Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Year of the Dragon

On behalf of Project Agent Orange, Welcome to the New Year, 2012!
Thank you for your continued support!

In the past 10 months, since the founding of the collective, we have made great strides in our goals to increase awareness about the legacy of Agent Orange, make connections in the nonprofit and social sectors, and use movement to communicate how war is inherited through generations.
However, many exciting milestones lie ahead for us in this coming year!

1. Project Agent Orange will host our first evening length Performance at Dixon Place on May 31, June 1, and June 2.

2. We will also exhibit our work at Movement Research, a prominent laboratory for the creation of new work in New York that has cultivated new movement since the 60s.

3. This week, I had the great honor of sitting down with Charles Bailey, Director of the Agent Orange Program in Vietnam for the Aspen Institute, formerly of the Ford Foundation, to discuss the ways in which Project Agent Orange could help support the overall binational goals of environmental clean up, advocacy and awareness, and humanitarian support for those affected by Agent Orange in Vietnam and the U.S. Together, with the help of his extern Julia Karpati of Swarthmore College, we are drafting plans for a Hands-On Summit to motivate individuals to turn sympathy into empathy into action. While the conference at UC Berkeley followed the model of an academic lecture and panel discussion, we hope to invigorate a new community of young leaders through participatory workshops that engage not only the minds, but the bodies and hearts of those with a commitment to social change. Stay tuned for more! We will likely pilot a program that culminates in Project Agent Orange's show at Dixon Place.

4. I have also been applying for several different grants that will allow me to bring the work of Project Agent Orange (and hopefully some members of the collective) to Vietnam to use movement-based community devised theater techniques to create a performance with individuals who are affected by Agent Orange. The goal would be to perform this piece, that was developed by the performers themselves, across small rural towns and larger cities alike in order to shift the stigma associated with disability in Vietnam to a perspective that is instead constructed around the ideas of agency, individuality, and potential.

Thus, as we move into this next phase of Project Agent Orange, that is focused not only on the development of aesthetically innovative work but also the commitment to engaging with the social sphere, we hope you will continue to support us on our journey that has only just begun!

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