Face to Face Conference
Wednesday, April 15, 2020
Keynote Plenary Panel, Topic: Trauma-Informed Arts in Education
Takiema Bunche Smith, MPA, MS Ed, President, Anahsa, LLC Educational Consulting
Takiema has worked for over two decades in support of children, families and educational programs and systems through her work as a teacher, teacher educator, curriculum director, parent activist, and executive leader. Her life’s work has been guided by a deep commitment to racial equity, social justice, and a belief that centering the histories and perspectives of marginalized people can support individuals, institutions and systems to become more equitable for all.
Her work lives at the intersection of theory, policy and practice, and she uses a culturally responsive and anti-oppression lens to re-frame and re-imagine what educational experiences could look like for children, adults, families and communities. Her wide range of professional and personal experiences, and deeply reflective approach to life and learning, helps her create a culture of collaboration wherever she goes, centered around a vision of liberation for all.
In 2014, Takiema became a part of a multiracial group of parent leaders in the NYC Opt-Out (standardized test refusal) movement and has spoken out in various venues against the harm of high stakes standardized tests, particularly as they impact the lives of the youngest Black and Brown children, children with special needs, and children from under-resourced communities. She has presented on education related topics to a variety of audiences across New York, the United States and Sweden, and has published articles and op-eds in venues such as Childhood Education Innovations, NAEYC Young Children, Al-Jazeera and The Washington Post. She is also a doula, and is passionate about creating a culture of self-care, particularly as it relates to professional environments.
Takiema holds Master’s degrees in Early Childhood & Elementary Education from Bank Street College of Education, Urban Education Policy from the CUNY Graduate Center, and from NYU Wagner’s School for Public Service.
Mazz Swift, Performer and Teaching Artist
Mazz Swift is a violinist, composer, conductor, singer, bandleader and educator. As composer, her works include commissions by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the University of Delaware, Neues Kabarett (through a Meet-the-Composer grant), The New Harmony Music Festival, and the Blaffer Foundation. Two of Ms. Swift’s compositions are featured on the Jersey City chamber music organization Con Vivo Music’s compilation, Modern Dances.
Mazz has performed and taught workshops in free improvisation and “Conduction” (conducted improvisation) on six continents and is a performing member and teaching artist with the acclaimed Silkroad Ensemble. She is also a Carnegie Hall teaching artist, where she writes and records lullabies with incarcerated mothers and mothers-to-be at Rikers Island, coaches the inmates at Sing Sing Penitentiary in string studies and composition, and leads professional development workshops on improvisation for symphony orchestra members and their students.
Her current collaborations include the improvisational string trio HEAR in NOW, with whom she has most recently won the MacArthur Foundation’s International Cultural Exchanges Grant for a two year collaboration with the Ethiopian band QWANQWA; and the INVISIBLE(s) Project with fellow Silkroad Artist, bagpiper and pianist Cristina Pato – a commissioning project that premieres new works for the two musicians and all of their various instruments, and is an exploration of the broad topic of Invisibility.
Ms. Swift is a Jerome Hill Fellow, currently working on several projects, all of which involve conduction and are centered around protest, spirituals, and the Ghanaian concept of ‘Sankofa’: looking back to learn how to move forward.
Olajide A. Williams, MD
Dr. Olajide Williams is the Founder of Hip Hop Public Health. He currently serves Chief of Staff of Neurology, Director of Acute Stroke Services, and Associate Professor of Neurology at Columbia University. Dr Williams is a highly regarded NIH researcher and expert in community-based health education interventions targeting economically disadvantaged minorities. He is the author of numerous scholarly peer reviewed publications including the acclaimed book, Stroke Diaries – a collection of patient encounter stories published by Oxford University Press. Dr Williams sits on several prominent boards, including the Partnership for a Healthier America whose honorary chair is First Lady Michelle Obama and the Founders Affiliate board of the American Heart Association. Dr Williams has received numerous national awards for his work including congressional citations and state proclamations. He has been featured by several major networks which include NBC, ABC, CNN, Al Jazeera, Fox, NPR and the New York Times. Dr. Williams was profiled in Fast Company magazine’s 100 Most Creative People in Business, the Root 100′s most influential, BET’s “A” list, and the 2015 New York Magazine’s Best Doctors list.
Moderator: Sara Morgulis, Director of Education, New York City Children’s Theater
Sara Morgulis leads the NYCCT Education department with her personal mission of engaging New York City students through accessible and inclusive theatre practices. She holds a BFA in Acting with a Minor in Education Studies from Syracuse University and an MA in Applied Theatre from the City University of New York. where she now serves as an Adjunct faculty member. Her Master’s thesis research about training young people to be peer facilitators was published in a 2015 edition of RIDE: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance. In 2015, Sara received the TYA/USA Ann Shaw Fellowship Award, which funded a trip to London to visit Oily Cart Theatre and learn about their play development process. Sara used that research to co-create FIVE, a multi-sensory touring musical designed for students with disabilities. Sara also serves as Director of Programs at Actionplay, where she curates theatre, film and music programming for people with autism and related conditions. Sara has served on panels and presented workshops at many conferences, including the American Alliance for Theatre and Education Conference, the Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability Conference, NYU Forum on Educational Theater, ARTWORKS Arts in Education Conference, and the NYC Roundtable Face to Face Arts in Education Conference. She is a Steering Committee Member of the Museum Access Consortium and serves as an Accessibility and Disability Inclusion consultant for organizations nationwide, most recently at the Creative Arts Team, CO/LAB Theatre Group, and Philadelphia Young Playwrights.