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Building Empathy Using the Arts: Alumni Highlight


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By Jen Kulik, Ph.D., alumna of the Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program, 2011-2012

Jennifer Kulik, Ph.D., alumna of the Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program, founded Silver Kite Community Arts Consulting, LLC in 2013 after she returned from her Fulbright program in Singapore. Silver Kite is dedicated to developing arts-based, empathy-building programs and trainings for schools, NGOs and corporations. Silver Kite has a roster of 7 consultants, including Lavinia Draper, Ph.D. who participated in the Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program in the fall of 2012. 

The inspiration for Silver Kite came during Jen’s Fulbright program in Singapore. While Jen was on her program, she created an intergenerational drama project which brought together young people from Victoria Junior College and seniors from TOUCH Senior Services. The project was designed to explore how drama can help foster empathy and facilitate understanding between two groups of people who would not normally interact with each other.

Data from the project showed that project participants broke down age-based stereotypes, re-examined their own familial relationships, and developed strong new relationships with members of their community. After returning to the United States, Jen decided to dedicate her professional work to creating these kinds of opportunities for communities throughout the world.

Since founding Silver Kite, Jen has worked with Colorado Academy, presented on her work at the IDEA (International Drama/Theatre Education Association) World Congress in Paris and at the SDEA (Singapore Drama Educators Association) international conference in Singapore, created and facilitated a leadership through the arts course at Republic Polytechnic in Singapore, and developed circus drama productions about nutrition for the USAID and MercyCorps funded PRIME project in Ethiopia. In recent months, Jen has also been a guest speaker at several schools and retirement communities and has offered community arts workshops to faculty and students.

Jen will be returning to Ethiopia in 2014 to continue her work as an educational theatre consultant for the PRIME project.  She will also return to Singapore at the end of 2014 to re-create the intergenerational drama program she developed during her Fulbright program. At the end of February, Jen will be returning to Colorado to work with fellow Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program alumna, Betsey Coleman, on an arts-integrated oral history and English curriculum they designed for Betsey’s home school, Colorado Academy.

For more information about Silver Kite Community Arts Consulting, LLC, visit: www.silverkiteconsulting.com.

The Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and is administered by the Institute of International Education.


 

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