Speakers Announced for Culture, Community, and the Classroom in Pennsylvania

Jun 10, 2021

Culture, Community, and the Classroom—Pennsylvania

Zoom workshops will be July 27-29, from 9:00 am-1:00 pm

Teachers will discover how traditional arts and culture can be assets in your classroom, build inclusive learning plans with proven tools for student engagement, and learn with a cohort model that centers teachers’ expertise.

Folk artists will build your portfolios and gain methods for teaching about your art forms and their context to diverse students of all ages.

Confirmed Guest Workshop Facilitators and Speakers include:

Selina Morales is a Philadelphia-based public folklorist who consults nationally with a focus on urban folklore, particularly the intersection of community aesthetics, heritage, and social justice. She is currently working with Southwest Folklife Alliance on the national Radical Imagination for Racial Justice initiative, coaching community-based researchers to document and interpret racial justice projects in their own ALAANA communities. For nearly a decade she worked at one of the country’s premiere folklore organizations, Philadelphia Folklore Project, the last five years as its Director. Currently, she is a faculty member at Goucher College’s Masters in Cultural Sustainability Program where she teaches ethical and effective cultural partnerships and nonprofit leadership and management. Selina is a sought-after speaker in both academic and community settings. Her topics range from social justice and folklore to public interest folklore theory and practice, Latino folklore, urban folklore, and folklore and education. Selina earned a B.A. in Anthropology at Oberlin College and an M.A. in Folklore at Indiana University-Bloomington, where she also completed doctoral coursework and a comprehensive exam. She is a member of the Advisory Council to the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, and also serves as the Board Chair of the Folk Arts Cultural Treasures Charter School in Philadelphia. Selina was the guest editor for the 2020 Journal of Folklore and Education’s Special Issue “Teaching for Equity”. In 2017, she was honored as one of the Delaware Valley’s 50 Most Influential Latinos.

Raphael Xavier is an award-winning artist and alumnus of the world renowned Hip Hop dance company, Rennie Harris Puremovement. A 2013 Pew Fellowship Grantee, 2016 Guggenheim Fellow and 2016 United States Artist Fellow, Xavier has been a professional breaker/dancer for the last 20 years, working in a variety of fields including music, photography and film.

A self-taught Hip Hop dancer and Breaking practitioner since 1983, Xavier continues to learn and recreate new ways to expand the vocabulary of the dance form through constant research of the culture, performance, practice and by staying present in the community. His extensive research in Hip Hop forms and culture, specifically Breaking, has led to the creation of Ground-Core, a Somatic dance technique that gives the practitioner a better understanding of the body within all dance forms. His goal is to make the form accessible to any body type and level. Ground-Core technique is featured in most of his choreography and repertory works. He recently produced a new repertory show entitled Sassafrazz: From Roots to Mastery. The production features a Jazz quartet and 4 Breakers highlighting the parallels of street dance, improvisation and African-American forms. Xavier currently lives in Philadelphia and is a professor at Princeton University, where he teaches the History of Hip Hop Dance and Culture and Intro to Breaking courses.

Kelly Armor is the Folklorist in Residence at Erie Arts & Culture, as well as a freelance educator, folklorist, musician, and storyteller. She has been a rostered teaching artist since 1995 and has been an artist-in-residence at over 45 different schools and community organizations. Her residencies often focus on storytelling, folk music, songwriting, and instrument making for preschoolers, elementary and middle school students, adults with special needs, and ELL children and adults.

She conceived and directs the largest folk art initiative in for Northwest Pennsylvania, the Old Songs New Opportunities Project, a collaboration between arts, education, and social service agencies. The program collects traditional children’s songs from refugee women living in Erie and teaches the women the skills to present their songs at early learn centers, schools and community centers.

Trained as a classical flute player, she studied music and composition at Yale University. She then spent two and half years in Kenya and Tanzania, living with local families to study Swahili language, ethnography, and traditional music. “This experience changed my life,” states Kelly, “I lived with people who did not think of music as a performance but as a way to build community.”

Hua Hua Zhang graduated from the Beijing Performing Arts Academy where she was trained as a performer in the ancient art of Chinese puppetry. From 1974 to 1995 she toured nationally and internationally with the China Puppet Arts Troupe of Beijing. She received many awards for excellence in performance and direction.

In the mid-90s Hua Hua worked on a U.S./China joint venture television production, The Adventures of Hua Hua and Morley. In 1996 she joined the international association of Puppet Artists (UNIMA – Union Internationale de la Marionnette) in Budapest, Hungary, and helped China become a UNIMA member. In that same year, Hua Hua enrolled as a student in the Department of Dramatic Arts at the University of Connecticut’s School of Fine Arts, to earn a Master of Fine Arts degree in Puppetry. She studied fine art design, sculpture, puppet construction, direction, production, and many forms of western performance. Hua Hua is the first Chinese national to have earned an MFA degree in Puppet Arts from this program. She also received the prestigious University of Connecticut Fine Arts Award for Excellence.

Hua Hua has appeared in several New York theaters, as well as in the Jim Henson International Festival of Puppet Arts in New York City (twice). She designed, constructed and performed puppets for a national U.S. television program, Between the Lions. She has performed to audiences in China, the U.S.A., Canada, Belgium, France, England, Germany, Holland, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain, Brazil and Singapore.

Hua Hua formed her own nonprofit company – Hua Hua’s Visual Expressions – to continue to develop her vision of the performing arts and an art education program to share Chinese culture and puppet art with American audiences and students. Since 2000, the company’s productions have toured throughout the United States. Her show, Butterfly Dreams, was presented at The Worldwide Festival of Puppet Theatre in Charleville-Mezieres, France in 2003. She and her company received a Jim Henson Foundation award for creating puppet theater in 2002 and a Pennsylvania Council of the Arts Fellowship in 2003. Hua Hua has collaborated with Philadelphia-based Kun Yang Lin /Dancers on several productions.

In addition to working in the theater, Hua Hua has been teaching puppet art at elementary, middle and secondary school and university levels. She is a teacher at the Folk Arts – Cultural Treasures Charter School.

Linda Deafenbaugh is the Folk Arts Education Specialist who develops and evaluates folk arts education program for Folk Arts-Cultural Treasures Charter School, a National Blue Ribbon school dedicated to folk arts education. She supervises folk artists from diverse cultural communities who teach their cultural traditions with students, trains teachers in integrating folk arts education across the curriculum and develops assessment methods for tracking student increasing skills of inquiry and growth in understanding culture.

Karen “Queen Nur” Abdul-Malik is a nationally renowned storyteller,  teaching artist and folklorist. Sharing her gift, she has performed in venues from the Opening of the Smithsonian NAAMCH to Equity Theater on Broadway, from the National Black Storytelling Festival to the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesboro. Traveling abroad Queen has presented for the U.S. Embassy in Cameroon and at PANAFEST in Ghana.  She has appeared as the Emcee for the National Endowment of the Arts Heritage Fellowship Award Concert and as a coach at the National Coalition Conference on Complex Health Care. Queen has been the recipient of MidAtlantic Artist as Catalyst Grants for her work with Teens-at-Risk and Women’s Shelters and the National Storytelling Brimstone Grant for her innovative community-based programs. The mother of three and grandmother of five, she received her Masters in Arts in Cultural Sustainability from Goucher College, and a Certificate in Dispute Resolution from Harvard Law School. Queen has recorded 2 CDs.  Sweet Potato Pie and Such, is an IParenting Media Golden Award Winner. In 2018, she was named a New Jersey Governor Award Winner in Arts Education  and Teaching Artist of the Year with Young Audience of New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania. Karen is also  featured in Legendary Locals of Willingboro.

Local Learning began as the National Task Force for Folk Arts in Education in 1993 at a National Endowment for the Arts Folk Arts Education Roundtable. Today, the core activities and programs of Local Learning service the fields of folklore as well as education through professional development trainings, digital publication of our flagship peer-reviewed Journal of Folklore and Education, and building infrastructure through peer networking and cross-disciplinary initiatives. Our mission is to connect folklorists, artists, and educators across the nation and to advocate for the full inclusion of folklife and folk arts in education to transform learning, build intercultural understanding, and create stronger communities. We support culture workers in academic settings, public agencies, tribal nations, and numerous other professional homes including museums, libraries, and community nonprofits who currently seek our leadership to navigate the opportunities and hardships in our new virtual settings. We also support tradition bearers who need training and support to build online portfolios, lessons, and audiences. Many of these tradition bearers come from underserved populations and geographies. Lisa Rathje is Executive Director, and Paddy Bowman is Founding Director and Senior Consultant for Facilitation and Resource Development.

Culture, Community, and the Classroom—Pennsylvania is a statewide education project that will engage artists from diverse communities and K-12 educators in professional development that focuses upon culture in arts learning. This workshop series and consultancy will focus upon identifying participants’ own cultural perspectives in teaching and learning, which will also engage them in inventorying their assumptions about arts skills, aesthetics, student needs, and community knowledge. Also, nurturing self-awareness around culturally grounded organizational and pedagogical structures leads to more effective ongoing equity work and DEI training. It will create learning around folk arts, potentially engaging artists in Pennsylvania who reflect the diverse communities of the Commonwealth and championing public awareness and appreciation of the arts in all communities. The premise that arts educators must better understand the long-term effects of infrastructural and lived inequity is addressed as we engage excellent and significant art forms and traditions that are not often taught through formal education and are practiced in communities that are often underserved.