The Theater of Change

This course and practicum enables participants to blend artistry, law, policy, and community engagement, and in this way produce narratives with powerful impact in policy spaces where change can happen.

The course will equip law students to tell powerful stories--themselves and in collaboration with artists and community members--and use legal knowledge and skills to amplify artists’ and community activists’ impact in venues where laws are made and power is exercised.

The course grows out of a collaboration between the Broadway Advocacy Coalition (BAC) and Columbia Law School.  BAC is an arts based organization dedicated to bridging the worlds of arts, justice and education for the purpose of building new collaborative methods for reducing racism and mass incarceration. 

Participants will emerge from the course with the ability to practice ARTIVISM: art-making linked with community mobilization, activism, and substantive change around issues of equity and justice. The course will enable participants to link the theory and practice of artivism by: (1) building the capacity to communicate effectively through high-impact storytelling, (2) creating original pieces of work, informed by policy research and narratives gathered using the methodologies of both theater and law, (3) developing and applying theories of change that will integrate storytelling and performance with policy research and a survey of the political and bureaucratic landscape, with an eye towards how best to employ performance to achieve maximum impact towards achieving educational equity and transforming our justice system, (4) arranging a new “theater for change” located in a policy venue, designed to maximize the broader impact of the performance, and (5) fostering relationships amongst individuals with varying stakes in and perspectives on reimagining justice.