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Distinguished Artist P. Carl Honored for Melding Art and Social Justice

Emerson Distinguished Artist-in-Residence P. Carl. Photo/Asia Kepka

Emerson College Distinguished Artist-in-Residence P. Carl received the 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award from the Kroc Institute at the University of Notre Dame for a career spent using storytelling and the arts to foster dialogue, create policy, and transform systems.

Carl, an author, longtime theatre advocate, former co-artistic director of ArtsEmerson, and founder of online theatre commons HowlRound, will receive the award March 5 at his alma mater, and will deliver a lecture titled, “Caring for Bodies Not Our Own: Storytelling as a Bridge to Radical Understanding,” according to the Notre Dame website.

According to Notre Dame, the award selection committee cited Carl’s “groundbreaking work connecting theater and the arts with justice and peacebuilding, and [his] courage and compassion in addressing the complexities of race, class and gender in both professional and personal contexts.”

HowlRound, now housed under Emerson’s Office of the Arts, works to “amplify progressive, disruptive ideas about theatre and facilitate connection between diverse practitioners” through essays and blog posts, a free livestreaming TV channel, and in-person and online gatherings.

Carl received an Art of Change fellowship from the Ford Foundation, and a Holtzbrinck Fellowship from the American Academy of Berlin in 2018.

He served as the dramaturg for Claudia Rankine’s play, The White Card, which premiered at Emerson’s Paramount Center last year. The play looks at whiteness, privilege, race, and equity in America. There will be a dramatic reading of the The White Card during Carl’s visit to Notre Dame.

He is currently at work on a memoir, Becoming a White Man (Simon & Schuster, 2020).

Carl, who holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Kroc Institute, one of the world’s principal centers for the study of conflict and sustainable peace, told Notre Dame that his time at the Institute taught him to think about peace and social justice concepts in tandem with his love of the arts, and introduced him to faculty who blended academic theory with practice.

“I have always been interested in the theory-praxis relationship,” Carl told the University. “It really can’t be one thing or the other. I’ve tried to cultivate both parts of that passion, and that model was really the thing that interested me the most when I was at the Institute.”


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