissance, a vital and energetic explosion of artistic practices and ideas which did so much to shape the New York cosmopolitan art world. Celebrating this historical moment is to be reminded that the issues artists confronted of racism, poverty, inequality and injustice have been re-energized within the techno-political climate of today. Over the past six-months, Teachers College visual artists have reached out to the Harlem community and initiated dialogues that reprise issues of concern to them both. Conversations have led to rich and diverse collaborative practices designed to bring public engagement and awareness to life.

10:30 am - 11:30 am | Presentations:

Deidre Flowers, Scholar and Educator focused on Black Women in Education

Reflecting on the Harlem Renaissance 

Ayelet Danielle Aldouby, Social Practice curator & Ayishah Irvin, Community Activist 

Then & Now: A Photographic Harlem Journey (Co-created with artist Maren Hassinger and a 7th grade class at the Teachers College Community School).

Zenzele Z. Johnson, Education Coordinator Teen Curator Program, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Public Library

Engaging Teens in Harlem 


11:30 am - 12:30 pm | Roundtable and Q & A

Harlem Renaissance Celebration Roundtable, moderated by Dr. Ansley T. Erickson


12:30 pm - 2:00 pm | LUNCH ON YOUR OWN 

 Visit this link for restaurants near TC and Columbia Univeristy campuses. 


2:00 pm - 3:15 pm: SESSION III 

 The Artists: Socially engaged artists aim to bring social change outside the art world while uniting communities. These artists serve as agents of change as they meditate between form and content, concept and object while addressing community priorities. As they attempt to bridge social differences they hope to affect access to resources and address injustices. 

2:05 pm  Introductions by Ayelet Danielle Aldouby
2:15 pm - 2:45 pm

Jamie Bennett, Executive Director of ArtPlace America 

Enlisting Artists as Allies in Equitable Community Development 

2:50 pm - 3:15 pm 

James C. Horton, Director of Social Impact Programs at Carnegie Hall 

NeON Arts: Supporting Communities to Shine 

3:15 pm - 3:30 pm Coffee Break in the Macy Art Gallery (Macy Hall 444)



3:30 pm - 5:30 pm: SESSION IV

3:30 pm - 4:30 pm | Presentations:

Max Frieder, Co-founder and Co-executive Director of Artolution

Artolution: International Community-Based Public Art Education in Emergencies 

Delicia Forbes, Community Organizer and Producer, Cape Town, SA, London, UK

The 10 things I learnt about sustainability and the creative process during Community Arts Projects

Che Sabalja and Charles Ugochukwu Onyewuchi, Ed.D students at Teachers College, Columbia University

A School Community Created Through Traditional Ekete Basketry

4:30 pm - 5:00 pm | Roundtable and Q & A

Sustainability Roundtable on Social Practice and Community Engaged Art, moderated by Ayelet Danielle Aldouby

5:00 pm - 5:30 pm | Concluding Remarks by Dr. Judy Burton & Ayelet Danielle Aldouby


Sunday, March 8th

Macy Art Gallery (Macy Hall 444)
9:30 am - 12:30 pm

Coffee and light breakfast will be served at 9:00 am in the Macy Art Gallery (Macy 444), following the start of a workshop led by Dr. Judy Burton and participants in the Shaping Priorities exhibition. 


Ayelet Danielle Aldouby

Zenzele Johnson

Judith Burton

Jamie Bennett

Ansley Erickson

Delicia Forbes

Christine Licata

Che Sabalja

Charles Onyewuchi

Ayishah Irvin

James Horton

Marit Dewhurst

Deidre B. Flowers

Pablo Helguera

Lily Yeh

Max Frieder



For further information, contact the Symposium Coordinator, Ayelet Danielle Aldouby at or (212) 678-3360


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