Toulmin Foundation Orchestral Grants 2019

The Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation announced its 2019 grants in The Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation’s Orchestra Commissioning Program for Emerging Female Composers.

These grants fund commissions for emerging female composers at selected orchestras nationwide.

The 2019 recipients are:

  • Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Dallas, TX – Composer Angelica Negron
  • Philadelphia Orchestra, Philadelphia, PA – Composer Xi Wang

The 2019 awards are part of a series of annual awards for female composers that the Foundation has made since 2013. Past grants have been made to, among others, the New York Philharmonic for Ashley Fure, Los Angeles Philharmonic for Natacha Diels and Chicago Symphony Orchestra for Amy Beth Kirsten. The Foundation also funds awards to emerging female composers through the Earshot Program, a partnership of the League of American Orchestras, the American Composers Orchestra, American Composers Forum and New Music USA, as well as awards to composers via the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and National Sawdust.

The Foundation has made numerous grants to support commissions for female composers, focusing its grantmaking on a broad diversity of voices that need to be heard. The Foundation makes similar awards to emerging female playwrights and choreographers in the fields of theater, opera, and ballet. The Foundation carries on the principles of its founder, Virginia B. Toulmin, a long-time patron of the arts, who believed in equal access and opportunity for women.

Toulmin Foundation Ballet Grants 2019

The Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation announced its 2019 grants in The Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation’s Ballet Commissioning Program for Emerging Female Choreographers.

These grants fund commissions for emerging female choreographers at selected ballet companies nationwide.

The 2019 recipients are:

  • Boston Ballet, Boston, MA – for Choreographer Lauren Flower
  • Pacific Northwest Ballet, Seattle, WA – for Choreographer Eva Stone
  • Ballet West, Salt Lake City, UT – for Choreographer Jennifer Archibald

These grants are in addition to grants previously awarded in 2019 to New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theater for their new ballets by emerging female choreographers. The 2019 awards are part of a series of annual awards for female choreographers that the Foundation has made since 2013, including to New York City Ballet for Lauren Lovett and Gianna Reisen, Dance Theater of Harlem for Claudia Schreier and Atlanta Ballet for Gemma Bond.

The Foundation has made numerous grants to support commissions for emerging female choreographers, focusing its grantmaking on a broad diversity of voices that need to be heard. The Foundation makes similar awards to emerging female playwrights and composers in the fields of theater, symphonic music and opera. The Foundation carries on the principles of its founder, Virginia B. Toulmin, a long-time patron of the arts, who believed in equal access and opportunity for women.

Toulmin Foundation Ballet School Grants 2019

The Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation announced its 2019 grants in The Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation’s Ballet Schools’ Training Program for Female Student Choreographers.

These grants fund the training of female student choreographers at selected ballet schools nationwide.

The 2019 recipients are:

  • Boston Ballet School, Boston, MA — Student Choreographic Project for the 2019/2020 Academic Year
  • Pacific Northwest Ballet, Seattle, WA – New Voices: Choreography and Process for Young Women in Dance

In past years, the Foundation has supported the schools of both Boston and Pacific Northwest Ballets for their programs to encourage, mentor and train emerging female choreographers among their students. The Foundation has also supported, and continues to support, a similar program at the School of American Ballet in New York City. The Foundation also supports commissions for female choreographers via Dance USA and at the Fall for Dance Festival at New York City Center, the Joyce Theater Ballet Festival and the Vail Dance Festival.

The Foundation has made numerous grants to support commissions for female choreographers, focusing its grant-making on a broad diversity of voices that need to be heard. The Foundation makes similar awards to emerging female playwrights and composers in the fields of theater, symphonic music and opera. The Foundation carries on the principles of its founder, Virginia B. Toulmin, a long-time patron of the arts, who believed in equal access and opportunity for women.

Toulmin Foundation Theater Grants 2019

The Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation Announced 2019 grants For Its Women Playwrights Commissioning Program.

The 2019 recipients are:

Atlantic Theater, New York, NY – Playwright Sanaz Toossi

New York Theater Workshop, New York, NY – Playwright Mfoniso Udofia

Primary Stages, New York, NY – Playwright Sarah Mantell

Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, New York, NY – Playwright Stacey Rose

The Public Theater, New York, NY – Playwright Erika Dickerson-Despenza

The Wilma Theater, Philadelphia, PA – Playwright Mary Tuomanen

Victory Gardens Theater, Chicago, IL – Playwright Masi Asare

The 2019 awards are the seventh in a series of annual awards for female playwrights that the foundation has made since 2013. Past recipients include: The Public Theater for Patricia lone Lloyd for Eve’s Song, Soho Rep for Jackie Sibblies Drury for Fairview and Culture Project for Staceyann Chin for MotherStruck!

The Foundation has made over 50 grants to support commissions for emerging female playwrights, focusing its grantmaking on a broad diversity of voices that need to be heard. The Foundation makes similar awards to emerging female composers and choreographers in the fields of opera, symphonic music and ballet. The Foundation carries on the principles of its founder, Virginia B. Toulmin, a long-time patron of the arts, who believed in equal access and opportunity for women.

Chile Expands Abortion Access

For the last two years, our partner, APROFA, has been working hard to officially register the abortion pill. The pill is actually two medications called Mifepristone and Misoprostol that safely end pregnancy when taken together. Access to it reduces barriers for many women and healthcare professionals, especially because it is non-invasive and can be done at home. The Chilean Government has finally approved APROFA’s application to register the abortion pill.

While abortion is only currently legal in certain circumstances in Chile, this win brings us a step closer in the fight for global reproductive rights.

APROFA will begin distributing the combination pill in early 2020.

Fred Sai 1924-2019

Fred Sai, though diminutive in size, was a giant at International Planned Parenthood Federation and globally for women’s rights and health.

We met far too infrequently, most memorably at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo in 1994, where Fred was the chair, and at an IPPF meeting in New Delhi in 2002 where Fred gave a rousing speech to the delegates. He had experience chairing various international conferences, experience which stood him in good stead in the contentious plenary meetings in Cairo, where there was sharp dissent to making women and women’s rights the center of family planning programs and development. After days of a small but contentious band of opponents having their say, Fred Sai declared, “Consensus has been reached” and banged his gavel, signaling the adoption of the Program of Action. It was a historic moment for women’s rights.

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I had the honor to nominate him for Lasker Award but unfortunately the Lasker Committee did not see the giant that the rest of the world saw.

I was honored when Fred presented to me the IPPF Individual Volunteer Award in 2011. I will never forget his eloquence, dedication and passion for our great cause.

 

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Indigenous women and the patriarchy of conquest

By Debora Diniz, a Brazilian anthropologist and researcher at Brown University,
and
Giselle Carino, an Argentinean political scientist and director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region (IPPF/WHR)

The word “poop” emerged from the sewers and became news in Brazil when President Bolsonaro positioned it as an environmental threat. First, he suggested disciplining one’s intestines: one should only defecate “every two days” as a means to protect the environment. Then, pressured by what many see as an attack on indigenous territories through his environmental policies, he mocked indigenous communities by stating that their “petrified poop” would render the land useless for economic exploitation. This nonsense is an authoritarian amusement of power, the “political ridiculousness” described by Marcia Tiburi: he mentioned the unmentionable in the public sphere, and his environmental policies promote deforestation and the dispossession of indigenous lands.

Bolsonaro’s vulgar maneuver is also spontaneous discourse because he views indigenous nations as human waste. The repetition of “poop” when talking about the environment is an ideological metonymy to dehumanize indigenous lives. But, since political life is chaotic, historical events can be simplified and seen as the “cause and consequence” of the abuses of power. During the same week that Bolsonaro reveled in his scatological vocabulary, 2,000 indigenous women from 120 groups met in Brasilia for the first march of indigenous women in Brazil’s history—Territory: our body, our spirit. They joined forces with 100,000 other rural women workers known as the Margarida’s March, the largest permanent movement of Latin American women. Ro’Otsitsina Xavante, who does not see herself as the leader of the indigenous women’s movement but rather as a spokeswoman said, “we want to join the Margaridas to show that we have an alliance.”

The alliance will jumpstart an effort to unravel the historic patriarchy that never ceased to exist in Latin America: indigenous and rural women are among the main victims of what Rita Segato calls “patriarchal crimes.” By joining the Margarida’s March, indigenous women are defying the patriarchal arrogance that describes them as a residue of history, while also defying the restrictive cultural rules of their participation in the “white world.” During the march, indigenous women chose to occupy a symbol of white power—the government building where indigenous health policies are elaborated. The occupation was a gesture designed to show how the indigenous massacre took place in Latin America: by the spread of disease and by the exploitation of the environment.

The violations imposed on indigenous bodies is an extension of the expropriation of indigenous territories to advance capitalism. Indigenous lands are described as “unexplored territories” and their conquest aligns with the patriarchal order of power. The expression “colonization of power” is found in Latin American critical theory to describe how the intersection between capitalism and racism is entrenched in political power throughout the region. Rita Segato prefers to call it the “conquestiality of power,” an endless male mandate for the feudalization of indigenous territories based on racism and patriarchy. It is through this framework of colonial predatory power that fascist leaders shape the war against women and the environment: the crimes of the patriarchy were already established as a hallmark of power before the spread of the misogynist world order.

If the patriarchy of “conquestiality” was perpetrated through possession and arrogance, so was the installation of the Catholic-evangelical and military order of our countries. Indigenous and rural women have suffered this permanent looting of life, as seen in the alarming rates of domestic violence and femicide in countries as diverse as Mexico, Bolivia, and Brazil. If indigenous and rural women rise up and shout “we are united and we will not be silenced,” it is up to women in the “white world” to listen and request participation in the alliance. According to Segato, all forms of power gravitate around the issue of gender. This is exactly where unexpected narratives about the perversion of patriarchal and racist power will emerge to transform politics.

REDUCING INFANT ATTACHMENT INSECURITY

REDUCING INFANT ATTACHMENT INSECURITY: A LONG-TERM APPROACH TO PROMOTING GENDER EQUALITY


The Thula Sana Project in El Salvador

El Salvador is a small country nestled in Central America, about the size of Massachusetts, with a population of 6 million. The countryside is beautiful. It’s volcanic, has stunning beaches, and its hilly roads are drawing more tourists each and every year. Coffee used to be the main crop, but now they also grow rice, beans, corn, sugar, and harvest coconuts.

But despite the natural beauty, over half the population lives in poverty, and fifth of the population lives in extreme poverty.

Sexual and reproductive rights have a long way to go in the country. Abortion care is illegal in all circumstances, including the life of the woman. Dozens of women are serving jail sentences for alleged abortions and miscarriages. Early childbearing is almost universal, with about 70% of women giving birth before reaching 18. Violence against women is endemic, with about a quarter of all women reporting being a victim of physical or sexual violence—and regardless where you are in the world, gender-based violence is severely underreported.

Poverty, lack of autonomy, limited social networks, and low level of schooling makes it challenging for young mothers. Infants whose experience with a caretaker are negative are more likely to develop attachment insecurity. Specifically, infant attachment insecurity is a result of a poor emotional relationship that does not make them feel secure, and social studies have found a clear link between infant attachment insecurity and gender-based violence. Witnessing violence and cognitive development also have an impact.

Pro-Familia, a non-profit organization in El Salvador, is dedicated to advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights in the country. Also known as the Demographic Association of El Salvador (ADS), it has twelve clinics across the country dedicated to family planning, cancer screenings, and STI testing and treatment. The organization has trained over 1000 volunteer health promoters who are well-known and trusted in their communities. Many of them do this work at great personal risk—violence against clinic staff and outreach workers is a real possibility. Outreach staff is careful to meet with gang leaders ahead of time, gain their trust, and operate with their permission.

Recently, ADS has been working on an initiative called the Thula Sana project, with the goal of evaluating whether a community-based intervention model would be successful at lessening maternal depression and promoting secure early attachment between adolescent, first-time mothers and their infants. Community outreach workers identified over sixty families to work with and divided them into two groups, a control group and one that would receive training. Those who received training would receive two ante-natal visits and 14 post-natal visits over six months. Outreach workers do a series of exercises with mother and baby to build the mother’s confidence and train her to better recognize infant needs. 

Interestingly, outreach workers found that the role of the extended family became an obstacle. In cases where there was marriage or cohabitation with parents, the adolescent was often controlled by her mother or mother-in-law and often disempowered and scared. They concluded that cooperation of the adolescent’s mother or mother-in-law was vital, so they focused on building trust with the younger mother and the extended family.  

I visited one mother, Veronica, and her daughter Angelica. They live with her parents and her brother in a home with a dirt floor. There’s no electricity or running water, and chickens and puppies roamed in and around the home. The parents and brother work on a nearly coffee plantation. 

I’ve traveled to many remote places, and one of the things that always impacts me is the hospitality and generosity that I encounter, even in the most impoverished places. Veronica roasted fresh coffee beans, bought us pastries, and made the best coffee I have ever had. Her family had been angry when they found out she had gotten pregnant, and even angrier when her partner left to live with another woman—whom he also got pregnant. But, “you can’t abandon your family,” her mother said. 

Veronica was most appreciative of learning how to breast feed, and how to observe what her baby was doing and how to respond to her actions. Angelica lived up to her name, she was bubbly and clearly comfortable with her mother, her grandmother, and eventually, me. It was a beautiful experience. 

The second home we visited belonged to Julia and her husband, Esteban. It was made out of cinder blocks, had electricity, running water, and even a fridge. But it was in a rough area, so we had to take vehicles that were familiar to the local gangs to avoid creating suspicion. The outreach workers even wore ADS vests that identify them whenever they go into the neighborhood (in the moment, I had wished they had given me one too!)  

Julia was thankful for the training. She particularly enjoyed the encouragement to express her emotions—in Salvadoran culture, women are sometimes conditioned to suffer quietly and endure whatever is thrown their way. She was also thankful to have somebody to answer the many questions she had about child-rearing, and was so inspired by the training she decided to become a volunteer for ADS. She now organizes other mothers in neighborhoods and provides information on family planning. 

The unsung heroes of the program, though, are the outreach workers themselves. Many of them are mothers, and despite the dangers, they are fearlessly committed to their work. Their compassion, dedication, and professionalism is reflected by the affectionate bonds they created with adolescent mothers in need.

The results of the program are inspiring. When compared to the control group, the intervention proved to create stronger bonds between mothers and their infants. It provided adolescent mothers with parenting skills, improved their communication, and taught them tools to deal with conflict management and stress. Most importantly, the feedback from the mothers who participated was overwhelmingly positive. There was also little opposition from gang members to the program, even though one of the long-term goals of the program is to reduce violent tendencies. 

ADS receives no funding from the Salvadoran government, nor does it receive foreign aid. It does receive funding from the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), and ADS would like to expand the program across El Salvador. The positive results from the project inspired other non-profits within the IPPF network to get involved in similar efforts to prevent gender-based violence. Iniciativas Sanitarias in Uruguay, for example, is working with public health authorities to train midwives using the Thula Sana methodology. Most exciting are the plans in the works to scale up the intervention to encourage secure attachment between infant and primary care giver, a factor that plays an unfortunate role in long-term chances of gender-based violence.  

Profamilia Colombia

I paid a visit last week to the Profamilia clinic in Cartagena, Colombia. The waiting rooms were full of women seeking education and clinical services. The clinic offers full sexual and reproductive health care, including GYN surgery, tubals, vasectomies and surgical and medical abortions (85% of women choose medical abortion). They see about 3,000 patients a month. The staff was dedicated, hard working and focused on providing what the clients need.

I met two dozen youth educators, 3 boys and the balance girls – we clearly need more boys in the mix. There were outgoing, ebullient and knowledgable, ready to give answers to teens who need answers.