Highlights from 2013


Save the date! Join us for the annual CONACULTA Prize ceremony, an inspiring event that crosses borders.

Featured Story Archive

To celebrate World Peace Day, Argentinian artist  Raul Lemesoff built one of his famous book tanks, which are modified cars that acts as mobile libraries. He calls his collection of similar projects "Weapons of Mass Instruction" and gives out books to those who promise to read them. To see the whole video, refer to the link below:

Cultural Agents in Tunisia
Tunisian B-Boys' Biggest Battle: Keeping Youths from Extremism

Nidhal Bouallagui, 23 and leader of the B-Boys, helps Tunisian youths find artistic alternatives rather than turn towards extremism. "Mr. Bouallagui decided to create an association to run workshops and events to offer teenagers an alternative. 'We do dance, extreme sport, rap, graffiti, D.J.-ing, short movies and theater. We do it because we want to work with the people... We just have one principle that we have to make something new.'" Read the full article here.

Cultural Agents in Paraguay
Orchestra of Recycled Instruments of Cateura, Paraguay

Also known as the Landfill Harmonic, the Orquestra de Instrumentos Reciclados Cateura is a 2013 Prince Claus Laureate. Their  instruments are made from the trash found in their city of Cateura. The youth orchestra plays around the world. A documentary about their work and mission is in the works. Check out the trailer here. You can contact the Orchestra at orquestrareciclados@gmail.com. 

Cultural Agents in Turkey
The Power of Color: Guerrilla Beautification & Gray-Washing Censorship

Since the protests in early 2012, Turkish police have taken to the streets to paint over any anti-government graffitti in gray. "Ironically, while this systematic gray-washing of protest may serve to obscure the voice of opposition in Turkey, it also draws attention to that which it seeks to hide."

Full article here.

Forum Theater in Tanzania
Young Citizens as Health Agents: Use of Drama in Promoting Community Efficacy for HIV/AIDS

"Drama was selected as an innovative and interactive way for young adults to acquire knowledge about HIV/AIDS and openly engage community members in public performances and discussions of a complex and stigmatized topic. In Tanzania and elsewhere in Africa, drama has been an effective participatory method for HIV/AIDS education."

View the full article here: http://www.culturalagents.org/couch/uploads/file/young-citizens-amer-j-public-health-feb-08.pdf

Read Doris' presentation about her book in Puerto Rico!


On April 1st 2015, we discussed the critical role that culture will play in Mexico in resolving the political crisis there. See the link for details on the event.

A Pre-Text workshop will be held in Bogotá, Colombia on February 23 with the support of the Institute for Human Rights Education and in alliance with the Luis Ángel Arango Library, the Unit for Attention and Reparation of Victims and the Cultural Agents Initiative. The workshop will take place at the Fondo de Cultura Económica (FCE) Cultural Centre, and is part of the celebration of a new section at the FCE that aims to promote works about the construction of peace, citizen coexistence and historic memory. The event, called “Reconciliación. Orillas que se juntan” (Reconciliation. Shores that Come Together) will feature Colombian and international experts who will discuss the political transition to a post-conflict scenario, and the issues and difficulties of forgiveness and reconciliation.

The Work of Art in the World: Civic Agency and Public Humanities is now in its second printing! 

Celebrating art and interpretation that takes on challenges, Doris Sommer steers the humanities back to engagement with the world. The reformist projects that focus her attention develop momentum and meaning as they circulate through society to inspire faith in the possible. Among the cases that she covers are top-down initiatives of political leaders, such as those launched by Antanas Mockus, former mayor of Bogotá, Colombia, and also bottom-up movements like the Theatre of the Oppressed created by Brazilian director, writer, and educator Augusto Boal. Alleging that we are all cultural agents, also takes herself to task and creates Pre-Texts, an international arts-literacy project that translates high literacy theory through popular creative practices. The Work of Art in the World is informed by many writers and theorists. Foremost among them is the eighteenth-century Germany poet and philosopher Friedrich Schiller, who remains an eloquent defender of art-making and humanistic interpretation in the construction of political freedom. Schiller's thinking runs throughout Sommer's modern-day call for citizens to collaborate in the endless co-creation of a more just and beautiful world. 

Buy your copy here today!

+ For recent reviews of The Work of Art in the World, please visit: 

Doris Sommer at Harvard Thinks Big 4

Founding Director Doris Sommer was one of the six popular Harvard professors to present a favorite idea for Harvard's 4th annual Harvard Thinks Big. Sommer placed her emphasis on culture.

For more, visit the Harvard Gazette's article 7 speakers, 12 minutes.

"The Story Deepens," Pre-Texts at the Boston Public Schools
Pre-Texts in the news!

+ For more on the renovated teaching and learning spaces of the Harvard Art Museums, please see this video: