Dust in the Bottomland – March 21st

dust-in-the-bottomlandComposer Nate May and bass vocalist Andrew Robert Munn combine contemporary opera and passions for environmental and economic justice in Appalachia in a live performance of Dust in the Bottomland by Nate May at P Buckley Moss Blacksburg Gallery, 223 Gilbert Street, Blacksburg, VA on Monday, March 21, 2016.  There will be a reception at 6 PM with the performance at 7 PM.  They will also be featured at a roundtable discussion from 12-1 on Tuesday March 22, 2016 at the Alexander Black House, 204 Draper Road, across from the Kent Square parking garage. Their residency is sponsored by Department of Religion & Culture (Appalachian Studies), the Grad School, The School of Performing Arts, and the English Department (CRC) and Institute for Policy and Governance.

Dust in the Bottomland grapples with issues of prescription drug addiction, mountaintop removal mining, and the changing fabric of rural Appalachian communities in a forty-five minute chamber opera written for bass (Munn), piano, and electronic soundscapes. May, a native West Virginian, composed the work for Munn in 2013. They toured the work throughout the Appalachian region, including a performance at the 2014 Appalachian Studies Association Conference, and gave a New York, NY performance presented by Tenth Intervention. The complete recording of the piece was broadcast on Appalshop’s WMMT radio and featured on West Virginia Public Radio. Nate and Andrew presented at the 2014 Ecomusics and Ecomusicologies Conference and are co-authors of “Music and Coal Activism: Perspectives from the Field,” an essay for the upcoming issue of Ecomusicology Review. The duo met while undergraduates at the University of Michigan in 2007.

May maintains a close connection with Appalachia as he pursues his master’s degree at Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. His work-in-progress, State, for singer Kate Wakefield and Cincinnati’s Women’s choir, MUSE, is based on oral histories of Appalachians in Cincinnati and supported by a 2015 Appalachian Sound Fellowship from Berea College. His collaborations include the world-touring work Spiral by choreographer/dancer Wanjiru Kamuyu and Kalahari Waits, the debut album of indigenous poetry and music trio Khoi Khonnexion, produced during a year in South Africa funded by a Reece Miller Scholarship from the Telluride Association.

From 2009 to 2014 Munn worked as a community organizer for environmental and economic justice in the coalfields of West Virginia. During this time, he worked with communities to oppose mountaintop removal coal mining and to place local environmental issues in the context of climate change and globalized capitalism. His work on land reform, economic transition in coal-dependent areas, and civil disobedience was published and analyzed in The Journal of Appalachian Studies and Applied Anthropology; books published by Punctum, AK, and Atlantic Monthly Presses; and was featured in documentaries The Last Mountain and Battle for Blair Mountain on CNN. Andrew returned to the stage in the 2014-2015 season and maintains an active performing schedule as he pursues his master’s degree in the Bard Conservatory Graduate Vocal Arts Program under the direction of soprano and MacArthur Fellow Dawn Upshaw.

MORE INFROMATION: www.dustinthebottomland.org

Patricia Parera – February 11th

patricia-pareraCommunity Voices will have the opportunity to have dialogue on World Bank, Gender and Development with Patricia Parera (Economic and Social Development Consultant for The World Bank) during a roundtable luncheon on February 11, from 12:00pm-1:00pm in GLC Room G.

Patricia is a versatile, energetic and motivated social scientist able to deliver strategic technical and policy advice and practical operational performance on sustainable, economic and social development projects and activities. Drawing on her professional career, Patricia focuses on goals, outcomes and impacts by encouraging benefits that make a difference in people’s lives. In 2008, Patricia returned to the DC area after 15 years of working with the United Nations (FAO, IFAD) and the World Bank in Latin America and The Caribbean as a sustainable development policy and operations officer. She is currently a consultant with the World Bank’s Agriculture and Education Global Practices.

Event Details
Thursday, February 11th 12:00pm-1:00pm
Round Table Luncheon
Graduate Life Center (GLC) Room G

Additional Info
For additional information concerning this event or Community Voices in general, please contact Andy Morikawa or call the Virginia Tech Institute for Policy & Governance at 540.231.6775

Elizabeth Streb – September 30th

elizabeth-strebIn conjunction with the Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech, Community Voices will be holding a dialogue after the Film, Born to Fly: Elizabeth Streb vs.Gravity, with artistic director Elizabeth Streb, on Wednesday, September 30, 2015, at 7 PM at the Lyric Theatre, 135 College Ave., Blacksburg. Please join us for a lively film and conversation. The film and dialogue session are both free!

Elizabeth Streb, the “Evel Knievel of Dance,” nimbly weaves dance, aesthetics, rodeo, the circus, and Hollywood-style stunt work into one amazing live performance. STREB began in 1985 with a stubborn investigation of action, ranging from every day movements to the extreme action of sports, the circus, and thrill rides; the impulse to action that is in our souls. The company is a world-class entertainment phenomenon that stays true to its scientific and populist roots. STREB, whose cutting-edge, dangerous talent was featured at the 2012 London Olympics, invents action ideas that are daring, yet understandable, that soar past our critical senses and land in our hearts. Forces is the story of that action, it is the journey to harness invisible forces, it is the quest to mount a machine and learn its tricks. And it is sure to take your breath away.

Event Details
Wednesday, September 30, 2015, 7 PM
Film Screening and Dialogue with the Artist
BORN TO FLY: Elizabeth Streb vs. Gravity
Elizabeth Streb, Artistic Director, STREB Extreme Action Company
Lyric Theatre, 135 College Ave., Blacksburg

Additional Info
This screening and dialogue is an accompanying event. The main event will be a live performance, FORCES, and is sponsored by the Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech.
When: Friday, October 2, 2015, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Moss Arts Center, Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre, Street and Davis Performance Hall
Admission: $25-$55, $10 students with ID and children 18 and under

Tracy Kunkler – April 27th

tracy-kunkler“Governing Complex Systems- Stories from the Front Lines,”

Community Voices and Appalachian Foodshed Project is presenting Tracy Kunkler on Monday April 27. In her talk, “Governing Complex Systems- Stories from the Front Lines,” Tracy will discuss her consulting work with people and organizations that want to create fundamental changes in complex systems, such as local food production and distribution networks. Free parking is available around Fralin at Litton Reeves, Hillcrest,or Engel parking lots after 6 PM. We look forward to seeing you there!

Tracy Kunkler, MSW, is principal at Social Profit Strategies, a social enterprise and consulting firm that works with forward-thinking leaders who are engaged in their communities and who value collaborative leadership. Whether they lead businesses, organizations, or cross-sector networks, their clients have social missions that contribute to a vision of resiliency, creativity and prosperity for all. Tracy co-founded the Dynamic Governance Institute, which has evolved into Circle Forward, a new system of consent-based governance.

Event Details
Monday April 27, 2015, 7:00pm
Fralin Auditorium

Virginia Tech Institute for Policy and Governance

Lisa Jo Epstein – March 24th

lisa-jo-epstein“Art Making as Activism in Public Life: The Vision and Experience of Gas and Electric Arts”

Faculty, students, and community members joined Lisa Jo Epstein for an exploration of theatre as a forum for social change.

Lisa Jo Epstein is the Artistic Director and Co-Founder of Gas & Electric Arts. She is a theatre director, educator and teaching artist whose engaged, theatrical vision has been influenced by her training at Theatre de la Jeune Lune (Minneapolis), the world-renowned Théâtre du Soleil (Paris, France), and with Nobel Peace Prize Nominee Augusto Boal at the Center for the Theatre of the Oppressed (Paris, France). For decades, Lisa Jo has facilitated experiential theatre workshops with a variety of populations in many community locations around issues of identity, empowerment and social justice. For this work, she was recognized as a Northwest Fund Neighborhood Change Agent, was awarded a Leeway Art & Change grant, and has thrice been a Leeway Transformation Award finalist. For the past twenty years, Epstein has seen herself as Theatre of the Oppressed multiplier, teaching others this approach to making personal and community change. In addition to facilitating numerous Theatre of the Oppressed trainings and residencies in communities, she created Power gRRRls, a unique summer theatre, conflict resolution and leadership program for teen girls. Most recently, Epstein began working with an intergenerational group of residents in Chester PA around issues of domestic violence and its impact on the community.

Lisa Jo has been invited to travel to universities and colleges to teach a range of theatre classes, from T.O. to performance composition, as well as to direct theatre productions. In 2013, for example, she was in residence at the Université of Bordeaux in France where she taught master classes in choreographic theatre, led a Theatre of the Oppressed multi-day workshop, and presented her work with Gas & Electric Arts to the community. Each summer, Lisa Jo leads a Forum Theater intensive workshop which brings educators, social workers, community organizers, artists and active citizens from across the country to study with her. She has directed all of the mainstage plays for Gas & Electric Arts which has been dubbed “an indie theatre force,” and is considered one of Philadelphia’s most fearless, innovative small theater companies, committed to forging compelling imagistic, emotionally and intellectually relevant theatrical experiences. Her directorial work is noted for its signature, multi-sensory approach that bridges the gap between ensemble-devised physical theatre & text-based work, resulting in a unique hybrid performance style.

Event Details
Tuesday, March 24th, 4:00pm
Theater 101, on the Virginia Tech Campus

Women’s Center at Virginia Tech
Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech Institute for Policy and Governance

Liz Lerman – March 17th

liz-lerman“At the Crossroads: Art, Science, Research”

During an artist residency at Virginia Tech in 2012, Healing Wars creator and director Liz Lerman engaged with faculty, students, and community members, including researchers at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute.

Liz Lerman and Dr. Michael J. Friedlander (Executive Director, Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute) joined together this time to hold a conversation, “At the Crossroads: Art, Science, Research”

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015, 7:30pm
Moss Arts Center, Cube, on the Virginia Tech Campus

Virginia Tech Institute for Policy and Governance
Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech

Dr. Tay Keong Tan – November 17th

tayOn Monday, November 17, Community Voices presents Dr. Tay Keong Tan on “Promoting Integrity in Bhutan and Lessons for Governance in Nonprofits in the New River Valley.” His talk will take place at 7:00pm in Fralin Auditorium. Admission is free!Tay Keong Tan is a Fellow at the Institute for Policy and Governance at Virginia Tech and a volunteer with local community organizations. He also teaches international studies and political science at Radford University. For more than a decade, Tay Keong worked an independent consultant specializing in governance, anti-corruption, ethics, risk assessment, and public management. In 2012 and 2013, he led teams for World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and Partnership for Transparency Fund in various field assignments in Bhutan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Mongolia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, and the Philippines. While working on an Asian Development Bank Project to fight corruption in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan in 2012/2013, Tay Keong Tan helped the small, reclusive nation put in place systems to strengthen integrity and governance.

For additional information concerning this event or Community Voices, please contact Andy Morikawa with the Virginia Tech Institute for Policy and Governance at 540-231-6775.


Sponsor of the Community Voices Series is the Virginia Tech Institute for Policy and Governance.