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20221 Arts and Communication Festival

2021 Arts and Communication Festival - Lockdown and Release

On behalf of the University of Houston-Downtown’s Cultural Enrichment Center and the Dept. of Arts and Communication within the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, we welcome you to attend —and to encourage your students to attend — the engaging events we have planned for the UHD Arts & Communication Festival. The Festi​val begins next week, running April 12th-16th, 2021. The 2021 festival theme is “Lockdown and Released.” This theme reflects the 12+ months that our global community has endured the COVID-19 pandemic. This experience has ruptured normalcy, and the theme explores all the things we have had to do to adapt, survive, and thrive.

In 2020 we had to shift priorities, expectations, formats, locations, modalities, and perspectives. The festival was one of many cancellations. As the world seemed to fall apart, issues of injustice, inequities, and access were laid bare. We also experienced new ways of interacting, teaching, and learning. We witnessed how our planet could potentially adapt to our absence — what a lesson in resilience and humility nature provided! Thanks to the availability of vaccines, and growing acceptance of a new kind of reality, better days are ahead.

This year’s festival is dedicated to people who are ready to think in new ways about their possible future. Join us in conversations with our local, national, and international speakers, who will share their work, adaptations strategies, and recommendations to thrive in this new normal. Bring your questions, be ready to explore answers, and leave with a vision of how we continue to adapt and thrive in a world in flux.


APRIL 12: 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Mariachi Los Caimanes
“Calavera con Calavera” (Skulls)

APRIL 12: 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Cecilie Wettre
Understanding the changing ocean and its impact on our world

Norwegian Oceanographer CECILIE WETTRE will talk about her research on various topics where the ocean plays a major role, from oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico to storm surges in Vietnam. She will also share how this work leads her to get to know interesting people and cultures from many different places in the world, all connected through the ocean.

APRIL 12: 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
TikTok Contest Awards
2021 Lockdown Edition

APRIL 12: 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM
Dr. Cordula Peters

Food Porn: Food that feeds the eyes ​Artist, designer, educator, and chef Dr. CORDULA PETERS will talk about Visual Hunger: Over the past year the making of food and food presentation has taken on a new life as chefs (and home cooks alike) around the world used social media to show their craft, promote their food, and feed their fans, not through taste and smell, but through passionate cooking, meticulously designed plating, and well-styled photographs. Because chefs are not just cooks, they are artists too.

APRIL 12: 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Mariachi Los Caimanes
Meet the ensemble Q&A

APRIL 13: 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Paula Zuccotti
Every Thing We Touch: Lockdown Archeology

Visual artist, ethnographer, and trends forecaster PAULA ZUCCOTTI travels the world immersing herself into the lives of people in order to design better products, brands, and services. Her projects use everyday objects as storytellers of our time. In 2020, Zuccotti found herself limited to the confines of quarantine, having to adapt her methods to still see life from the perspective of others. She will share about her "EveryThingWeTouchCovidEssentialsX15" initiative which reached over 50 countries, offering us a window into how people experienced lockdown through the objects that became essential to their lives, thus creating a time capsule archive of an unprecedented paradigm shift of our behaviors, values, and priorities worldwide.

APRIL 13: 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM
Valentina Gomez Bravo
How to build a strong, authentic, and empathetic personal brand

Award-winning creative businesswoman Valentina Gomez Bravo will talk about the brands we need to build for the future we want to create.

APRIL 14: 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
Arts & Communications Internship Fair 2021 Lockdown Edition

APRIL 14: 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Victoria Christgau
Community Transformation through the Art of Nonviolence

Victoria Christgau, Executive Director of the Connecticut Center for Nonviolence (CTCN), will expand on the Nonviolence/Arts integrated work being done in schools, universities, community organizations, law enforcement, and throughout Connecticut. She will share how this approach is transferable to other communities like Houston.

APRIL 14: 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM
Benito Vasquez
Theatre in Quarantine

Benito Vasquez will talk about how theatre makers overcome the pandemic, and discuss how TEATRX, and Houston theatre arts in general, persisted during a time of isolation, a struggling economy, social turmoil, and an unknown future.

APRIL 15: 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
Houston Coalition Against Hate
Bystander Intervention 101 to stop hate-based harassment

APRIL 15: 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Dr. Katharine Owens
Merging Science, Art, and Policy for Global Change

A trained printmaker, Dr. Katharine Owens has researched environmental policy for twenty years. In her work, she seeks to communicate within and outside of traditional scientific discourse about large-scale environmental problems. Her new Entangled and Ingested series highlight 46 species that are killed by plastic pollution, an enormous global environmental problem exacerbated by the pandemic.

APRIL 16: 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Jaladhi Pujara
How to stand out and use social media for job search

In a time when networking is seeing as equivalent to sending a connection request, Jaladhi Pujara, Director of Product Design at LinkedIn in Cupertino, California, will share expert inside knowledge on how to use LinkedIn for job search, your network to stand out, and be relevant in a time of uncertainty.