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Ellyn Toscano Presents Villa La Pietra’s ReSignifications Project in Palermo

Photo Palermo
On Stage from left Palermo Deputy Mayor for Culture Andrea Cusumano, University of Palermo Professor Alessandra Di Maio, Mayor of Palermo Leoluca Orlando, Nobel Prize winner Wole Soyinka, Ellyn Toscano and Awam Amkpa

Ellyn Toscano, NYU Florence Executive Director and Founder and Director of La Pietra Dialogues, participated in the colloquium Archipelago Nero with Nobel Prize winning writer Wole Soyinka and NYU Professor Awam Amkpa in Palermo over the weekend. As guests of the Mayor of Palermo and University of Palermo Professor Alessandra Di Maio, Toscano and Amkpa spoke about the ground breaking ‘ReSignifications: Imagining the Black Body and Re-Staging Histories‘ multi-media art exhibition and artistic dialogue, held in Florence at Villa La Pietra and The Bardini Museum in 2015.

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NYU Florence Poll Results

Last Thursday, November 10th 2016, Kennedy Hill and I polled some of the NYU Florence student body regarding the results of the 2016 Election. We received 54 responses, which is about a sixth of the entire student body. These results are not reflective of the entire student body sentiment at NYU Florence. Instead, they serve as a way to gauge the general themes of the NYU Florence student body’s political opinions.

Here are the questions we asked:

Did you vote?

Did you think Trump would win?

Are you satisfied with the election results (President, Senate, House)

Are there people in your political or personal sphere who accurately predicted the results?

Are you more pessimistic or optimistic about politics post election?

Are you more likely to be politically engaged post election?

Are you more likely to participate in protest post election?

Results are as follows:

55.6% voted in the General Election

37% didn’t vote in the General Election

7.4% not US citizens

87% of students did not think Trump would win.

88.9% of people are UNSATISFIED with the Presidential, House, and Senate results

59.3% did not have people in their personal or political sphere who predicted Trumps win .

61.1% are more pessimistic, 29.6% neither , 9.3% optimistic

74.1% likely to be more politically engaged

55.6% more likely to protest post election

What these results reflect is relatively unsurprising. We represent general trends of our generation, the millennial generation, as a whole. About half of eligible voters between the age of 18 and 32 (the approximate millennial age range) voted in the General Election. The overwhelming majority of students both myself and Kennedy have encountered over our three years at NYU are socially and politically left, including those studying here in Florence. We were overwhelmingly surprised by Trump’s victory, and feel generally unhappy with the results of the General Election. Again, this falls in line with overall millennial sentiment. If only millennials had voted in the election, Clinton would have won by a landslide. We are more pessimistic about politics than before the election, and yet are more likely to be politically active and engage in protest.

Millennials are the generation who will feel the effects of the policies of the Trump White House for decades to come. Prior to the election, we were a generation with record levels of political apathy.  It seems that this election may be the catalyst which inspires and Millennials.

Ai Weiwei. Libero: Introducing Art Activists Pato Hebert and Hentyle Yapp

Patrick “Pato” Hebert 

Pato Hebert
Pato Hebert discussing his work “Corpus” at the Munroe Center for Social Inquiry. Sarah MacDonell for the MCSI. Original Source.

Patrick “Pato” Hebert is a visual artist, advocate, and professor at the Art & Public Policy Department at NYU Tisch School of the Arts. He graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in Studio Art, going on to earn his M.F.A. in Studio Art from the University of California Irvine. His lifework is deeply focused on the significance of cultural plurality and advocacy projects. Heritage and roots are significant in his works, something Hebert explored during his time living in Panama. This influence can be understood through his art pieces, which have been presented in multiple galleries. He devotes time to youth education and empowerment. In the past, he participated as a teacher of creative writing and drawing at the Los Angeles Central Juvenile Hall. As an advocate, he dedicates his efforts to HIV/AIDS prevention and care in both large and small scale organizations. He now works as the Senior Education Provider for the Global Forum on MSM & HIV to ensure better health care and human rights for those affected. Hebert currently resides between New York City and Los Angeles.

 Hentyle Yapp

Hentyle Yapp performing a dance choreographed at the Oberin Dance Collective. Roel Q Seeber for ODC.
Hentyle Yapp performing a dance at the Oberin Dance Collective. Roel Q Seeber for ODC. Original Source.

Hentyle Yapp is an artist, academic, and professor at the Art & Policy Department at NYU Tisch School of the Arts. He attended Brown University, earning his B.A. in French Literature. He continued his studies at UCLA Law School to obtain a J.D. with a concentration in Critical Race Theory and Public Interest Law. He received his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in Performance Studies with a designated emphasis in Women, Gender, and Sexuality. Prior to joining the NYU community, he was a Mellon Chau Postdoctoral Fellow at Pomona College in Gender and Women’s Studies. Through his research he tries to better understand the methodological and theoretical associations of race, sexual identity, and disabilities and how these are treated by governments. He is currently focused on a unique project concerning modern China through a humanities lense. Yapp also continues to practice his art as a professional dancer, working as a choreographer.

Ruwwad: A Regional Initiative for Development and Community Empowerment

Fadi Ghandour, founder of the Ruwwad community center in Jordan, will be on the NYU Florence campus for a dialogue discussing the center as a source of community empowerment at 6 p.m. in Villa Sassetti on April 7. Ruwwad was founded in 2005 for the refugee community of East Amman and has multiple locations in the Middle East, helping different underprivileged communities. The non-profit offers resources such as job training programs and youth scholarships. Read more

R2X Guest Spotlight #8: Misan Sagay

Misan Sagay is a British screenwriter whose credits include the screenplay for the ABC television movie based up Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, starring Halle Berry, and the 2013 film Belle. Sagay’s work on Belle won her the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture.

Belle is a period drama inspired by a painting of Dido Elizabeth Belle, a woman who was born to a slave mother and British naval officer father, and raised by her grand-uncle William Murray, First Earl of Mansfield.

Read a Huffington Post article Sagay wrote about the process of bringing Belle to the screen:

Read a Q&A on the film with Sagay and The Riveter’s Kaylen Ralph:


#R2XNYU Guest Spotlight 7: Jason Gregory King

Jason King is currently an associate professor and academic director of the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music in New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Read King’s bio from the Tisch department webpage:

“Jason King is a cultural critic & journalist, musician (performer, vocal arranger, producer, musical supervisor), manager, strategist & consultant to artists and labels, and live event producer. Founding full-time faculty member of the department; served as interim chair in 2002; and associate chair from 2003-2006, and Artistic Director from 2006-2012. He teaches classes on: record producing, music entrepreneurship, branding, rock music, hip-hop, r&b, soul, jazz, Asian American and African American culture.

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