MCLA’s Institute for the Arts and Humanities Announces Four-part Summer Series

May 19, 2021

NORTH ADAMS, MASS.— The MCLA Institute for the Arts and Humanities (IAH) will host its annual Summer Symposium from Tuesday, June 1–Thursday, June 17, 2021. The four-part Zoom event is produced in collaboration with BRIDGE Inc.’s Inclusive Leadership Cohort (ILC), Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation (BTCF), Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC), and the Berkshire Cultural Assets Network (BCAN), and is free and open to the public. 

The series aligns with an overarching theme of accountability. “Community Care & Public Engagement: What does it mean to create brave spaces?” will launch the series from 2–4 p.m. on June 1. Dr. Brea Heidelberg will lead a conversation about creating brave spaces, engage participants in exploring what constitutes a brave space, and discuss common mistakes made in facilitating these spaces.  

The second event, “Anti-Racist Theatre Work: Responding to ‘We See You, White American Theatre,’” will be held from 2–4 p.m. on June 8. A panel discussion, moderated by Gwendolyn VanSant (BRIDGE Inc.) and featuring theatre artists Dawn Meredith Simmons (co-founder and artistic director of The Front Porch Arts Collective), Nicole Brewer (trainer and advocate for anti-racist theatre), and representatives from WAM Theatre and Shakespeare & Company, will focus on what is required in anti-racism work in theatre, arts, and with sponsors and partners. Additional featured guests include Dr. Kimberly Richards (The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond). 

“Responding to Systemic and Collective Trauma with Community Partnerships: Addressing Culture and Community in a Regional Conversation” will take place from 2–4 p.m. on June 15. Gwendolyn VanSant (BRIDGE Inc.) and Quenna Barrett and Rebecca Martinez (Center for Performance and Civic Practice) will facilitate this dialogue alongside representatives from area cultural organizations to explore the importance of listening and responding to the community as we notice the issues that have emerged within our organizations. 

The series will close, from 2–4 p.m. on June 17, with an experiential poetry workshop, “INSCAPES,” offered by The Mastheads and led by architect Tessa Kelly and poet Sarah Trudgeon. The workshop will launch a regional campaign inviting a “call and response” creative prompt about Berkshire County from participants. This experience will culminate in a presentational video and several poetry billboards to be featured around Berkshire County throughout the summer. 

 All programs are free and open to the public, but registration is required. Registration for MCLA-IAH’s 2021 Summer Symposium can be accessed on the main event page:  

More about MCLA’s Institute for the Arts and Humanities is available here:  

The 2021 MCLA Institute for the Arts and Humanities Summer Symposium is funded by support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, BRIDGE Inc., Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the Berkshire Cultural Asset Network.