Inspiring People. Growing Organizations. Strengthening Communities.

News Updates

New Publication! Facilitation And Evaluation

I co-edited this issue of New Directions in Evaluation to bridge the views of these two fields. More



How will we write the next chapter of the story of race in America?

Using Art of Hosting and Conflict Transformation: An event in Houston, Texas.    More


New Results on Girls' Lives in Afar

Why is it hard to change attitudes about girls' education? Because in poor countries, it's more complex than you may think. Check out the results of this study funded by Girlhub Ethiopia More


Photo courtesy of Girlhub Ethiopia ©2013


Arts in Evaluation

My webinar on the use of Arts in Evaluation is now available online.  More


Rita's Blog

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Jul 15, 2016
Category: Antiviolence 
Category: Racism 
Category: Art 
Category: Art and Social Justice 
Category: Antiracism 
Author: Rita Fierro, Ph.D.

African American people taught me how to live well, at peace, while feeling like a fish out of water. It hurts to watch how many people, and our media, assume that violence is norm in Black culture. 

By the standards of most Americans I am an incredibly weird person. I am an Italian American woman who spent seven years studying African American culture in college, first for a Master’s in Sociology, then a PhD in African American studies. I left a life in Rome, Italy, the eternal city, to study in Philadelphia. I wish I could make a collage with the look on people’s faces, of all colors, when I tell them what I just told you. 


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Jan 4, 2014
Category: Group dynamics 
Category: Racism 
Category: Power Dynamics 
Category: Art 
Category: Art and Social Justice 
Author: Rita Fierro, Ph.D.

Many facilitation processes completely ignore power dynamics and their effect on group conversations. At best, power differentials are identified ahead of time but not addressed as  interactions occur.  This blog lists some of the ways that Art of Hosting plans for differences in power among participants. It also narrates a combination of processes implemented for this specific purpose. 


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Nov 12, 2013
Category: Africa 
Category: Performance 
Category: Group dynamics 
Category: Art 
Author: Rita Fierro, Ph.D.

The challenges of our bodies often parallel that of our minds. An experience with dance that says more about life, conversations, and relationships. 

I am out of breath again…

I’ve been taking African dance classes for 10 years. I love the way the drums energize me. I feel the loud beats pulsing in my veins. My ankles twitch. They want to lift.  I’m enchanted with how dancers’ steps ahead of me match the beat and how their upper torsos follow one drum –ta-ta-ta-ta !– while their lower bodies follow the other –ta- ta!–.


Oct 18, 2013
Category: Performance 
Category: Group dynamics 
Category: Art 
Category: Art and Social Justice 
Author: Rita Fierro, Ph.D.

I had the great pleasure of giving a workshop in summer 2013 on facilitating conversations about social justice at the Alternate ROOTS gathering of artists and social activists. Cristine Davis, General Manager of the Performing Arts Alliance, describes this work in their October newsletter: