Human-Centered Practices Track Schedule

Three Wednesdays: 10/20, 10/27, 11/3

This track focuses on centering people and community well-being in our community arts education practices, including transparent communication and decision-making. Learn more about a human-centered framework.

View the full schedule, including the other three learning tracks, here.


Graphic of the Groundwork Human-Centered Practices track schedule. Session info for this track can also be found below.


View all presenter bios and headshots on the People page.

Learn more about the Session Formats—Grounding Practices, Make/Think/Share Studios, Real Talk Salons, and Armchair Travel Tours.

Week 1: Healing for Self (Monday, October 18–Thursday, October 21, 2021)

Wednesday, October 20—Human-Centered Practices Track

1–2:30pm ET—Real Talk Salon: Centering Equity Includes Our Own Wellbeing

Join us in this Real Talk Salon as presenters share their stories of how they work to help themselves and others in centering personal wellness, especially in the face of the pandemic, and reflect together in dialogue.

Title: Facing Our Dragons

Description: Healing-centered equity and belonging work, through a mindfulness-based anti-racist practice and embodiment. Our body/mind/spirit are essential to fighting oppression, and the work starts from within.

Presenters: Ashley Frith (Director of Racial Equity and Belonging, Community MusicWorks), Sarah Kim (Resident Musician, Community MusicWorks)

Title: Wellness Tactics for EDI Work

Description: Who holds space for the space-holders? Do you find yourself in constant conversations or heavily invested in shifting your spaces toward equity? We hear ya!

Presenters: Aimee Espiritu (Arts Equity Consultant, Espiritu Consulting / Arts Education Alliance of the Bay Area), Mika Lemoine (Artist & Facilitator, Mosaic Collective / Arts Education Alliance of the Bay Area)

5–6:30pm ET—Make/Think/Share Studio

Title: Acting With Empathy

Description: This interactive session will explore empathy, inclusion, expression, and healing using experiences from Theatre for Social Change. Participants will engage in theatre activities designed for reflection and emotional expression. While our work is challenge by choice, we encourage our friends to step out of their comfort zones and toward each other in order to process events of the last year in a safe and supportive environment. Past participants in this work have called it "Eye-opening, inspiring, powerful, thought-provoking, and authentic". Through the experience, individuals craft the topics being explored through their own creative expression. Every session we do is unique, as it is an organic experience based on the people involved. It is always deeply meaningful.

Presenters: Will Bonfiglio (Director of COCAbiz, Center of Creative Arts, St. Louis, MO), Lee Anne Mathews (COCAbiz Program Assistant/Teaching Artist, Center of Creative Arts, St. Louis, MO), Tabari Coleman (Social Justice Advocate/Teaching Artist, Center of Creative Arts, St. Louis, MO), Kathryn Bentley (Theatre Professional/Teaching Artist, Center of Creative Arts, St. Louis, MO)

Week 2: Healing for Collective (Monday, October 25–Thursday, October 28, 2021)

Wednesday, October 27—Human-Centered Practices Track

1–2:30pm ET—Real Talk Salon: Centering Black Learners & Educators

Join us in this Real Talk Salon as presenters share stories of cultivating, centering, and uplifting Black learners and educators in their work. Moderated by a Groundwork advisor, Calida Jones, stories include:

Title: Overview of Afrocentric Social Emotional Learning

Description: Black learners have long-since been left out of Eurocentric curriculums and colonized ideologies of success across the globe. Melissa Parke’s Afrocentric SEL framework seeks to engage arts educators from all disciplines to incorporate and prioritize the empowerment of Black youth in their teaching practices, and it gives them the tools to do so.

Presenter: Melissa Parke (Founder, Black Teaching Artist Lab (BTAL))


Title: Press Play: How Hip Hop Art, Culture & Education Carried On!

Description: Continuing the Cipher by using creativity, transformation and Hip Hop culture. How cultural wisdom informs process and commitment to who & what we stand for. Participants will hear a transparent reflection of how a Hip Hop artist, arts administrator and advocate accepted the call to be responsive, accountable and unreasonable on behalf of communities disproportionately impacted. 

Presenter: Purple S. Norris (Director, Hip Hop Arts & Culture Education Programs, New Jersey Performing Arts Center)


Title: No Substitute for Authenticity: Recruiting and Centering Black Teachers

Description: Learning communities benefit from the input and leadership of Black teachers. Here’s how to recruit, retain, and center Black teachers in school music programs.

Presenters: Gregory Greer (Mad Beatz Methods), Marina Nir (Mad Beatz Methods), Katikka Harris (Program Coordinator, North10 Recreation Center)

5–6:30pm ET—Make/Think/Share Studio

Title: Spittin' the Unspeakable- Spoken Word to Cope with Trauma

Description: Spoken word is an artform that embodies the power of the voice. This session teaches how to use spoken word to develop resilience. Participants can expect to hear poems constructed by teens and explore the intersectionality between being a young person being told to be quiet and being a person of color who must speak up for justice. Participants will be taught how this artform helps combat depression and bullying. Writing remains a solid coping tool for stress and trauma. Spoken word poetry builds confidence and resilience. Community organizations look to youth for participation and input in social forums where the youth has made a concerted effort (through spoken word) to have their voices heard.  

Presenters: Ashanti Files (RN, BA Political Science, Urbana Poet Laureate), Danyla Nash, Achly Ramos, Kayla Files

Armchair Travel Tour (asynchronous session—registrants watch in their own time)

Title: The Trust Transfer Project

Description: The Trust Transfer Project centers BIPOC artist voices and directs key community resources to support artistic messaging in neighborhoods disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

Presenters: Vanessa Ford (Program Director—Trust Transfer Project and CMSS Vocal Teaching Artist, Community Music School of Springfield), Eileen Marie McCaffery (Executive Director, Community Music School of Springfield), Karen Finn (Executive Director, Springfield Cultural Partnership)

Week 3: Healing for Movement Building (Monday, November 1–Friday, November 5, 2021)

Wednesday, November 3—Human-Centered Practices Track

1–2:30pm ET—Real Talk Salon

Title: Hold a Light to the Arts Education Ecosystem

Description: As we realign and redefine how we work within the unpredictable and all-encompassing pressures of Covid and make space for the world that emerges in its wake, it is imperative that we also come to terms with the illusions of what was once our "normal". How do we reckon with the inequitable systems upon which our field was built and has adapted, and how might we reshape it for our holistic well-being, as workers and as community members ourselves? Join us in this Real Talk Salon amongst community arts education practitioners who represent experiences from multiple vantages and functions within the community arts education ecosystem: as independent artists & teaching artists, as arts administrators, city arts council staff members, and as foundation personnel.

Presenters: Jordan Medley (Medley of Moves Creative Consulting), Barbara Mumby-Huerta (Vice President, Programs and Partnerships, Native Arts & Cultures Foundation), Deonté Griffin-Quick (Actor and Arts Administrator)

5–6:30pm ET—Make/Think/Share Studio

Title: Connect the Dots: Disability Justice IS Social Justice

Description: Ensuring access for people with disabilities is essential for creating inclusive communities. In this workshop, we will make art and explore connections. Participants will be guided through a visual arts experience. Please be sure to have at least paper and something to make marks with such as a pen/pencil, markers or paints. Other arts materials are also welcome.

Through a series of prompts, makers will be invited to create connections within their art, access practices and colleagues. Alexandra and Heidi approach this as co-learners and will use a variety of accessibility practices including verbal description, while honoring the skills and experiences participants bring. Discussion will blend observations, reflection, and resource sharing. The presenters will also introduce Bridging Justice, a tool in development that connects accessibility practices with antidotes to white supremacy culture characteristics.

Presenters: Heidi Swevens (Director of Community Partnerships, Inclusive Arts Vermont), Alexandra Turner (Director of School and Community Programs, Inclusive Arts Vermont)

7–8pm ET—Human-Centered Practices Track Reflection Space

Description: Join in on a collective reflection space to share takeaways and insights from all track sessions around Human Centered Practices. What have we learned to deepen our practices and commitment to the work? What affirmations have we seen reflected in the stories we've heard and the dialogues we've shared? What calls to action do we wish to make as we look to the future?