PERFORMING OUR FUTURE (POF) is a national arts-based initiative on community and economic development – please see the press release at POF is a collaboration among Appalshop and its Roadside Theater, Lafayette College’s Economic Empowerment and Global Learning Project (EEGLP), and Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life (IA). Three initiatives under the banner of POF are currently taking shape for 2016 and 2017: POF FORUM; POF INSTITUTE; and POF RESEARCH.

POF FORUM In 2016 and 2017, the POF Forum will seed dialogue and collaboration around Appalshop’s development of a culture hub in eastern Kentucky. Through the Forum, we seek to make the project’s learning accessible to other performing artists and performing arts organizations nationally.

Fifteen leaders representing the following perspectives will be invited to join the Forum: Performing Artists & Leaders of Performing Arts Organizations; Arts Presenters; Scholars & Community Development Practitioners; and Foundation Officers & Elected Officials.

Diversity will be considered in terms of geography (balancing those in Appalachia and across the country); age (including new leaders); organization types (both flagship cultural institutions and younger organizations, land-grant universities and community colleges, and community development institutions); individuals working at the intersection of fields and disciplines (for example, someone drawing on the arts to develop public health policy); and leaders from key networks (e.g., TCG, AOTR/RUPRI, APAP, ATHE, NALAC). There is a lot going on locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally regarding the role of culture in development; the Forum process will be intentional about finding opportunities for synergy and movement-building among the myriad initiatives presently underway.

The Forum will generate and share new knowledge.

How are performing artists and performing arts organizations:

  • helping communities tap their rich cultural assets for economic and civic development?
  • sparking and developing entrepreneurship to make such work viable?
  • collaborating with colleges in mutually beneficial ways? 
  • contributing to field-wide discourse about the role of arts in community development and democracy?

Forum members will probe their own experience and the Appalshop culture hub model to define the pressing issues and describe the innovations most relevant to each of these questions. 

Forum members will have special access to: 

  • Unpublished materials (written and in various media) about the Appalshop culture hub;
  • Discussions with project leaders virtually via video calls, and in eastern Kentucky in conjunction with public performances, community gatherings, and events that are related to the culture hub;
  • Opportunities for creating and publishing new materials about the culture hub.

The Forum draws on the successful BETSY! Circle of Scholars ( created to seed collaboration and dialogue around the recent Roadside/Pregones off-Broadway musical

Cite This

“Performing Our Future: FORUM.” October 1, 2019.

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