Performing Embodied Communities: New Paths for Cultural Institutions (2021-2022)

Within the context of a global pandemic, rising political populism and calls for the end of inequities, how can arts institutions become responsive, open, hospitable and relevant for social transformation? What is the new cultural institution that the world needs?

The performing arts enable interaction and shared sensorial experiences among diverse citizens. They can play a key role in weaving an inclusive and dynamic social fabric. Public arts institutions can redefine citizenship and belonging as a process and a product of material and symbolic struggles.

This project team worked with local and global partners to investigate various arts outreach programs and their effectiveness in creating conditions for cultural citizenship and hospitality. This project has grown out of the Arts and Cultural Citizenship Initiative at Duke, which, over the past four years, has included tailored internships for undergraduate students enrolled in Duke in France (EDUCO) and Duke in Paris programs, as well as graduate students whose research engages with the arts in France. 

Working in both Durham and Paris, this team analyzed arts institutions’ hospitality and cultural citizenship strategies through case studies of individual performing arts institutions. Over time, these case studies informed a more ambitious goal to lay the foundations for a blueprint for a new cultural institution that would expand the social and cultural objectives of theaters, museums, opera houses, concert halls and community centers in the context of social democracies across the globe.

Team Outputs

Case studies on arts institutions in Durham and Paris

Toward a New Vision of the Arts and Society (2022 Fortin Foundation Bass Connections Virtual Showcase)

Performing Embodied Communities: New Paths for Cultural Institutions (poster by Emma Chun, Julia Leeman, Axelle Miel, Eliza Heaton, Michael Klien, Christelle Gonthier, Gabriel Richard and Anne-Gaelle Saliot, presentated at Fortin Foundation Bass Connections Showcase, April 13, 2022)


Fall 2021 – Summer 2022

This Team in the News

Listen to This: Neuroscience and Music in Conversation

Three Students Honored as Faculty Scholars

Making the Most of Duke, Summer 2021


Image from DÉMOS Philharmonie de Paris website

Violin players.

Team Leaders

  • Christelle Gonthier, Arts & Sciences-Romance Studies
  • Michael Klien, Arts & Sciences-Dance
  • Gabriel Jacques Richard, Arts & Sciences-Romance Studies;Music
  • Anne-Gaelle Saliot, Arts & Sciences-Romance Studies;Art, Art History, and Visual Studies

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Allison Chen, Visual and Media Studies (AB)
  • Emma Chun, Public Policy Studies (AB)
  • Eliza Heaton, Psychology (BS)
  • Emma Lee, DKU Interdisciplinary Studies (BA)
  • Julia Leeman, Neuroscience (BS)
  • Annie Lin, Computer Science (BS)
  • Elise Michels, Political Science (AB)
  • Amira Axelle Miel, Political Science (AB)
  • Catherine Ning, Statistical Science (BS)
  • Ooha Reddy, DKU Interdisciplinary Studies (BS)

/yfaculty/staff Team Members

  • Deborah Reisinger, Arts & Sciences-Romance Studies

/zcommunity Team Members

  • Laurent Bayle, Philharmonie de Paris
  • Murielle Elizeon, Culture Mill
  • Emmanuel Hondré, Philharmonie de Paris
  • Tommy Noonan, Culture Mill