Bridging the Divide: A Creative Arts Experience

Breakout Option 3
Day 2: November 15, 2023 | 1:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m., Varsity Hall

Session Video

Session Description

The Division of the Arts and the Office of Multicultural Arts Initiatives brings together UW-Madison Arts faculty and students to lead hybrid breakout sessions designed to translate the Diversity Forum theme into an embodied creative art experience. The session aims to leverage the power of creative and interdisciplinary practices to interrupt the status quo, break down barriers, foster understanding, and inspire connection. Whether you’re an experienced artist or a beginner, this workshop welcomes individuals from all walks of life to come together and co-create a vibrant tapestry of expression. We will encourage dialogue, promote empathy, and nurture the growth of a supportive community where diverse voices are celebrated. Faculty Artistic Director for the First Wave Program, Professor Mark H with support from First Wave Scholars will present performance and facilitate expressions in movement, theater, creative writing, painting/drawing, mixed media, and more. Participants will have the opportunity to express their thoughts, emotions, and perspectives and engage with the expressions of others.

What to expect:

  • Engage in thought-provoking discussions that explore the power of art in bridging gaps and addressing social injustices.
  • Collaborate with fellow participants to create compelling artworks that reflect your shared experiences and aspirations for a more just world.
  • Discover new techniques and mediums rooted in urban arts and hip hop culture to expand your creative horizons.
  • Cultivate a deeper understanding of different perspectives and cultures while using your art as a tool for change.
  • Celebrate your individuality while contributing to a collective expression that embodies unity and a commitment to social justice


Mark Hairston

A native of Washington, DC, Mark H. is a director, performer, scholar and educator with a primary focus on physical theaters, and American and African diasporic performance. As a multidisciplinary artist, his work ranges from the classical to the experimental, from text-based to body-centric, and has been performed in spaces both traditional and unconventional. Mark is most passionate about devising new work that is site- specific, immersive, public and participatory, and is drawn to performance that is highly physical, ancient, post-dramatic, interdisciplinary, Afrofuturistic, underground, punk, divine, and sustainable. Mark earned his BFA in Acting with high honors from Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts, received intensive training in classical theater at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London and is a graduate of the MFA Directing program at Columbia University School of the Arts. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Directing and Acting in the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Theatre and Drama, as well as the Artistic Director of First Wave/OMAI. Visit for more info.

Thumbnail of speaker Mark Hairston.