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Annotated Bibliography of Written Resources

  • Local Acts: Community Based Theatre in the United States by Jan Cohen Cruz, New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers UP, 2005.
Local Acts presents a long-overdue survey of community-based performance from its early roots, through its flourishing during the politically-turbulent 1960s, to present-day popular culture. Drawing on nine case studies, Jan Cohen-Cruz provides detailed descriptions of performances and processes, first-person stories, and analysis. The book concludes by exploring how community-based performance transcends even national boundaries, connecting the local United States with international theater and cultural movements.
  • Applied Theatre: Creating Transformative Encounters in the Community by Philip Taylor, NH: Heinemann, 2003.
Applied theatre is both a term and a movement that's gathering momentum. The movement springs from the desire to change or transform human behavior through the medium of theatre. In this book, Philip Taylor offers strategies for using theatre to raise awareness, propose alternatives, provide healing, and implement community change. As he demonstrates, applied theatre teaches us to teach others, helps communities deal with issues, and gives voice to the views of the silent and the marginal. In numerous examples, Taylor shows exactly how the theatrical art form is being harnessed to help communities question aspects of who they are and what they aspire to be.
  • Performing Communities by Robert H. Leonard and Ann Kilkelly, edited by Linda Frye Burnham, New Village Press, 2006.

Performing Communities is an inquiry into a genre of theater that arises from and empowers the grassroots. The book profiles established ensemble groups from inner-city Los Angeles, small-town northern California, African-American South, multicultural southern Texas, low-income central Appalachia, economically struggling South Bronx New York, and cross-continental Native America.

  • Undoing the Silence: Six Tools for Social Change Writing by Louis Dunlap, New Village Press, 2007.

This comprehensive and engaging training book helps both amateurs and professionals influence democratic process through letters, articles, proposals, and more. It's a "You-can-do-it" approach combined with strategies to articulate personal vision and frame messages that are truly heard.  Healing as much as teaching, the author uncovers the culture of silence-how gender, race, education, class, and family values work to quiet dissent.

  • Arts for Change: Teaching Outside the Frame by Barbara Naidus, New Village Press, 2009.

A provocative, personal look at the motivations and challenges of teaching socially engaged arts, Arts for Change overturns conventional arts pedagogy with an activist's passion for creating art that matters.  How can polarized groups work together to solve social and environmental problems? How can art be used to raise consciousness? Using candid examination of her own university teaching career as well as broader social and historical perspectives, Beverly Naidus answers these questions, guiding the reader through a progression of steps to help students observe the world around them and craft artistic responses to what they see. Interviews with over 30 arts education colleagues provide additional strategies for successfully engaging students in what, to them, is most meaningful.

  • New Creative Community: The Art of Cultural Development by Arlene Goldbard, New Village Press, 2006.

An inspiring, foundational book that defines the burgeoning field of community cultural development. Through personal stories, rousing accounts, detailed observation and histories, Arlene Goldbard describes how communities express and develop themselves via the creative arts. This comprehensive, photographically-illustrated book, which covers community-based arts such as theater grounded in oral history and murals celebrating cultural heritage, will appeal to the curious non-specialist reader as well as the practitioner and student.

  • Random Acts of Culture: Reclaiming Art and Community in the 21st Century by Clarke Mackey, Between the Lines, Toronto, 2010.

Clark Mackey does for culture what Michael Pollan did for food in The Omnivore's Dilemma. A passive diet of over-processed, pre-packaged culture dulls the mind and depletes the soul. Mackey suggests that we grow our own culture that's local, original and relevant.

  • Works of Heart: Building Village Through the Arts edited by Lynne Elizabeth and Suzanne Young, 2006, New Village Press.

This full-color celebration of communities engaged in creative cultural expression profiles nine exemplary grassroots arts projects depicting an intersection of creativity with love of place. Stories range from children building an African-inspired mud facade on their Oregon middle school to an annual blessing-procession and festival in North Philadelphia that brings to life dozens of the most depressed blocks in urban America. Other regions represented include Minneapolis, Boston, Berkeley, rural Maine, San Francisco, the New York Bronx, and Vancouver, Canada. Community-based arts resources are sited throughout.

  • Beginner's Guide to Community-based Arts, edited by Keith Knight, Mat Schwarzman, and others, New Village Press, 2006.

Ten transformative local arts projects come alive in this comics-illustrated training manual for youth leaders and teachers. This energetic guidebook demonstrates the enormous power of art in grassroots social change. It presents proven models of community-based arts programs, plus techniques, discussion questions, and plentiful resources.

  • Writings on the Healing Walls published by the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, Jane Golden, Director.
  • Philadelphia Murals, edited by Jane Golden, Robin Rice, and Monica Yant Kinney, Temple University Press, 2002.
  • More Philadelphia Murals, edited by Jane Golden, Robin Rice, and Natalie Pompilio, Temple University Press, 2006.

In June 1984, Jane Golden, a young muralist from Margate, New Jersey, headed up a project that was originally planned as a six-week youth program in the fledgling Philadelphia Anti-Graffiti Network. This small exercise in fighting graffiti grew into the most vibrant public art project in the United States. Led by Golden and dozens of artists, neighborhood residents, and volunteers, the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program has adorned the city with over two thousand murals. In the process, this vibrant art, painted mostly on city walls, helped to change the look of the city, creating an enduring legacy in all of the neighborhoods in which the murals were added. In this lavishly illustrated chronicle of the Mural Arts Program, you will see the murals in all of their beauty and learn about their inspiring legacies in neighborhoods throughout the city. You will go behind the scenes to find out how murals are made and why the process is as much an art of diplomacy and consensus building as paint and perspective. You will discover through pictures and text how murals give communities a new way to define themselves, not in terms of the streets and intersections that border them, but in terms of the people who came together to create something of dramatic beauty.

  • Dance, Human Rights, and Social Justice: Dignity in Motion, edited by Naomi Jackson and Toni Shapiro-Phim, Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2008.

This contributed volume is a collection of international writings on dance, human rights, and social justice in the 20th and 21st centuries. The book illuminates and analyzes dance in contexts of oppression and its subversion, as well as in situations promoting access to dance, and those encouraging healing from human rights abuses through movement.

  • Ethical Ambition: Living a Life of Meaning and Worth, Derrick Bell, Bloomsbury, N.Y., 2002.

As one of America's most influential law professors, Derrick Bell has spent a lifetime helping students struggling to maintain a sense of integrity in the face of an overwhelming pressure to succeed at any price. The result of a meditation on Bell's own achievements, Ethical Ambition is a deeply affecting, uplifting, and thoughtful work that not only challenges us to face some of the most difficult questions that life presents, but also dares to offer solutions.

  • Nurturing the Peacemakers in Our Students: A guide to Writing and Speaking Out About Issues of War and Peace, Chris Weber, Heinemann, 2006.

Chris Weber, as well as a wonderful cast of contributors, including Peter Elbow, Bill Bigelow, and Jim Burke, demonstrate that through reading, discussing, and writing about narratives of children who have experienced war, students make connections between what they see, hear, and read through the media about military conflicts and their horrible human consequences. This critical examination of war then inspires subsequent opportunities for students to use their literacy skills to communicate with others dedicated to ending global violence. In fact Nurturing the Peacemakers in Our Students offers lists of online organizations and projects where kids can become part of a national, international, even global community of peacemakers.

  • Talkin'Bout a Revolution: Music and Social Change in America by Dick Weissman, Backbeat Books, New York, 2010.

Talkin' 'Bout a Revolution is a comprehensive guide to the relationship between American music and politics. Music expert Dick Weissman opens with the dawn of American history, then moves to the book's key focus: 20th-century music - songs by and about Native Americans, African-Americans, women, Spanish-speaking groups, and more. Unprecedented in its approach, the book offers a multidisciplinary discussion that is broad and diverse, and illuminates how social events impact music as well as how music impacts social events.