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Southwest, VA, USA

Virginia Tech Institute for Creativity, Arts & Technology (ICAT) 

Todd Schenk, Bob Leonard and Diksha Pilania

Fall 2020 - present

- Work Plan & Timeline Development
- Workshop Design & Facilitation
- Partnership Development
- Audience Engagement

Conversation Cubed

Since Fall 2020, I have collaborated with policy scholar Dr. Todd Schenk, theater directors Bob Leonard and Taylor Wood, and designer Diksha Pilania to develop tools for skill-building in effective communication. Our goal is to integrate the arts, technology, and social sciences to: develop a new suite of tools that foster civic discourse, utilizing new technologies and approaches derived from the performing arts; test these new approaches with people across Virginia’s New River Valley; assess the efficacy of the approaches; and broadly disseminate tools and approaches found to be useful.

We believe that good conversations are multidimensional in nature. Conversation Cubed, one result of our research, is an experiential event that develops skills for dialogue and conflict engagement. Part one of the event explores the use of data, our relationship with power, and the importance of emotions, intuition, and lived experience in dialogue through arts-based exercises. Part two features a series of three structured dialogues on a variety of topics that matter to the given audience. A panelist of subject experts interrupt the conversations to suggest new approaches. The panel also invites audience members to intervene using techniques explored in part one.

Conversation Cubed was made possible in part by a grant from Virginia Tech’s Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology. The event builds upon team-led workshops and research conducted to develop a digital theater experiment, an adaptation of The Race 2020by Sojourn Theatre. Watch an “ICAT Playdate” with team members where we share an early concept for Conversation Cubed here.