Art and Policy Salon: Acting on Climate Change panel

Art and Policy Salon: Acting on Climate Change

Tuesday, March 28, 2023 at 7:00pm
Ring Family Performing Arts Hall and on Zoom (link below)


If not able to attend in-person, view also on Zoom.

Read about this event in the article "Artists and Academics Discuss Climate Change" in The Wesleyan Connection.

Artists help us imagine possible futures. How can they effect actual change? Assistant Professor of Theater Katie Pearl, Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences Raquel Bryant, artist and researcher Dr. Katharine Owens, and Save the Sound’s inaugural Environmental Justice Specialist Alex Rodriguez will look at the potent relationship between imagined futures and mappable realities. Moderated by Strategic Advisor in the Arts Michael Feldman ’84.

This event is part of the Ocean Filibuster: Art and Action series—a semester of art and activism, science and storytelling—building to the Connecticut premiere performances of PearlDamour’s Ocean Filibuster in the CFA Theater from Thursday, May 4 through Saturday, May 6, 2023. For more information and related events, please visit

Read "Connecticut Premiere of 'Ocean Filibuster' Takes Place May 4-6" in The Wesleyan Connection.

Ocean Filibuster and related events are supported by Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts, Theater Department, College of the Environment, and Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life. Additional support provided by the New England Foundation for the Arts and National Endowment for the Arts.

Read about some resources and ways to get involved and support the environment.



Raquel Bryant, Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Wesleyan, is a paleoceanographer and micropaleontologist. Bryant is a leader in integrating microfossil and geochemical archives to understand how the ocean and its ecosystems respond to intervals of global warmth in the geologic past. Her research leverages the interscalar potential of fossil foraminifera to detect earth system change at the individual and community level. She is also interested in developing new methods to cultivate leadership skills among geoscientists and foster radical earth-learning environments. She completed her B.A. in Geology and Biology at Brown University. She holds an M.S. and Ph.D. in Geosciences from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst where she was a Randolph and Cecile Bromery Graduate Fellow and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. She completed postdoctoral training in the College of Geosciences at Texas A&M University as a Geosciences Future Faculty Fellow.

Michael Feldman ’84, Creator, Theater and Policy Salon, is a strategic advisor on policy and the arts and former cultural attaché who advances arts, scholarly, and policy goals by implementing innovative programs to energize partners and engage audiences. As the Theater and Policy Salon’s founder, Feldman serves as a creative producer, dramaturg, and advisor for theater projects dealing with policy, cross-cultural, and global issues. For more than five years, he has worked with area theaters and cultural partners to organize theater and policy events that inspire action on local and global real world issues.

Dr. Katharine Owens is a National Geographic Explorer, a Fulbright Nehru fellow, and a Professor in the Department of Politics, Economics, and International Studies at the University of Hartford in Connecticut. She is an interdisciplinary scholar who merges science, policy, and the arts on the topic of plastic pollution.

Katie Pearl’s work ranges from conventional plays to community-wide collaborations and experimental performances. Her professional practice is motivated and shaped by the conviction that personal encounter and creative exchange are essential to a humane world; as such, a core interest is in the relationships making up a performance event and their ability to shift perception and catalyze action. Pearl is the Co-Artistic Director of the Obie Award-winning PearlDamour, a company with a 20-year history of pushing the boundaries of theatrical convention. PearlDamour has garnered recognition and support from major institutions such as the National Endowment for the Arts (Our Town grant), the Creative Capital Foundation, and the Multi-Arts Production Fund. PearlDamour projects are genre-defying, community building, and adventurous—from the eight-hour performance installation How to Build a Forest, inspired by Hurricane Katrina and the B.P. oil spill and devised for traditional theater stages; to Lost in the Meadow, created for a 40-acre hillside at Longwood Botanical Gardens outside Philadelphia, fancifully exploring the short-sightedness of humans; and the five-town, five-year MILTON, a performance and community engagement project created for and with small towns named Milton. 

As Environmental Justice Specialist for Save the Sound, Alex Rodriguez is responsible for developing and implementing monthly grassroots stakeholder programs in Connecticut and New York; engaging stakeholders in policymaking; applying an environmental justice lens on public policy; collaborating with colleagues to advance legislative priorities; building relationships and educating policymakers; and providing communications support for environmental justice-related subject matter, particularly on organization of briefing papers, press events, and educational webinars. Prior to joining Save the Sound, he served as Community Organizer to the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters where he planned and executed campaigns relating to climate action, voting rights, and electric school bus advancement. He has also served in roles such as Chair of the Public Participation subcommittee of the Governor’s Council on Climate Change, and Vice Chair of Hartford’s Advisory Commission on the Environment.

Images (form left): Raquel Bryant, Michael Feldman, Katie Pearl, Dr. Katharine Owens, and Alex Rodriguez.