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Assembly | Presenters


The wide variety of public events is organized and curated by Portland State University Art and Social Practice MFA faculty, students, alumni, and partners.

Alysha Shaw

Alysha Shaw is an interdisciplinary artist, musician, and community organizer based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She has been known to use performance, music, video, interactive arts, sculpture, installation, and writing in her work. Shaw has worked on multiple political campaigns, social advocacy efforts, and community organizing projects. She performs Balkan and Middle Eastern music with Rumelia, and is currently recording her second album in the oldest church in the United States. Shaw has a BA in Political Science and Interdisciplinary Art from the College of Santa Fe, and an MFA in Art and Social Practice from Portland State University. Her current work explores the intersections of art, social action, and folklore. Alysha is the Coordinator of the Lifesongs program at the Academy for the Love of Learning.

Amanda Leigh Evans

Amanda Leigh Evans was raised between the desert of the Inland Empire and a rural gold rush town in Northern California. She has worked on collaborative projects with traditional potters in Turkey, with her university ceramic students, with senior citizens, and with adults who have developmental disabilities. She was a contributor to the Los Angeles Urban Rangers and is a founding member of Play the LA River. She has presented projects and publications at MOCA, the Portland Art Museum, the Long Beach Museum of Art, and the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art. She lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.

Ariana Jacob

Ariana Jacob makes artwork that uses conversation as medium and as a subjective research method. Her work explores experiences of interdependence and disconnection, questions her own idealistic beliefs, and investigates how people make culture and culture makes people. She received her MFA in Art & Social Practice from Portland State University. Her work has been included in the NW Biennial at the Tacoma Art Museum, Disjecta’s Portland 2012 Biennial, The Open Engagement Conference and the Discourse and Discord Symposium at the Walker Art Center.

Arianna Warner

Arianna Warner is a current Art and Social Practice MFA student who has created a social wellness art practice that utilizes the body as exhibition space, the body as a studio, institutional critiques on healthcare, and medical records as form.

Avalon Kalin

Avalon Kalin is an artist who makes documentary and social art connnected to everyday life. He was the co-author of The Subconscious Art of Graffiti Removal film produced by Matt Mccormick and he studied under the first Social Practice MFA program with Harrell Fletcher at Portland State University. His work has shown in major institutions and perhaps more importantly between friends. Recently, he has begun collaborating with his wife Posie Kalin designing installations and products.

Bijan Berahimi

Bijan Berahimi is a Portland (via Los Angeles) based graphic designer who received his BFA from CalArts in 2013. Shortly after graduating he relocated to Portland to work on the 2014 World Cup for Nike Football. While at CalArts, Berahimi founded FISK, an online/print journal and the now annual CalArts Print Fair. Berahimi currently operates his own design practice working for both commercial and cultural clients. In addition he continues to develop FISK which now has a physical gallery space in Portland. Berahimi is a general instigator for the development and integration of design in his community .

Burke Jam

Burke Jam was born and raised in rural Montana. He received a BA in Art in 2006, and an MFA in Sculpture in 2013 from the University of Montana. He received a Fulbright Grant in 2013/14 to Iceland where spent a year of research synthesizing the relationship between physical place, environmental sound and perceptual coherence. He is an Adjunct Professor of Art at Portland State University in Oregon. He works as a Smokejumper for the US Forest Service in the summer months.

Carmen Papalia

Carmen Papalia designs experiences that invite participants to expand their perceptual mobility and to claim access to public and institutional spaces. His work has been featured in exhibitions and engagements at such venues as the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art.

Cassie Thornton

Cassie Thornton is an artist who is sometimes referred to as the Feminist Economics Department (the FED), and who works in collusion with Strike Debt in Oakland, California. Her work investigates and reveals the impact of governmental and economic systems on public affect, behavior, and unconscious, with a focus on debt and security. Cassie’s recent works offer regular people an alternate route to find ‘financial success’ by making opportunities for them to develop and honor complex personal narratives that replace credit scores, for dreams to weigh heavier than data, and for value to stand up and divorce that nasty cheating money.

Christine Wong Yap

Christine is currently a c3:studio resident at c3:initiative as she prepares new work for a solo exhibition opening on June 4th at The Portland ‘Pataphysical Society. Born in California, Christine Wong Yap holds a BFA and MFA from the California College of the Arts. Her work has been exhibited extensively in the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as in New York, Los Angeles, Manila, Osaka, Poland, and Manchester. Recent exhibitions include Make Things (Happen) at Interface Gallery in Oakland, CA and Happiness Is... at Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, CA.

Her work has been supported by the Queens Council on the Arts, the Jerome Foundation, the Center for Cultural Innovation, and the Murphy Fellowship in the Fine Arts. A longtime resident of Oakland, CA, she relocated to New York, NY in 2010. She is a current member of Ortega y Gasset Projects artists collective.

Christopher Michlig

Christopher Michlig makes work in a wide range of media, including collage, printmaking, sculpture and video. The primary focus of Michlig’s practice is the manipulation of public formats of communication – such as posters and kiosks -  to explore, expose, and upend the aesthetics and poetics of urban space. His work has been exhibited internationally, most recently in one-person exhibitions at Marine Contemporary, Los Angeles; VOLTA 8 Basel, Switzerland; Galleria Giuseppe Pero, Milan; and Devening Projects + Editions, Chicago. His work has been published and reviewed in a number of publications. Michlig received an MFA in Sculpture from Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, California in 2007.

David Fletcher

David Fletcher is an urban designer and landscape architect, professor, and writer. His work addresses process, urbanized watersheds, green infrastructure, and post-industrial urbanism. David was recently an Artist in Residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts, in the category of Architecture and the Environment.

David is a principal at Fletcher Studio, an innovative and award winning collaborative practice based in San Francisco. The firm provides comprehensive professional services in landscape architecture, urban design and environmental planning and works on a range of projects including: civic spaces, housing, parks and regional planning projects. Fletcher Studio is committed to a collaborativeand contextual approach to spatial design practice and to the planning of unique and sustainable landscapes, urban spaces and living infrastructures.

Derek Hamm

Derek Hamm splits his time between teaching graphic design at a liberal arts college in rural Kansas, pursuing his MFA in art and social practice at an urban university in the northwest, and working on freelance and collaborative projects. He returned to his hometown of Hillsboro, KS (pop. 2,903) and uses it as a base from which to explore the ways that art and design intersect with education, rural life, and community. He seeks to make the familiar unfamiliar and and unfamiliar familiar.

Emily Carr University of Art + Design

Dr. Cameron Cartiere is an associate professor, practitioner, writer and researcher specializing in public art, curatorial practice, urban renewal, and environmental issues. Her forthcoming book is The Everyday Practice of Public Art: Art, Space, and Social Inclusion (Routledge, 2015).

Many of the students from Emily Carr University of Art + Design who are attending Assembly, are in the Social Practice and Community Engagement (SPACE) minor. SPACE is an interdisciplinary minor housed within the Faculty of Culture + Community, for students in any Degree program, which allows them to focus on social practice, ecology and sustainability, documentary practices or community projects as a Minor for their degree.

Emily Fitzgerald

Emily Fitzgerald is a photographer, artist and storyteller. Her work explores the nuance and complexity of personal identity and its relationship to family, community and culture. She uses video, photography and socially engaged forms to create work that values collaboration, co-authorship and ethical-representation.

Gemma-Rose Turnbull

Gemma-Rose Turnbull instigates photo-based projects that examine how the integration of collaborative strategies can catalyse social change agendas. She is a PhD candidate at The University of Queensland, Australia, a Scholar in Residence in the Social Practice program at Portland State University and writes at Photography As A Social Practice.


Guestwork is one of the many partnerships between artists Erin Charpentier and Travis Neel. As serial collaborators, we are deeply invested in developing our capacity to cooperate. We produce participatory events, exhibitions, and publications that allow us to unpack power dynamics and test our idealism in the politics of everyday life.

Helene Fischman

Helene Fischman is an artist and educator from Oakland, California. She holds a BFA in Painting from Boston University, an MS in Education from California State University, Hayward and is currently an MFA candidate at UW-Milwaukee in interdisciplinary studio arts.

Julie Ault

Julie Ault’s practice is artistic, curatorial, and editorial; she works both independently and in ongoing and temporary collaborative constellations.

Lee Walton

Lee Walton is an Experientialist. His original plan was to play centerfield for the S.F. Giants. His back up plan was to become an artist. Walton’s practice includes drawing, performance, system- based events and new media. Walton has been commissioned by museums, institutions and cities both nationally and internationally.

Mark Menjivar

Mark Menjivar is an artist and Assistant Professor in the School of Art + Design at Texas State University.

Michael Reinsch

Michael Reinsch is a multidisciplinary artist based in Portland, Oregon. His work incorporates performance and activated sculptural props to explore human connection and disconnection, often through themes of celebration and melancholy. He has exhibited at FalseFront, PDX Contemporary, Haybatch!, and was an artist in TBA:11 with Gallery Walk. Michael is a founding member of Conceptual Oregon Performance School, or C.O.P.S.

Michael Rohd

Michael Rohd is founding artistic director of Sojourn Theatre, a sixteen-year old ensemble-based company and a 2005 recipient of Americans for the Arts’ Animating Democracy Exemplar Award.  He devises and directs new work around the nation and is on faculty at Northwestern University, where he helps lead the MFA Directing Program. He wrote the widely translated book Theatre for Community, Conflict, and Dialogue (15th printing, Heinemann Press, 1998). He leads Center for Performance and Civic Practice, an ongoing body of activity comprised of research, programs and projects that aim to make visible the power of the arts to demonstrably increase civic capacity. Rohd's work with the Center, Sojourn, and in non-arts sector settings around the nation focuses on social practice and civic practice cross-disciplinary projects through collaboratively designed arts-based engagement and participation strategies. He is the 2013-2016 Doris Duke Artist-in-Residence at Lookingglass Theater Company in Chicago. Recent/current projects include leading a two year Sojourn Artist-in-Residence collaboration with Catholic Charities USA poverty reduction sites around the US; a Sojourn partnership with Planning Commissions around the country utilizing civic practice in public engagement settings to help communities deal with difficult conversations and resource allotment; and collaborating with theaters and universities around the country to mount locally specific projects based on Sojourn's model performance/engagement process/production How To End Poverty in 90 Minutes.

Patricia Vazquez Gomez

Patricia Vázquez works and lives between Portland, OR and Mexico City. Based on 7 years of experience as community based organizer and educator, she has created videos, installations, books and events with and about the immigrant communities of the places she has lived in. She is also a committed painter and printmaker.

Phoebe Davies

Phoebe Davies is a UK based artist and is currently a Social Practice Fellow on the British Council’s International Cultural Exchange Program 2015 in association with PSU.  

Phoebe Davies’ practice is defined by its location and context, investigating and exploring how people perceive their social framework. She works in response to and in collaboration with individuals and communities. She generates work through instruction, discussion and live interaction, which may be initiated by an individual or group but completed or extended by others. She works across media, her outcomes are project dependent from text, installation, performance, audio, film and photography.
Her work is often ephemeral and chanced upon, existing primarily in pedestrian spaces as well as in galleries and institutions, including: Tate Britain (London), Whitechapel Gallery (London), Arnolfini (Bristol), Tramway (Glasgow), Fierce Festival (Birmingham), South London Gallery (London) and Camden Arts Centre (London).  In 2015 she is showing touring internationally to Steirischer Herbst, Graz (AU) and Johannesburg (SA) within the British Council SA-UK programme.

Renee Sills

Renee Sills is an MFA candidate in the Art & Social Practice program and has been teaching dance, experimental movement, yoga and anatomy for nearly a decade. Her work focuses on experiential learning, group processes of catharsis, transcendence and ceremony. She synthesizes tools and techniques for physical conditioning, kinesthetic awareness, emotional intelligence, and improvisation to create collaborative and evolving choreographies that seek to both express and understand questions of purpose, power and politics.

Roz Crews

Roz Crews is a multidisciplinary artist who has curated and produced a variety of events and projects in Oregon, Maine, Washington, and several southern states. She studied public archaeology and community engagement during college, and she is now the Artist in Residence in Portland State University’s Housing & Residence Life department. Born in Gainesville, Florida, she lives in Portland, Oregon.

Strike Debt PDX

Strike Debt Portland builds a movement of strikers resisting all forms of oppressive debt and demands economic alternatives. We work to redefine debt so that our societal obligations are to our friends, our families, our communities and our civic values, not to the banks or the 1%.

Tamara Lynne

Tamara Lynne has been performing since the street theatre of her youth in small-town Oregon, and is passionate about theatre as a process of transformation and empowerment. Since 2001 when she first trained with Augusto Boal, she has offered Theatre of the Oppressed workshops to the Portland community.

Tere Mathern

Tere Mathern, head of PSU Dance program, teaches Modern Dance Lab, Contemporary Dance History, as well as courses such Dance in Film, Body Work/ Somatics, Improvisation and Choreography. She is an educator, choreographer, performer, and arts administrator of over 25 years, is the artistic director of Conduit Dance, and formed her own project- based company, Tere Mathern Dance, in 2002.

Zach Gough

Zach Gough is a person, artist, and student/teacher that works collaboratively and responsively with other artists, community groups and organizations to promote alternative economic systems and toward deconstructing the capitalist viral value paradigm and it’s manifestations. He often uses participatory and immaterial media, such as radio and performance, to address materialist concerns, such as labour, power, debt, education, and liberation.

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