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Wed, Sep 02


BDT Zoom

SURGE: Panel Discussion

Join distinguished arts+science innovators from Boston and beyond for an afternoon as they tackle the big question, “Why should the arts work with science to achieve sustainability and what actions are currently being taken?”.

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SURGE: Panel Discussion
SURGE: Panel Discussion

Time & Location

Sep 02, 2020, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EDT

BDT Zoom

About The Event

Boston Dance Theater kicks-off its new virtual series of events on September 2, 2020 on Zoom. Join guests Gloria Benedikt (Science and Art Project Leader, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis), Dr. Larry J. Pratt (Scientist, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) with Jessie Jeanne Stinnett (Founder, Boston Dance Theater), and Space for Action (Edmar Colón, Peter Godart, Tiandra Ray) as they consider the topic: Why should the arts work with science to achieve sustainability and what actions are currently being taken? Moderated by David Henry (Former Bill T. Jones Director/Curator of Performing Arts, Institute of Contemporary Art Boston). *Full panel to be announced by August 26*

SURGE is an online event series that is designed to expand our dialogue with like-minded individuals whose work and interests straddle the realms of art+science and environmental sustainability. It is also our goal to raise awareness of / fundraise for the continuation of BDT’s Sea-Level Rise project. To make a tax-deductible gift please visit:


Gloria Benedikt was born in Austria and trained at the Vienna State Opera Ballet School and English National Ballet School. From 2002 she has worked as a dancer and choreographer across Europe and the USA. Since graduating from Harvard University in 2013, she focuses on creating artistically innovative, impact-driven projects that link performing arts and sciences to solve global challenges. 

In 2015 she became the first Research Associate for Science and Arts at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), since 2018 she leads the Science and Art Project. She explores how artistic and scientific processes can be connected to tackle global challenges more effectively i.e. how to bridge the knowledge - to - action gap and support transformations to sustainability. 

Recent performance and speaking engagements include the Kennedy Center, Washington DC; Carnegie Hall, the European Culture Forum, Brussels; the European Forum Alpbach; the Bridging Europe Festival, Budapest; the European Commission’s Joint Research Center, Ispra; the Forum on European Culture, Amsterdam; the Stockholm Act, the Mellon Summer School for Performance Research at Harvard University, ESOF Toulouse, the International Conference on Sustainable Development, New York, the UNESCO Forum, Moscow, the Sustainable Brands Conference and the World Science Forum 2019.

Peter Godart is an artist, technologist, and educator working towards solving issues at the intersection of climate change and ecological justice. Peter holds S.B. and S.M.  degrees from MIT in mechanical engineering and is currently finishing his PhD - also in mechanical engineering at MIT. As a researcher, Peter's career has spanned numerous fields (and planets during his two years as a research scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory), including carbon sequestration, robotics, and energy storage. Currently, Peter's research focuses on improving climate change resiliency by developing new methods for extracting energy from aluminum waste to power electricity generation and desalination after natural disasters.

As an educator, Peter teaches and develops "decolonized" STEM curricula at the high school and undergraduate level, most recently writing a textbook that presents thermodynamics alongside the science of anthropogenic climate change. Through Space for Action, Peter is also developing multidisciplinary K-12 curricula centered around climate change, ecological, and racial justice that integrates science with art and music. Peter is also an avid pianist and composer and has toured internationally with musicians including Miguel Zenon and Anat Cohen, using music as a bridge between researchers and communities hardest hit by climate change.

David Henry recently retired from the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston where he served as the Bill T. Jones Director of Performing and Media Arts.

Dr. Lawrence J. Pratt (LEAD SCIENCE COLLABORATOR) is a senior scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He holds a B. S. and M. S. from the University of Wisconsin and a Ph.D. from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

Pratt’s research interests include theory and modeling of ocean and marginal sea circulation and mixing, mesoscale and submesoscale instability and turbulence,  sea strait hydraulics, abyssal circulation in deep canyons, and the use of dynamical systems and chaos theory to understand mixing and stirring at various scales. 

He has collaborated on a number of dance and ocean science projects and public workshops in Boston and New York with choreographers Riley Watts, Courtney Peix, Jody Sperling, Mariah Steele, Alissa Cardone and Jessie Jeanne Stinnett. His extended arts and science projects have been presented at the Boston Science Museum, New Bedford Art Museum, Keck Futures Foundation (Washington, DC), Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and Boston Arts Academy, often with support from the National Science Foundation.

Jessie Jeanne Stinnett (PROJECT LEAD + CHOREOGRAPHER) is a dance teacher, choreographer, and co-artistic director of Boston Dance Theater with veteran Israeli choreographer Itzik Galili. She received a BFA in Dance Performance from The Boston Conservatory and an MFA in Creative Practice: Dance Professional Pathway from Trinity Laban Conservatoire, in conjunction with Independent Dance/Siobhan Davies Dance. 

Most notably Jessie has performed for the Metropolitan Opera, Tate Britain (UK), Prometheus Dance, Institute of Applied Systems Analysis (Vienna), The Boston Baroque Opera, and Bard College’s SummerScape Festival. 

Her choreographic work has been described by Hannah Chanatry of WBUR as “conceptually driven performance that unpacks the complexities of being female, and pushes the academic boundaries of choreography” and has been sustained in part by grants from The Boston Foundation with support from The Barr Foundation, New England Foundation for the Arts, Assets4Artists at MASS MoCA, and Fidelity Charitable. 

Some of Jessie’s recent teaching and choreography credits include: Boston Ballet School, Dean College, Keene State University, Providence College, Endicott College, Goethe Institut Boston, Emerald Necklace Conservancy, and Emmanuel Music. She is the recipient of the 2020 Boston Dancemakers Residency grant award and will be the 2020 Choreographer in Residence at Boston Center for the Arts and Boston Dance Alliance.

Space for Action Team (Edmar Colón, Peter Godart, Tiandra Ray) Space for Action produces live events and curates multi-media content at the intersection of art, science, and culture with the purpose of bringing people across disciplines and communities together to process and make progress on the existential threat of climate change. As a format, Space for Action aims to 1) address and de-stigmatize the feelings of isolation and powerlessness that accompany this threat, thereby making space in our hearts and minds for action, and 2) provide literal (and virtual) space for people to engage with one another, the issues, and their cultural implications to foster real innovation and to re-imagine our society post-climate change.


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