Last week, I participated as a panelist and speaker in Brown University’s Social Media and Political Change in Latin America and the Middle East Conference. Brown University’s Watson
Institute asked me to speak on the Arab Spring street art movement in Egypt. Over the past two years, I’ve been completing a project called War on Walls — researching and photographing Egypt’s most important, iconic, provocative and creative Arab Spring street art. I was honored to be able to share this project and topic I am passionate about with conference attendees and the interwebs via the webcast the Watson Institute set up to live stream the conference. (You can still catch the conference in its entirety here: http://mediacapture.brown.edu:8080/ess/echo/presentation/4a890168-7e38-49f9-a691-80ab4684b3e9)
Brown University is a beautiful campus located close to the center of Providence, Rhode Island. I was lucky to visit on a sunny Fall day. The leaves were changing on the trees, filling the streets with bright yellows, tawny reds and burnt oranges. I love old architecture. I spent quite a bit of time during my stay in Providence wandering the 400 year old cobblestone streets lined with elegant colonial mansions painted an assortment of pastel and bright colors. Brown University’s main campus is comprised of a series of stately brick and columned buildings organized around grass courtyards.
The conference began with the showing of the Film “NO”, which followed the Chilean NO campaign that ousted Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. Former Chilean President Ricardo Lagos and NO campaign director Genaro Arriagada. Both spoke about the NO campaign in Chile.
The next morning, the conference continued with a panel discussing political change in Chile. The panel included former President of Chile and Professor-at-Large of Brown University Ricardo Lagos, Director of the NO campaign and former Chilean Ambassador to the US Genaro Arriagada, Chilean writer and Distinguished Global Professor of Creative Writing in Spanish at New York University Diamela Eitit, and former Chilean Minister Jorge Arrate. My draw dropped when I first learned of that powerhouse panel. And they delivered riveting discussions. The panel discussed how change took place in Chile and how it was or was not successful.