Residents Building Policy! Art and Climate Justice

Saturday, Nov 13, 2021
5:30pm EST/2:30pm PST
Field in Practice: 90 minutes

Open Call Session
Organized by One Square World
Presenters: Andrea Atkinson, Vatic Tayari Kuumba, Shey Rivera Ríos

This Field in Practice session will share two case studies of Black and brown-led processes centering residents of the most impacted communities in Providence, RI and Boston, MA in order to inform and design racial and environmental justice policy at the city level. Presenters will share how art and language justice were used as facilitation tools and containers to incorporate resident expertise into policy, as well as to document and celebrate the lived experiences of Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and Asian peoples.


Andrea Atkinson is a Latinx regenerative development professional working at the intersection of sustainability and social justice. She is Executive Director of One Square World, an innovator in the community development and social impact space. One Square World is a non-profit organization supporting the creation of just and sustainable communities by activating collaborative community conversations and action. 1SW brings together groups of people to strategize with communities of all types to align around values and goals centered in equity and sustainability. Andrea grew up in Brazil, Bolivia, and Niger and speaks Spanish, Portuguese and some Haitian Kreyol. She has a degree in International Relations with a focus on sustainable development from Boston University and a graduate certificate in environmental management from Tufts University. Andrea is a Senior Fellow of the Environmental Leadership Program.

Vatic Tayari Kuumba (he/him) is a performance artist, arts facilitator for climate policy work, Undoing Racism trainer, and a father of two girls. Vatic is a live performance instructor and racial justice facilitator at AS220, an arts nonprofit and creative incubator in Providence, RI. He completed a Live Arts Residency at AS220 where he created his first theatrical production, A Furtive Movement, in 2017. Vatic is the recipient of the 2018 RISCA Fellowship for Theater and the 2017 RISCA Playwright Merit Fellowship 2017. Vatic was also Artist-in-Residence for the State Association of Arts Agencies in 2019. Most recently, Kuumba collaborated on the creation of the City of Providence’s Climate Justice Plan and the Environmental Racism Resolution passed by Providence City Council in 2020, as part of the Racial and Environmental Justice Committee in Providence.

Shey Rivera Ríos (they/them) is an interdisciplinary artist, cultural strategist, and arts administrator. Their artistic creations span a myriad of topics, from home to capitalism to queerness and magic. Rivera has 10 years of experience in the nonprofit arts sector intersecting creative practice with urban planning and racial equity. Rivera was also former Artistic/Co-Director of AS220, a renowned arts organization and creative incubator in Providence, RI. After 8 years at AS220, Rivera took on the role of Director of Inclusive Regional Development at MIT CoLab, in the Dept of Urban Studies and Planning of MIT, where they co-designed and implemented workshops on collective leadership and community innovation in Colombia. Today, Rivera is an independent artist and consultant specializing in cultural strategy and the intersections of art/culture, urban planning, and civic engagement. Shey is also part of the One Square World team as Project Manager.