Summary for 2013-2014

Summary for 2013-2014

The Creativity Commons expanded the programs and visibility of the work in the Commons throughout the year. Working with talented graduate assistant and intern Michael Donnor, we increased the visibility, accessibility and usage of the Commons throughout the year.  Gene and Martha met with the provost and various leaders within the four schools to explore course and program development and to craft various projects for faculty and students that met each school’s academic priorities.  In addition, the Commons hosted the following conversations, workshops, events, convenings and institutes with partners within the university, the community and across the nation

Workshops offered by the Creativity Commons

  • Writing Retreat for Lesley Doctoral Students in coordination with the Center for Academic Achievement
  • MFA Writing Workshop
  • Putnam Avenue Upper School Teachers Professional Development Workshops offered by Kyle, Gene and Martha (2 sessions)

Interdisciplinary Convenings 

  • Sidewalk Math: We Count, with Art Bardige
  • Planning for infusion of creativity and visual literacy across the undergraduate schools

Arts/Science Leadership 

  • Catalyst Conversation at MIT List Gallery on STEAM (Martha and Kyle)
  • Sidewalk Math: Program development, implementation, and assessment
  • Creative Catalyst Working Group with MIT scientists and community artists

Creative Conversations 

  • Art Bardige: The Invention of Knowledge Book Launch
  • Charru Sharma (Fulbright Scholar), Arts in Social Lives [with Global Center]
  • Tatiana Valina (Fulbright Scholar), State of Higher Education in Russia: Designing International Programs [with Global Center]
  • Lella Gandini, Understanding Lesleys Reggio Inspired Landscape
  • Ruth Nicole Brown Guest Lecture

Creative Conversations in Partnership

The Commons collaborated with the Institute for Arts and Health and the Global Center to host a series of conversations and presentations that built awareness of the role of the arts in opening pathways for understanding and communication between peoples.

  • Art and Music Therapy in Myanmar Presented by Elana Lakh
  • The Vienna Project Presented by Professor Karen Frostig
  • 16 Photographs At Ohrdruf  Presented by Professor Matthew Nash
  • Americans in Paris: Two Women and Two Worlds Presented by Professor Martha McKenna
  • The Unfinished Business of Truth and Reconciliation within South Africa
  • Cold Water: The Women of Lira, Uganda Presented by Professor Julia Byers
  • Afghan Voices, Afghan Stories Presented by Professor Louise Pascale and Qais Akbar Omar
  • OneWorld Classroms: Igniting Cross Cultural Understanding Through the Arts
  • Eesti CATS: Creative Aging Therapeutic Services of Estonia
  • The Witness Project Presented by Margaret Clemons
  • Afrocartography: Traces of Places and All Points In Between
  • Using Playback Theatre in Your Field
  • The Art of Peace Presented by Gene Diaz
  • These Stories are Burning a Hole in My Brain: Working with the Ethiopian Community in Nes Ziona, Israel Professor Vivien Marcow-Speiser

Hosted and Sponsored Events at the Commons 

  • Strauch-Mosse Visiting Artist Selection Committee
  • International Poetry Festival with Lesley faculty and students
  • Boston Public School District Early Childhood Department Meeting
  • Faculty Development in Middle School and High School
  • Planning meeting for November 2014 Ed Camp
  • On the Move: Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Planning for Transition
  • MFA Visual Arts Creative Dialogue
  • Danielle Georges, Discussions of Literary Translations
  • Counseling and Psychology Faculty Retreat
  • New adjunct faculty training
  • Ecological Teaching and Learning Theses Presentations
  • International Students Convening
  • VSAM (Very Special Arts Massachusetts) Planning Meeting
  • Kennedy-Longfellow Project Long-term Planning Meeting
  • Elementary Education Re-design
  • Chinese Teachers Luncheon
  • Early Childhood Education Adjunct Faculty Dinner
  • Green Academy Project
  • True Story Theater: Applications of playback theater in higher education
  • Art Education student portfolio presentations
  • eLIS Brown Bag luncheons


  • Symposium: Artful Stem in collaboration with Arts/Learning

Presentations at the Symposium by Martha and Gene


  • Cambridge Creativity Commons

A major focus of our work continued to be the academic and administrative oversight of the Cambridge Creativity Commons (CCC), where the ideas of the Commons came to life within the Cambridge Public Schools.  The success of the CCC in reaching large numbers of students and teachers in the Cambridge Public Schools both during the day and out-of-school time is a credit to careful planning and a gifted director, Lesley alum, Kyle Brown.  Our success in fundraising over the past two years has allowed us to offer the program free of charge to the children of East Cambridge, those who would be least able to access arts instruction outside without this program.

  • Sidewalk Math

Collaboration with Trustee Art Bardige and faculty and students in the arts,          sciences and education

  • Cambridge Public School District, School/Family Engagement Project


  • Diaz, G. (2013) Strategies for Integrating Arts and Science, Shell Education Publication.
  • McKenna, M. B.  (2013) “Teaching and Learning in Museums: Partnerships of Museum and School Educators.”  In Museum Education in the Perspective of Cultural Education.  Proceedings of the Yeongwol International Museum Forum, Korea, 2013.
  • Sidewalk Math HandFootbook in development for publication Summer 2014.


  • “STEAM in the Community At-large and the Creative Workplace.”  Panel for the symposium, A Big Conversation About STEAM, at MIT’s LIST Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, May 6, 2014. (Martha)
  • “Sidewalk Math: Developing Young Children’s Math Skills Through Sidewalk Play.” Presentation at the Community of Scholars Day, Cambridge, March 28th, 2014.  (Martha and Art Bardige)
  • “Americans in Paris: Mary Cassatt and Faith Ringgold.”  Lecture at the Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, MA, January 5, 2014.  (Martha)
  • “Americans in Paris: Two Women and Two Worlds.”  Lecture in the Global Arts Series at Lesley University, Cambridge, December 10, 2013.  (Martha)
  • “Creative Process as Pedagogy.”  Keynote presentation for the Korean Society for Culture and Arts Education Studies, October 19th, 2013 in Seoul, Korea.  (Martha)
  • “Creativity & Integrating the Arts into the Curriculum.”  Invited lecture at Kukmin University, in Seoul, Korea, October 17, 2013.  (Martha)

Working Partnerships

  • Joy2Learn Foundation:

Creative Process as Pedagogy online course

  • Massachusetts Cultural Council:

Access to the Arts for All in programming, facilities and education (with Very Special Arts Massachusetts)

Arts and Science Initiative

  • Arts Education Partnership:

Research Fellows

Higher Education Working Group

  • VSAM:

Access to All in the Arts (with MCC)

  • Arts/Learning:

Symposium for Educational Leaders in the Arts

  • Cambridge Community Foundation, Cambridge Public Schools and the Cambridge Arts Council:

Cambridge Creativity Commons

  • Boston Public Schools:

Arts Expansion Initiative