Uncertainty in Practice: A Healing Workshop for Overdisciplined Educators
Facilitators: Miriam Atkin, Robert Kocik, Melanie Maar

Sunday, April 23, 2017
Hosted by Wendy’s Subway

The departmentalization of intellectual work is a force in place to legislate certainty: if one can “master” the data set and skills required by a particular discipline, one is insured against the shame of unknowing. In fact, schools seem to exist for the very purpose of punishing uncertainty with aims to exterminate it. But the anxiety in treading new ground and questioning one’s center is not only a prevalent experience for teachers to have, but a necessary and transformative one. How can we re-think uncertainty as a decisive emotional stance and pedagogical approach? How might interdisciplinarity help to welcome this?

This workshop was cofacilitated by teachers in different fields who led group activities which investigated various forms of knowledge transmission. Attendees participated both as students poised to receive new information and as pedagogues reflecting upon how knowledge was being presented to them and what it took to accept it.

Questions we thought through as a group:  what were the methods employed by each instructor for opening up the mindbody to new information? what did it feel like to grapple with the ideas/practices presented? Any particular moments of resistance? Did they resolve?

Robert Kocikis a poet, architect and economic-justice activist who studied poetics at the New College in San Francisco and engineering at the Ecole Polytechnique IBOIS in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Melanie Maar is a New York-based dancer, choreographer, and teacher originally from Vienna, who has been a faculty member of Movement Research since 2014, where she has taught workshops and classes for professional performers, seniors, and others.




Poetics and Higher Ed Justice: The Role of Writers in the Struggle for a Freer University

Panelists: Makeba Lavan, Conor Tomás Reed, Zohra Saed, Meghann Williams; Moderated by Miriam Atkin

Friday, May 5, 2017
Hosted by Wendy’s Subway

For this round table discussion, CUNY writers and teachers spoke about the history of poets’ involvement in mobilizing locally for higher ed access and equality, as well as visualized how writers and artists today can help in shaping the culture of our public institutions to better address issues of economic, racial/ethnic and intellectual exclusion.  

Makeba Lavan is an instructor at Lehman College and a doctoral student in the Department of English at the Graduate Center, CUNY, where her research focuses on (African) American Studies, Speculative Fiction and Popular Culture.

Conor Tomás Reed is an archivist, doctoral student, educator, and organizer at the City University of New York, and a co-founding participant in the Free University of New York City.

Zohra Saed is a Brooklyn-based Afghan American poet who works as an Assistant Professor in Literature at Bard High School Early College, Queens.

Meghann Williams is a poet and an instructor of creative writing at Hunter College, where she is also the Graduate Student Association president.