NET/TEN Shareback: Pangea World Theater & Carlton Turner - Workshop on Collaborative Politics

2015-16 Exchange Grant Recipient

Pangea World Theater (Minneapolis, MN) and Carlton Turner of M.U.G.A.B.E.E. (Utica, MS) explored Race: North and South on the Mississippi as part of an exchange that examined issues of race and its intersectionality between African Americans and immigrant communities in the Twin Cities and Jackson, Mississippi.


Dipankar Mukherjee and Meena Natarajan of Pangea World Theater and Carlton Turner of M.U.G.A.B.E.E. have been in residency in each other’s home communities in the Twin Cities, Minnesota and Jackson, Mississippi. They have also been in residence at the Asian Arts Initiative in Philadelphia. In each of these residencies, they facilitated story circle processes and workshops in order to find and perform stories that illuminate complexity, cultivate empathy and inform genuine community dialogue. Through this process, they are creating a performance called River Sols consisting of stories, movements and songs. River Sols will move a traditionally black/white binary conversation about race into a more nuanced reality addressing current demographic shifts and exploring how South Asians and African Americans differently experience racism in their lives.

As part of this process, they facilitated a workshop on Collaborative Politics in Philadelphia that brought together multiple communities of color. This shareback demonstrated some of the exercises that were part of this workshop for the community that then led to stories from the individuals.

-Pangea Theatre and Carlton Turner

Workshop on Collaborative Politics in Philadelphia, PA

At every point, an attempt is made to break hierarchies. There is active acknowledgement of privilege, patriarchy and race and class issues whenever appropriate.

1. Participants sit in a circle.

2. Two minutes of silence -  Every workshop (this is from Pangea) begins with two minutes of silence. This is a space for collective breath. It is a space that can mean whatever individuals bring to the table. It is a moment, a ritual in which participants cross the threshold and come to a space in which they become fully present.

3. Introduction of everyone in the circle.  Who, preferred pronoun and where they are from and why they are here?

4. Warm up – everyone leads.

5. Ice breaking activity: Participants walk in a circle. They acknowledge each other actively. If someone does not make eye contact, others jump up and down in front of them. Participants encouraged to smile, to look at each other in the eye, to acknowledge each other.

6. Ensemble exercise: Participants walk in a line slowly, standing next to each other, shoulder to shoulder. If the group is large, make two lines. They walk from one end of the room to the other, turn around in a synchronized way and walk back together. If the line is broken and participants are not in sync, they need to go back and start from the beginning till the goal of walking in a straight line is achieved. No leader should be evident. The group leads together.

7. Popcorn – what do you consider training and what methodology have you trained in or are most familiar with. What are your ways of knowing, learning, seeing and being?

8. Participants are divided into groups of 4. They are asked to discuss who they draw their artistic ancestry as a practitioner from? In community groups, they are encouraged to think of family stories, of teachers from their own culture, of personal story. The idea is to look at their culture and family as a source of strength and learning and to tease this out. What are other ways of knowing and being?

9. Creating a performance: Using this as a source, participants are encouraged to create a performance collectively. Again, they are encouraged to listen to all voices and make sure everyone’s voice is heard. This tapestry must contain every voice.

10. Finally, every group shows their performance and each groups talks about the process of creating as well as where they draw their artistic ancestry from.



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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

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