XVI Anual Reunion of IDB Group and Civic Society Dominican Republic


XVI Anual Reunion of IDB Group and Civic Society, 

Dominican Republic

On November 8th and 9th, Professor Doris Sommer was invited to the Dominican Republic to participate in the XVI Anual Reunion of the Inter-American Development Bank Group and Civic Society as a panelist in a session dedicated on the topic: The use of Innovation and its Impact in Sustainable Development. In addition to the panel, she led a forum on theAlternatives for Sustainable Growth and Human Capital. In this this talk, Sommer shared Cultural Agents’ vision for promoting innovation, literacy, and citizenship. Among the topics discussed were: the idea of civic art as participative; the importance of pleasure in achieving change; admiration, not tolerance, as the basis of citizenship; artists as agents that break paradigms and create new solutions; the need to develop the faculty of judgment in order for democracy to thrive; Latin America and its creativity, traditions, and human capital as catalysts for innovation, sustainable growth, and development. 

To view the forum on “Alternatives for Sustainable Growth and Human Capital”, please visit: 


Language Acts and Worldmaking in Conversation with Cultural Agents, King's College London 

On November 18th and 19th, Prof. Doris Sommer presented her groundbreaking work in the areas of civil agency and public humanities at the King's College and the University of Westminster in London as part of The Language Acts and Worldmaking project, promoted by the Open World Research Initiative (OWRI) of the British Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC). After offering a talk on Cultural Agents, Prof. Sommer facilitated a workshop session on Pre-Texts, which opened opportunities for new collaborations by showing how the Pre-Texts methodology contributes to complement The Language Acts and Worldmaking project's (and OWRI's) goals in language learning. Lead by Professor Catherine Boyle (Professor of Latin American Cultural Studies at King's College) this project aims to regenerate and transform modern language research and learning by foregrounding language's power to shape how we live and make our worlds.

Open Internship Position at Cultural Agents

XVI Anual Reunion of BID Group and Civic Society


"Alternatives for Sustainable Growth and Human Capital”

November 8, 2016

The Cultural Agents Initiative Director, Professor Doris Sommer, was been at Dominican Republic in the "XVI Annual Meeting IDB Group Civil Society” leading the Forum "Alternatives for Sustainable Growth and Human Capital”

Visit the forum web site at: www.iadb.org/sc/reunion2016

We invite to check out the forum at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8uoL_AJpFI

"Music as a Catalyst for Change" Cultural Diplomacy Panel

Last Tuesday November 1st, Prof. Doris Sommer, Director of the Cultural Agents Initiative, participated in a panel on Cultural Diplomacy at Berklee College of Music in Boston. This event, organized and guided by mezzo soprano and cultural entrepreneur Carla Dirlikov, also included the participation of the following world-class experts and leaders in the arts: Courtenay Casey, Director of Artistic Planning at National Sawdust; Manuel Bagorro, Artistic Director of the Harare International Festival of the Arts; and David Rothkopf, CEO at the Foreign Policy Group.
As part of the weeklong series on Music as a Catalyst for Change, this insightful conversation explored the role that cultural entrepreneurship plays as an agent for social change today by asking important questions and reflecting on the unique innovative experiences of the panelists. This is how, after offering thought-provoking reflections on the concept of “culture” and its roles in the construction of a truly democratic society, Prof. Sommer explained the vision behind her work with the Cultural Agents Initiative and Pre-Texts. Following these ideas, the panelists also discussed the meaning of “cultural diplomacy” and “cultural IQ”, as well as other professional aspects such as programing socially-committed cultural contents and using the arts to promote human development. Towards the end of this event, all the experts also engaged with the audience members by answering inspiring questions and by offering useful examples on how to become both successful cultural entrepreneurs and engaged artists in today’s interconnected global world.  

- Federico Olivieri, 
Cultural Agents

8th Worldwide Meeting on Human Values


On October, the 8th Worldwide Meeting on Human Values took place in Monterrey, Mexico. This year, efforts focused on "Coping Social Crisis With the Value of Justice" with three anchor themes: Social Justice, Fair Economy and Restorative Justice.

Prof. Doris Sommer, director of Cultural Agents Initiative at Harvard University and founder of Pre-Texts methodology, together with Verónica Dávila, director of Pre-Texts Mexico, presented the talk “Pre-Texts model of Educational and Civic Transformation”. The incredible lecture highlights the interconnectedness of art, politics, civility, education, innovation and the importance of cultivating critical thinking in our learning spaces, while simultaneously exposing the Latin American influences that inspired the Pre-Texts methodology. 

To view the talk, please click on the Youtube link:


We hope you enjoy it! 

Pre-Texts at the Derek Bok Center, Harvard University


From September 21 – 23, multiple graduate students and professionals from different fields came together at Harvard's Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning to rediscover learning through play. The three-day workshop not only provided an introduction into the workings of the Pre-Texts methodology, but it also created a space for critical thinking about how and why we learn. Through a series of warm ups, creative dynamics, artistic responses, and process reflection, attendees were able to experience profound curiosity with a literary work and explore ways in which civic engagement can be fostered among students. Participants also had the chance to come up with their own ideas of how to interact with the text and the opportunity of facilitating their initiatives with the group.  Many of those who attended these activities were left inspired in how there are a myriad of innovative ways to bring literary works to life and create a respectful environment where everyone’s voice is valued. Pre-Texts reminded us that learning should be fun, and that the key for encouraging literacy is igniting our imagination!    

- Stephanie Soler
Intern at Cultural Agents Initiative, Harvard University

For more photographs and videos of this workshop, please visit:  http://culturalagents.us5.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=33d87058b57ac249d98e85b93&id=c7476023a9&e=a768dd7f8e

Pre-Texts Short Documentary


In March 2016, Professor Doris Sommer,  human rights lawyer Marco Abarca, and artist Jay Critchley, collaborated with the Inter American Development Bank to host a Pre-Texts workshop in Nassau (Bahamas). This four-day intensive training, held within the beautiful wrap-around verandas of the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas, bloomed with creativity. Critchley recorded a glimpse of the unforgettable  experiences lived during Pre-Texts workshops in a short documentary.  

To view the film, clink on the Vimeo link and type in the code: 'pretexts'. 


We hope you enjoy it! 

Vehicle of Massive Instruction at Medellin's Book and Culture Festival


[On September 18th,] the Book and Culture Festival of Medellin came to a close. Catalina and I participated in a project inspired by Raul Lemesoff’s “Weapons of Mass Instruction”, which [Doris Sommer] showed us.

Our project, “Vehicle of Mass Instruction”, consisted in taking to the Festival a car that at a certain moment had represented the war, but which now carried books to lend those who passed by. We had the Army’s support, which facilitated two of their soldiers who were in charge of attracting different spectators and participants towards the Vehicle during the weeklong festival.  In addition to the Army, we also received support from Medellin’s Secretariat of Education, who helped us find many books and diffuse the project.
The “Vehicle of Mass Instruction” was a total success! People got close, grabbed books, [and] took photographs. The Secretariat of Education and the Army were pleased, and we were even featured on television! Even though the Book and Culture Festival of Medellin came to an end, the project allowed a strengthening of relations between the Army and the Secretariat of Education to begin to work together towards the city’s education.

Catalina and I want to extend to [Doris Sommer] a special acknowledgement and gratitude for having brought us the inspiration, and want to let you know that our desire of working with you continues. The “Vehicle of Mass Instruction” was the first of many projects to come.

- Luisa Gomez Angel & Catalina Roa Beuth

Pre-Texts in Coyhaique, Chile


I want to comment that the Pre-Texts methodology has been a very enriching experience that [during August 2016] has allowed us to re-signify our processes of teaching-learning, not only of texts, as much outside the classroom as inside. It has convened us to look again at our ways of working and our way of being in the encounter with others, whether students, partners, or equals.  The follow-up meetings on Saturdays have given us feedback and allowed us to improve the process.

- Patricia Rivera, 
Pre-Texts Weaver

Doris Sommer is selected as a Fulbright Specialist Roster candidate

We at Cultural Agents Initiative would like to congratulate Doris Sommer, Director of Cultural Agents Initiative, Ira and Jewell Williams Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures at Harvard University, on being recommended for the Fulbright Specialist Roster by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and the Institute of International Education’s Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES).

The Roster is a list of all candidates who are eligible to be matched with incoming project requests from overseas academic institutions for Fulbright Specialists. As a Roster candidate, she will be considered for project requests that require her expertise. 


ECA and CIES congratulate you on being selected as a Fulbright Specialist Roster candidate. Whether or not you ultimately receive a Fulbright Specialist grant, we appreciate your interest in international scholarly exchanges and trust that you will continue to support this endeavor, which is so vital to academic and professional communities around the world.

 - María de los Ángeles Crummett
Executive Director,
Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES)