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SPEAC Session 2

Age Group: 

Supporting the Processing of Experiences through the Arts during Crisis (SPEAC Professional Development Program for Arts Educators)

The Eliot School for Fine and Applied Arts, Open Door Arts, and Wheelock Family Theatre are partnering to support teaching artists through a summer intensive professional development series called Supporting the Processing of Experiences through the Arts during Crisis (SPEAC) that specifically caters to the current needs of K-12 students and teachers in the Boston and Springfield areas.

SPEAC is a summer intensive designed to prepare teaching artists to guide students through online and in-person arts education that effectively supports students to process and express their lived experiences due to the current health crisis, ongoing racial injustice, and the racial awakening and opposition in society, therefore working toward personal and community transformation.

Session 2:

Tuesday, September 14, 2021 - Part 1 (7:00 - 8:30 pm) 
Wednesday, September 15, 2021 - Group Discussion (7:00 - 8:30 pm) 
Tuesday, September 21, 2021 - Part 2 (7:00 - 8:30 pm) 
Wednesday, September 22, 2021 - Group Discussion (7:00 - 8:30 pm) 
Tuesday, September 28, 2021 - Part 3 (7:00 - 8:30 pm) 
Wednesday, September 29, 2021 - Group Discussion (7:00 - 8:30 pm) 
Tuesday, October 5, 2021 - Part 4 (7:00 - 8:30 pm) 
Wednesday, October 6, 2021 - Group Discussion (7:00 - 8:30 pm) 
Tuesday, October 12, 2021 - Part 5 (7:00 - 8:30 pm) 
Wednesday, October 13, 2021 - Group Discussion (7:00 - 8:30 pm) 

**Participants are expected to attend all 5 Parts as well all 5 discussions groups. There will be 30-60 minutes of pre-work (articles, videos, and/or audio) given 1 week prior.  

About Each Part & Presenters

Part 1: Susan Naimark and Dr. Keisha Green will explore the history of education in Boston and Springfield through the lens of race and trauma. By understanding this history, we can better understand and address the systemic challenges and bias that continue to occur in the virtual or in-person classroom.

Part 2: Open Door Arts will guide us through creating an inclusive space for students with disabilities. By understanding the needs of our young people we can better provide a space for all to create.

Part 3: Dr. Keneisha Sinclair-McBride and Dr. Rose Ashraf will focus on understanding the current needs of our students. The drastic changes that have taken place in their learning environments due to COVID-19, disability discrimination, racial injustices, and the subsequent national social justice awakening have resulted in prolonged isolation, grief, loss, frustration, and fear for many of our students. We will explore Trauma-informed approaches to better understand and meet the social and emotional needs of our students in person and online.

Part 4: Tanya Nixon-Silberg and Zahirah Nur Truth will cover how to specifically use the arts to process the experiences of prolonged isolation, loss, fear, and racial injustice in classrooms, community spaces and after school programs, as well as how to be an ally and co-conspirator for our students living these experiences.

Part 5: Zahirah Nur Truth and Corey DePina will demonstrate how the different art modalities can put the prior teachings into practice by guiding us through inclusive and accessible abbreviated lessons in visual and performing arts

We do understand that life has unexpected changes so please reach out with any questions to Jennifer Turpin at:

SPEAC is generously supported by Community Music School of Springfield, BPS Arts Expansion Fund* and the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture. 

*Funded in part by the Boston Public Schools (BPS) Arts Expansion, a multi-year effort focused on access, equity and quality arts learning for BPS students. The BPS Arts Expansion Fund, managed by EdVestors, is generously supported by the Barr Foundation, The Boston Foundation, Katie and Paul Buttenwieser, Klarman Family Foundation, Linde Family Foundation and other individuals. BPS Arts Expansion is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Susan Naimark


Susan Naimark is an independent consultant and trainer who integrates decades of experience in nonprofit community development, public education organizing, and racial justice education. Her work supports racial equity capacity building for community-based organizations, nonprofits, schools, and public agencies. She served eight years on the Boston School Committee, authored The Education of a White Parent: Wrestling with Race and Opportunity in the Boston Public Schools, teaches part-time at UMass Boston, and is an affiliate consultant with Interaction Institute for Social Change. Susan believes we will never create truly just and equitable communities without addressing the deep legacy of racism in the United States. Susan Naimark is a committed presenter, focused on history of education and implicit bias.  

Susan will present on the history of race in education and bias, and offer office hours for the SPEAC Professional Development Series.

“I’ve spent a lifetime exploring how to promote racial equity, cultural proficiency and community building across diversity. I train and assist parents, educators, grassroots leaders, nonprofit and public agencies to strengthen their communities by honing these skills.” – Susan Naimark

Racial Justice and Public School Organizing

Keneisha Sinclair-McBride

Boston Children's Hospital logo

Dr. Keneisha Sinclair-McBride is an attending psychologist at Boston Children’s Hospital. She is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School and an Associate Training Director of the BCH Psychology Internship. She conducts research on depression and anxiety in youth with a special focus on integrated behavioral healthcare within primary care settings. The overarching goal of her work is to increase access to high quality behavioral healthcare for BIPOC youth. Dr. Sinclair-McBride’s work is published in a variety of academic journals and textbooks. She speaks throughout the country on behavioral healthcare topics and provides trainings on evidenced-based behavioral healthcare delivery. Dr. Sinclair-McBride is a committed presenter, focused on child development and meeting the social and emotional needs of children.  

Dr. Sinclair-McBride will present on social emotional learning and trauma, and offer office hours during the SPEAC Professional Development Series. 


Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Tanya Nixon-Silberg

Little Uprisings Logo

Tanya Nixon-Silberg is a Black mother, artist, educator, facilitator, and founder of Little Uprisings, a collaborative and liberative racial justice project for kids and their caregivers. LU endeavors to build long lasting, sustainable, and deep relationships with schools and educators, create programming that centers itself in joy and play, affirm our children of color and make accomplices out of white children, and partner with community spaces and existing organizations to bring racial justice work to their forefront. You mostly find Tanya playing, radicalizing and learning from her 8 year old daughter, Myla, puppeteering and dreaming up fun ways to engage children in racial justice and radically imaging how we all get free together.  

Tanya will present on anti-racist teaching and decolonizing the curriculum, and offer office hours during our SPEAC Professional Development Series. 

Anti-Racist Teaching and Decolonizing the Curriculum

Zahirah Nur Truth

Zahirah Nur Truth

Zahirah Nur Truth is a name in a combination of Arabic and English, which loosely translates into one who manifests and shines the light of truth. Zahirah's truth is art and all of it. She drew and painted constantly as a young girl, and found her true love of the arts after taking on the journey of motherhood. There something was sparked in her and she began painting and claiming her throne as an artist. She is currently in the process of completing her Undergraduate Degree with close attention to Arts Education and Performance at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University.

Zahirah makes illustrations, paintings, clothing and jewelry inspired by her African heritage. She is also a performance artist and has performed side by side with the renowned Tim Miller and Pat Olsezko. In recent years she has had the opportunity to perform at the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, portraying Alma Stone Williams from Black Mountain College.

She is also an early childhood educator with over 10 years in the field. When she's not painting, she is a self proclaimed vegan chef. She gains insight, joy, wisdom and laughter from her two darling boys who are art creations in their own right.

Early childhood education; painting, drawing, illustration, clothing and jewelry design
Materials to bring to class:

No materials needed.