Kenneth Bailey started the Design Studio for Social Intervention (ds4si) in 2007 thanks to the support of Stone Circles Fellows and MIT Department of Urban Planning Community Fellows Program. Since its inception, ds4si has helped frame the need for design thinking and artistic research and development within the social justice sector. Ds4si currently works with large coalitions of social justice organizations like Praxis Project’s Communities Creating Healthy Environments (CCHE) and Project South’s Southern Movement Alliance which a cohort of organizing groups in the south. The most recent publication Kenneth participated in producing for ds4si is Spatial Justice: A Frame for Reclaiming our Rights To Be, Thrive Express and Connect. Prior to starting ds4si, Kenneth worked at Third Sector New England developing and testing knowledge management processes. While at Third Sector New England, he published Brave Leadership and Organizational Conflict.
Rev. Michael Ellick is currently the Minister of the First Congregational Church of Portland. Raised in a Conservative Baptist church in Washington State, Ellick studied Comparative Religion and Philosophy at the University of Washington before earning his M.Div. at Union Theological Seminary in the year 2000. There he grew frustrated with contemporary theological thinking, and looking for new ways to understand the Gospel, and real world practices for embodying it, he studied closely under a Tibetan Buddhist teacher for the next seven years. Over the course of his life, he has also worked as a courier, a fast-food cook, a fact-checker, a fresh juice delivery person, a copy-editor, an event planner, a barista, a financial analyst, an internet help desk, a community organizer, and even as an assistant at a Marine Biology lab. Ellick was ordained for Ministry in 2008, and so far has held on to the job.
An activist, author and performer, Bogad is a 20-year veteran of guerrilla theatre and performance art and has collaborated with some of the field’s most respected artists and activists. Currently a theatre professor at the University of California at Davis, he has worked extensively with other US universities and leads Tactical Performance workshops with activists involved in revolutionary projects, most recently in Cairo, Reykjavik, and Buenos Aires. A successful playwright, Bogad also writes widely for activist and academic journals, produced the documentary Radical Ridicule: Serious Play and the Republican National Convention, and is the author of the book, Electoral Guerrilla Theatre: Radical Ridicule and Social Movements. All his work has generated critical popular and academic discourse on the political potential of playful theatrics.
Andrew Boyd is an author, humorist and veteran of creative campaigns for social change. He led the decade-long satirical media campaign “Billionaires for Bush.” He co-founded Agit-Pop Communications, an award-winning “subvertising” agency, as well as the netroots social justice movement The Other 98%. He’s the author of three books: Beautiful Trouble, Daily Afflictions and Life’s Little Deconstruction Book. Unable to come up with with his own lifelong ambition, he’s been cribbing from Milan Kundera: “to unite the utmost seriousness of question with the utmost lightness of form.” You can find him at andrewboyd.com.
David Darts is Chair of the Department of Art and Art Professions and Director of the NYU Steinhardt MA in Studio Art Program in Berlin, Germany. His research focuses on the convergences between contemporary art and media, technology, education, and democracy. Darts’ writings have been published in a number of top scholarly journals and books. His PirateBox is a self-contained and mobile digital collaboration and file sharing system which has been featured in over 125 international online and print publications. Darts is also Curatorial Director of Conflux, the annual art and technology festival for the creative exploration of urban public space.
Beka is the co-founder and director of “Not An Alternative,” a Brooklyn-based non-profit organization whose mission aims to integrate art, activism, technology and theory in order to affect popular understandings of events, symbols and history. She operates No-Space, a multipurpose venue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn where free artist talks, workshops, panels, film screenings, and trainings occur. She is also the Senior Strategist and VP at Fission Strategy, a boutique consulting firm. She helps non-profits and foundations leverage social media for social good.
Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento’s is an artist, writer, teacher, and lawyer interested in the analysis of property and structures, in both tangible and intangible forms, through legal and cultural discourses and practices. He received his BA in Art from the University of Texas-El Paso, an MFA in Art from the California Institute of the Arts, and was a Van Lier Fellow at the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program in Studio Art in 1997. Under the auspice of a conceptual art project, he received his J.D. from Cornell Law School in 2006. Sarmiento founded the The Art & Law Program in 2010 and teaches contemporary art and law at Fordham Law School.
Keri Smith is a Canadian conceptual artist and author of several bestselling books and apps about creativity including Wreck This Journal (Penguin), This is Not a Book (Penguin), How to be an Explorer of the World -the Portable Life/Art Museum,(Penguin), Mess: A Manual of Accidents and Mistakes (Penguin), The Guerrilla Art Kit (Princeton Architectural Press), Finish This Book (Penguin), and The Pocket Scavenger (Penguin).
Chong Kim is a long time community organizing “artivist”, aspiring comic book artist, a fulltime dreamer and all around do-gooder who most people have come to know by his American name “John”. An adopted native of New York City, Chong is a graduate of the School of Visual Arts and an avid fan of CUNY’s Hunter College. He has helped to initiate social justice campaigns for public education, civic engagement and media justice campaigns. Chong can be best identified as part of an emerging group of progressives that employ what he terms “evolutionary cultural strategy” as a fundamental tenet of transformational organizing and progressive institution building. Chong’s most defining work is in developing Soul Survivors, a start-up whose mission is to develop sustainable ventures for working peoples. Soul Survivors’ first collaborative project “Hip-Hop Sustains” in 2007 has already set a national precedent by fusing Hip-Hop culture with eco-friendly culture. Soul Survivor’s new project in development is dubbed “Hero Academy”. The Hero Academy identifies everyday people who do extraordinary things and assists them in their development as community activists. In his personal time Chong has acquired a Masters Certificate for Vermi-Composting with the Lower Eastside Ecology Center for the purposes of researching urban permaculture. He is also developing a comic book universe and publishing company in order to help develop seminal mythologies for a new generation.
Linda Sarsour is a Palestinian-American community activist, born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. She is currently working as the Advocacy and Civic Engagement Coordinator for the National Network for Arab American Communities and ACCESS and locally serving as the Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York, a social service agency serving the Arab community in NYC. Sarsour was a 2005 COROS New American Leaders fellow, 2009 graduate of the American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute housed at USC, named Extraordinary Woman by Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes and received the 2010 Brooklyn Do-Gooder Award from the Brooklyn Community Foundation. Sarsour is also a board member of the New York Immigration Coalition, a coalition of over 250 nonprofit agencies serving the diverse immigrant communities of New York State. In the 2008 elections, Sarsour coordinated the largest and most successful get out the vote effort in the Arab American community in Brooklyn, with over 130 canvassers and 8000 doors knocked. She has been featured in local, national, and international media speaking on topics ranging from women’s issues, Islam, domestic policy and political discussions on the Middle East conflict.
On January 30, 2003 Aaron was pulled out of the University of Illinois and called to active duty with the 1244th Transportation Company Army National Guard out of North Riverside, Illinois. On April 17, 2003 his Company was deployed to Kuwait under Operation Iraqi Freedom. There he supported combat operations by transporting supplies from camps and ports in Kuwait to camps in Iraq. After three extensions, totaling one year, three months and seven days, Aaron’s Company was redeployed to home base in North Riverside Illinois on July 24, 2004. Aaron returned to the University of Illinois in the spring of 2005 as a student majoring in painting with the need to express and share his experiences with others and began to use art as a tool to confront issues of militarism and occupation. Aaron went on to receive an MFA in Art Theory and Practice from Northwestern University in 2009. Today Aaron is the Organizing Team Leader for Iraq Veterans Against the War where he has worked on such projects as Warrior Writers, Combat Paper, Drawing For Peace, Operation First Casualty, Winter Soldier, the Demilitarized University, the Field Organizing Program, and Operation Recovery.
Phineas Baxandall is an activist and former academic who has spent years thinking about how to explain denseeconomic and policy issues in accessible ways. He spent eight years as a teaching fellow in political economy and political philosophy at Harvard’s undergraduate honors program in Social Studies, and three years working at Harvard’s Kennedy School for the Taubman Center for State and Local Government, where he conducted research, translated others’ arcane academic studies into accessible research briefs, served on a government study of local aid, and worked with mayors to improve services for their constituents. Since 2006, Baxandall has directed advocacy programs on tax and budget issues and transportation for the national network of Public Interest Research Groups. His recent campaigns include: preventing companies that commit misdeeds from using their out-of-court settlements as a tax deduction, increasing transparency of public subsidies to corporations, closing loopholes that allow offshore tax dodges, and promoting investment in public transportation. Baxandall received his doctorate in Political Science from MIT.
Jacques Servin / Andy Bichlbaum is a co-founder of the Yes Men, a group that has accomplished numerous high-profile media interventions serving to highlight environmental, economic and social injustices and the systemic problems that lead to them. At the Hemispheric Institute, Jacques / Andy heads the Yes Lab, which helps students and others carry out media interventions.