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April 1, 2016 | Theatre,

Public Dialogues Series: Curation and the Politics of Listening

TUE, APR 5 @ 7PM

Curation and the Politics of Listening

How do we choose what art an audience gets to see? How do we know what they will like, what we like, what will entertain and provoke, and what will sell tickets? How is our curatorial practice a reflection of our own identities and the identities of the audiences we imagine? Finally, how much of curatorial expertise comes from knowing and how much from listening to the communities we represent? Join us for a conversation exploring how a process of listening becomes the bedrock for programming the live experiences that gather us.
Moderated by:

Abe’s main work is uniting artists, neighbors, community groups and local businesses to collaborate on OUT performance work in the Boston neighborhoods of Roxbury, Dorchester, Jamaica Plain and the South End. Programs Abe founded include True Colors: Out Youth Theater; A Street Theater Named Desire; an AIDS-activist guerrilla theater troupe performing in gay cruising areas; Come As You Are, a national performance series to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising; the band Adult Children of Heterosexuals, for which he was lead singer; and the OUT on the Edge Queer Theater Festival. Collaborating across cultures and generations to create performance work is Abe’s favorite part of his job. He won the 2007 Jonathan Larson Award for musical theater for his collaboration on the book of True Colors alumna Melissa Li’s Surviving the Nian. Abe was declared one of the “Heeb 100” progressive Jewish world cultural leaders. He is proud to have received several awards from his peers in the community.


Establishing Director of the annual Boston Asian American Film Festival (BAAFF) — now in it’s seventh season, Managing Director of the Chinese Historical Society of New England (CHSNE), public media optimist and mother to two young and adorable children.


Upon completing a two-year fellowship at MIT, Malia Lazu joined Future Boston with over two decades of experience establishing grass roots involvement in political advocacy and civic engagement.

Malia took over as Executive Director in November 2011 where she serves as chief operations officer of Future Boston, credited for taking Future Boston from concept into reality. As Executive Director, Malia is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the organization’s strategic planning, program development, fundraising, and reporting to the Board of Directors.

The passion and success of Malia’s work has earned her a reputation as one of the most insightful and critical organizers of her generation, and caught the attention of MTV, Showtime, ABC-TV’s Chronicle, Fox News, and print publications such as Newsweek, The Boston Globe, and Boston Magazine.
In addition to her extensive work advocating for our youth, Malia has managed campaigns for numerous tastemakers including Grammy Award-winner and famed Civil-Rights Activist Harry Belafonte, American novelist Walter Mosley, and Peter Lewis, philanthropist and Democratic Party donor.

David Dower is the Director of Artistic Programs at ArtsEmerson and is obsessed with the #newplay infrastructure for the American Theater. Before joining ArtsEmerson in the spring of 2012, David Dower spent six seasons as Associate Artistic Director at Arena Stage where he directed the Artistic Development Team and founded the American Voices New Play Institute (AVNPI), the precursor to HowlRound: A Center for the Theater Commons now located at Emerson College. He served as the Artistic Producer on Arena’s offerings from 2007-2011, including the Tony/Pulitzer winning Next to Normal. Prior to joining Arena he was the founding Artistic Director of the Z Space and a founder of its predecessor, the producing ensemble The Z Collective, both in San Francisco. He has directed plays around the country, including at Arena Stage, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Seattle’s Intiman, and dozens of world premiere productions in the Bay Area.

Polly Carl is the Co-Artistic Director of ArtsEmerson where he programs an annual season of international work for the downtown theaters of Emerson College. He develops, dramaturgs, and presents an eclectic array of theater from diverse artists from around the globe. Operating from the core belief that theater is for everyone, Carl seeks to use the power of live performance in concert with opportunities for public dialogue to foster civic transformation through the shared experience of art. Carl is also the Director and co-founder of HowlRound, a knowledge commons by and for the theater community. HowlRound is an online platform as well as an in-person convener of theater practitioners that explores key issues in the field and extends an open invitation for international participation. He previously worked as the Producing Artistic Director at the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis, and as the Director of Artistic Development for Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago. He holds a PhD in Comparative Studies in Discourse and Society from the University of Minnesota and works as an advocate for transgender rights and representation in the arts.