If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.


That’s an African proverb, and it gets at what we’re exploring here: acts of public creativity and participation in a digital age. Could this be a means of social change?

Dancing in the StreetsHumans have evolved to be highly social animals with a capacity and a need for bonding with others unrelated to ourselves. Throughout human history, we have gathered together to feast and dance–to bond with each other through collective festivity. As Barbara Ehrenreich shows in Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy, such bonds can strengthen community and build cohesion in a fraught and fractured world. “Festivity breaks the boundaries down,” says Ehrenreich. “Festivity–like bread or freedom–can be a social good worth fighting for.”

congitivesurplusWe can extend the reach and perhaps strengthen the impact of public creativity and participation with the tools of the digital age. According to Clay Shirky in Cognitive Surplus,  “Change in the direction of more participation has already happened… what we do with it will be determined largely by how well we are able to imagine and reward public creativity, participation, and sharing.”

At this year’s Student Conference on Writing and Social Justice…


Ronny Edry is a graphic designer in Tel Aviv, Israel who is using digital tools to call for peace in the Middle East. In March 2012, concerned about impending war between Israel and Iran, he posted on Facebook a photo of himself and his daughter with the words, “Iranians, we will never bomb your country. We love you.” Immediately, friends in Israel began sending him their photos for peacemaking via Facebook. And before long, peacemaking posters from Iran started appearing. And then they started cropping up from Germany, the U.S., France, Taiwan, and so the message of peace spread around the world. On Friday 4/26 at 1:00 pm–Ronny Edry will deliver a keynote speech via video conference from Tel Aviv, Israel. As a preview, listen to Ronny Edry’s amazing story in his TED Talk here:

Ashley AndersonAshley Anderson is a dancer and activist who uses dance to bring people together for social change.  She is the director of loveDANCEmore, a non-profit organization promoting “a new way to think about dance in Salt Lake City. It asks us what our dance practices are, what performance can be and most importantly, how we can support one another.” Ashley Anderson is working with SLCC students to create a crowd dance for the conference, which will happen at the Dance Event/Poetry Slam, 4:30-6:00 pm on 4/25. She will also be a keynote speaker/dancer the next day, 4/26 at 1:00 pm. 

jesse_micJesse Parent will perform at the Dance Event/Poetry Slam. He is a poet, an improviser, a former mixed martial arts fighter, a computer nerd, a husband, a father, and, above all, a human being. According to the results of the 2010 and 2011 Individual World Poetry Slams, he is also the 2nd ranked slam poet in the world. He placed 2nd at both the 2010 and 2011 Individual World Poetry Slams, was a finalist at the 2012 Ontario International Poetry Slam, and was part of the 8th place Salt City Slam teams at the 2011 and 2012 National Poetry Slams.

Watch Jesse Parent performing his poetry:

Come and participate in public creativity! The conference takes place at the Taylorsville Redwood campus of Salt Lake Community College. You’re invited!


  • Thursday, April 25, 2013, Fountain
    • 4:30-6:00 pm:  Dance Event
      • Poetry slam with Jesse Parent
      • Collective joy crowd dance with Ashley Anderson & the WSJ students
      • Graffiti wall for peace
      • Pizza party
  • Friday, April 26, 2013, Student Center
    • 1:00 pm:  Keynote Presentations
      • Ashley Anderson
      • Ronny Edry
    • 2:30-4:30 pm:  Student Presentations of Creative Work

 Maps & Parking:

  • Here is a parking map. Conference attendees should plan to park in these areas NORTH of the Student Center:  Lots H, I J, K L & U. These are student parking lots, and we have arranged with parking services for conference attendees to park in these lots at no charge.
  • Here is a campus map. The fountain is just east of the Student Center (STC).

Questions? Contact us.