Conflict mediator and performing artist Dana Caspersen will perform "Like This", commissioned specifically for Lyndon’s Year of Social Justice.

“Like This” Examines Structural Violence

March 2, 2015

Conflict mediator and performing artist Dana Caspersen collaborated with Lyndon students and community members to create an interactive performance, “Like This,” to analyze and experience the properties and pressures of “structural violence.” The “choreographic public event” will be performed Wednesday, March 11 at 6 p.m. in the Stannard Gymnasium at Lyndon State College. This project, sponsored by Lyndon FAIR, Lyndon’s Cultural Festival, and Catamount Arts, was commissioned specifically for Lyndon’s Year of Social Justice. It is free and open to the public.

Structural violence is one way of describing social arrangements that put individuals and populations in harm’s way. The arrangements are structural because they are embedded in the political and economic organization of our social world; they are violent because they cause injury to people. Neither culture nor pure individual will is at fault. Structural violence is visited upon all those whose social status denies them access to the fruits of scientific and social progress.

To choreograph is to organize ideas physically. According to Caspersen, “Choreographic public dialogues are models that use simple, physical motion as a way for people to communicate about their beliefs and experience. There is no dancing and no physical skill required. Instead, the projects offer a series of highly structured communicative situations, where participants use motion and language to consider questions and unfold stories around topics. These choreographic situations create a ground for curiosity and exchange and render the collective thinking of the group visible and accessible by giving it physical presence. They offer an opportunity to look at where we stand in relationship to each other around difficult topics, to consider how we got there, and to think about where we would like to go.”

Lyndon President Joe Bertolino designated this as the College’s Year of Social Justice. During this year, academic departments, students groups, and campus events and activities, will focus on topics related to diversity and social justice.

Upcoming events include a March 19 evening performance by Bertolino and his partner Bil Leipold of “When the Gays Move into Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood,” where the couple explores the realities and human dimensions of living in a world of heterosexual privilege. March 26 is the opening reception in the Quimby Gallery for Scott Bakal’s “Illustrations” exhibition which has a social justice focus. A panel discussion will be held on March 31 to examine the “Media and Social Justice.” Guest panelists include VPR’s Charlotte Albright; VTDigger.org founder Anne Galloway; Marketing and Communications Director at Vermont Works for Women, Marybeth Redmond; and WCAX weekend anchor Adam Sullivan.

These events are free and open to the public. Complete information can be found at LyndonState.edu/SocialJustice.

Lyndon’s Lecture and Arts Series is sponsored by Hayes Ford; Vermont Broadcast Associates is the media sponsor. Lyndon State College’s Lecture and Arts Series is made possible in part by the Harriet M. Sherman Lecture Fund.

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