Student Forums
A journal of social practice & professional engagement for the Antioch community

Faculty Spotlight: Luisa Bieri Performs at the Inaugural Conference on Community Theater for Social Justice Action

Luisa Bieri, a Cooperative Education faculty member, performed and presented at the Inaugural Conference on Community Theater for Social Justice Action on April 27-28, 2018. The event was organized by a group of young POC activists who transformed their campus activism in South Bend, Indiana into a non-profit, InterAction Inc. Their mission “is to activate and advance young people of color and their counter-narratives to build a more just, inclusive, and equitable society” (

At the conference, Luisa met keynote speaker Ntozake Shange, renowned playwright and poet, whose groundbreaking Obie Award-winning play, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf (1976), elevated black women’s voices. Here, Luisa is pictured with Shange and her newest work, a bilingual Spanish/English book of poetry, Wild Beauty.

Luisa presented her new work, a solo performance, called Rites. The piece uncovers the story of her great-great-grandmother, who was institutionalized in the Athens state mental hospital from 1899 until her death 50 years later. Following the performance, Luisa discussed her creative practice to explore methods of performance that address trauma and engage in a process towards inter-generational healing. She will be performing Rites at The Foundry Theater on May 30, 2018, in collaboration with the States of Incarceration exhibit at Antioch College.

During the conference all attendees participated in strategy sessions on “Uprooting Anti-Blackness and Racism” led by InterAction. In partnership with the Civil Rights Heritage CenterIndiana University South Bend Women’s and Gender Studies, and Notre Dame’s Show Some Skin, the conference aimed “to create a space for deep strategizing among experts – community theater-makers, radically inclusive theater-makers in traditional theaters, community organizers, artist activists, and others” (

By all accounts, the conference met and exceeded its goals,” says Luisa. “It was a privilege and honor to present my work amongst such inspiring arts activists, who are organizing in the trenches of their communities to envision and create change. As a white woman, I was inspired by InterAction’s bold and effective anti-racism work and look forward to bringing some of what I learned back to Antioch.”

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As a student at Antioch College not only am I immersed in superb rigorous work, but I am also thrown out of the coop and into the co-op world where I am expected to make my own temporary coop then return to the coop I was kicked out of to apply my experience to my education to foster tools for my future permanent coop. As of today, I am working two jobs for the first time which has proved to somehow be more tiring than working the same amount of hours at one job. This experience however, humbles me as well as tests my leadership abilities in the workplace. In regards to my first two weeks of co op I feel reminded of how testing capabilities is necessary for growth in many cases as well as a positive attitude. Progress is relative, and having a flexible agenda allows you to restructure your time in ways that leads to better work, and more enthusiastic productivity. And as I test my leadership skills in the workplace it is evident that giving myself this same flexibility to work on myself is strategic since I can allow myself more time to really focus on one part of me that needs more love than other parts of me that may not be ready for that kind of over whelming experience. While all of my skills in both of my workplaces are really mediocre I feel like these revelations of time and energy are both key elements in making my work move from mediocre to great. As well as the enthusiasm of my employers, and their willingness to not only answer my questions but teach me the ways of their profession.

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