Basic Principles of Improvisation for Activism

Jazz musicians draw on some very specific approaches to creating original music while staying mindful of a barrage of sound around them. These approaches may also be helpful to our work in fostering needed change in rapidly shifting social, political, and economic environments. After listening to some masterful examples, we will then identify essential activities in which those musicians engage. Finally, drawing on their wisdom, we will outline ways we might acquire similar skills as we apply them to examples of real circumstances and social change projects in our lives.

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Trainer: Dr. Terry Jenoure, musician, writer, visual artist, and educator, was born and raised in the Bronx into a Puerto Rican and Jamaican family. Her lifelong commitment to the extended imagination is felt through various projects on five continents. From her early formal training as a violinist and vocalist and a protégé of the Free Jazz Movement, to her self-taught doll sculptures featured at the Smithsonian Institute, to her academic publications, a recently completed novel, and one-woman theater performance, arts have fueled her passion throughout her lifetime. Holding Masters and Doctoral degrees in Education and a B.A. degree in Philosophy, Terry was on the graduate faculty at Lesley University for 18 years, and an independent researcher focusing on the creative development of teachers, community leaders and social workers in South Africa, Mexico, Israel, and Colombia. She has served as the Director of Augusta Savage Gallery at the University of Massachusetts Amherst for three decades.

Engaging in Difficult Dialogues: An Essential Leadership Skill

In political environments differences of opinion are inevitable and important. Yet too often, differences are inadequately explored. Even more frequently, different perspectives often lead to anger, hurt, and sometimes violence. This class will explore the benefits of dialogue across difference. We will distinguish debate from dialogue, discuss the components of successful dialogues, and describe some of dialogue’s positive results. Finally, we will engage in the practice of constructive dialogue and reflect on what we learn from that experience.

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Trainer: Dr. Patricia Romney, Psychologist, Organizational Consultant, Advocate for social justice and the common good, and President of Romney Associates, Inc. Pat has worked for the last several decades assisting change agents inside organizations to accomplish their goals.