Trustees Without Borders, or TWB, is a podcast series produced by the Virginia Tech Institute for Policy and Governance and the Community Change Collaborative (CCC). TWB features leading practitioners, thinkers, and designers working to reframe and strengthen communities, doing so without borders or limits on their ideas and aspirations, without borders on what they think is possible, without borders concerning with whom they will work and without constraints on their dreams for a more just and inclusive human community.
Andrew Morikawa, Senior Fellow at the Virginia Tech Institute for Policy and Governance (IPG), hosts the podcast series. You can access the full archive, including the latest podcasts, here:
TWB guests are idea entrepreneurs, leaders for change and community action, people who are experimenting and redefining what it means to be trustees of community, trustees of the commons. They are innovators. They are experimenters. Scientists. Artists. Designers. Scholars. Other professionals.
TWB listeners are interested in stories. TWB is all about stories. TWB listeners are interested in our guests and their experiences. TWB interviewers ask guests about ‘aha’ moments that changed the course of their lives. About failures and lessons learned. TWB wants its guests to share what they are most proud of. Ideas and concepts are important and they come to life through story.
The podcast features both visiting guest speakers as well as Virginia Tech faculty who present at the CCC Faculty Forum. The Faculty Forum explores the dynamics of community change processes through research presentations representing a range of disciplines, followed by questions and discussion with CCC members.
Featured Trustees Without Borders (TWB) Podcast Recordings
July 3, 2019
Author Andrea Brunais reflects on her new book, Hillbilly Drug Baby: The Story, a nonfiction account of the relationship that she and her husband, Hal, built with a young man named Jesse-Ray who had aged out of foster care and was struggling with substance use disorder. As Andrea and Hal learned more about Jesse-Ray’s abusive past, they served as mentors and friends hoping to cultivate his writing talents and support his recovery. Such a task proved challenging, and Andrea reflects on the experience and key insights gained. Lara Nagle and Laura Nelson facilitated the conversation. Audio here.
April 2, 2019
Blacksburg Police Chief Anthony Wilson, Alek Skarlatos, and the mother of a student killed during the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007 participated as panelists for CCC member Lehi Dowell’s Diversity Scholar event, Gun Powder: Campus Voices When the Dust Settles. Panelists discussed gun violence and its effect on campus life, followed by Q&A and small group discussions among audience members facilitated by CCC members. Audio here.
January 24, 2019
The CCC welcomed Theresa Williamson, Ph.D., for a day of lectures, discussions, and the Trustees Without Borders podcast program. Dr. Williamson is a city planner and founder and executive director of Catalytic Communities (CatComm), an NGO working since 2000 in support of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s favelas. In addition to fostering strategic networking, training and communications support on behalf of community organizers, CatComm has become known for advocating a community-controlled asset-based development approach to informal settlements, through Favela Community Land Trusts and CatComm’s Sustainable Favela Network. Theresa is an outspoken, respected advocate for the recognition of favelas’ heritage status and their residents’ right to be fully served as equal citizens. Dr. Williamson also serves as Editor for RioOnWatch, a grassroots media and reporting network providing more comprehensive and accurate coverage about Rio’s favelas. Vanessa Guerra and Lehi Dowell facilitated the Forum conversation.
Andy Morikawa curated audio of the event for the Trustees Without Borders podcast, available here.
A recording of Dr. Williamson’s afternoon lecture, “Realizing Favelas As a Sustainable Model via Insurgent Planning: Rethinking Our Assumptions in Sustainable Development,” is available here.
You can access the lecture slides here: www.bit.ly/VTfavelatalk
Dr. Williamson’s visit was made possible by the generous support of the VT Women and Minority Artists and Scholars Lecture Series and the VT Institute for Policy and Governance.
Featured Visiting Guests
The CCC welcomed Elizabeth LaPrelle, a weaver of story by way of Appalachian ballads, to the Blacksburg campus for a public performance, course visit, and TWB podcast interview. Podcast interviewers were CCC members Courtney Surmanek (dual Master’s student in Theatre: Directing & Public Dialogue and Urban & Regional Planning) and Garland Mason (PhD student in Agricultural Leadership, Community, and Education).
Elizabeth LaPrelle has been performing Appalachian ballads and old-time songs since she was eleven. Raised in Rural Retreat, VA, Elizabeth attended old time fiddlers’ conventions and sang harmonies with her family, who taught her traditional singing styles and encouraged her to sing their favorite American folk music. She has developed her repertoire from neighbors like Jim Lloyd, under the tutelage of powerful female ballad singers like Ginny Hawker and Sheila Kay Adams, and from a wealth of field recordings of legendary singers from the mountains. Elizabeth received her undergraduate degree from the College of William and Mary with a major in Southern Appalachian Traditional Performance, and now tours the U.S. regularly, both performing and teaching.
We’re keenly interested in Elizabeth’s work because of the way it explores timeless truths about people and community through music, while songs can also capture a distinct time and place to help us experience memories about a region when revisiting these songs. Music and the arts also have potential to evoke empathy and shared understanding, which is a powerful force for building consensus and social capacity for change.
Listen to the TWB podcast interview here, and the evening performance and public discussion here.
CCC members Helen Ajao, Lindy Cranwell and Courtney Surmanek interviewed six of the twenty-eight scholar educators from Pakistan who are participating in the Virginia Tech Teaching Excellence and Achievement Program for Pakistan, a program of the Virginia Tech Language and Culture Institute (VT LCI). These scholar educators joined us for a conversation on inclusive education, active learning and bridge-building. We talked about inspiring empowered learners; learning theories that are applicable to inclusive education; and community interventions the scholar educators have led to increase student enrollment and community-based support for education. It was an uplifting conversation that brought to the fore similarities between the assets and challenges inherent in the Pakistani and American educational systems.
Listen to the TWB podcast interview, conducted by CCC members Helen Ajao, Lindy Cranwell and Courtney Surmanek, here.
Featured Faculty Forums
The Faculty Forum is a space to explore the interdisciplinarity of community change processes through faculty presentations and follow-up discussion with CCC members. Faculty from a range of fields, such as biological systems engineering to political science, have participated in the Forum.
Dr. Kristin Lamoureux is Visiting Professor of Tourism and Hospitality Management at Virginia Tech. Dr. Kristin Lamoureux is an accomplished hospitality and tourism professional with over 25 years of experience as an educator, researcher and consultant in tourism and hospitality, tourism development, destination management and marketing, hospitality management, marketing, strategic planning and research. Prior to this position at Virginia Tech, she served as the Associate Dean of the Jonathan M. Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism within the School of Professional Studies at New York University and Executive Director of the International Institute of Tourism Studies at George Washington University.
Dr. Lamoureux has been involved in many projects focusing on tourism and hospitality in developed and developing countries and with indigenous populations around the world including Virginia, Washington, DC, Maryland, NY, Montana, Oklahoma, North Dakota, among others as well as countries such as Jordan, Morocco, Honduras, Belize, Egypt, Mali, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Bulgaria, Myanmar, Mexico, Portugal, Nambia and Spain. Dr. Lamoureux has served as a consultant for the US Department of Interior, National Park Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, USAID, the World Bank, the UN World Tourism Organization, the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Ecotourism Society, and Conservation International, among others. At present she serves as a Special Advisor to the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association.
Listen to the Faculty Forum recording here.
Dr. Desirée Poets is Assistant Professor of Postcolonial Theory in Virginia Tech’s Department of Political Science, as well as a core faculty member of the interdisciplinary Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought (ASPECT) PhD program. Since 2013, she has been working with urban indigenous and urban black movements in Brazil’s Southeast Region, including quilombos and favelas. More recently, her work has focused on community museums in Rio's favelas as contested sites that shift dominant narratives about favelas that justify their criminalization and militarization. Her scholarship lies at the intersections of Latin American Studies, Settler Colonial Studies, Black and Indigenous Studies, and collaborative and feminist research methods.
Listen to the Faculty Forum recording here.