Ben works at Appalshop, a grassroots multimedia arts center in Kentucky. He spent most of his life in cities and suburbs, but in 2015 he moved to rural Kentucky to become Appalshop’s creative placemaking project manager. He now sits on the board of the organization.
Sonja is a professor at the University of Minnesota, where she teaches courses in theater historiography, leadership and performance and social change. She’s developed collaborative theater projects with youth in the Balkans and Middle East. And, Sonja works as a conflict resolution facilitator with Seeds of Peace, an organization that brings together youth from the Middle East, South Asia and Balkan regions.
The two have known each other for years. Sonja was once Ben’s professor, then dissertation chair and now colleague and friend.
Ben and Sonja discuss the importance of understanding people with different points of view and unexpected complications related to transformational work, such as recognizing your blind spots and being careful not to infringe on spaces meant for others, however well-intentioned you are.