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Team Members

Humanities Action Lab
The New School

The Humanities Action Lab (HAL) is a collaboration of 20 universities, led by The New School, working with issue based organizations and public spaces to:

  • Foster new public dialogue on contested, deadlocked social issues, through public humanities projects that explore the diverse local histories and current realities of shared global concerns.
  • Open space for experimentation and innovation in how design and the humanities can help confront urgent social problems.
  • Combine and connect the diverse local perspectives of communities around the world, to create widely applicable and flexible models.
  • Create new public humanities prototypes that take on difficult issues and experiment with untested formats.


Liz Ševčenko was inspired to develop HAL after launching the Guantanamo Public Memory Project, an international collaboration of universities and organizations, which she coordinated from Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights, to build a global conversation about the past, present, and future of the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay. Ševčenko was Founding Director of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, a network of historic sites that foster public dialogue on pressing contemporary issues. Starting in 1999 as a meeting of nine sites under the auspices of the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, she grew the Coalition into an independent organization with over 250 members in more than 40 countries. As Coalition Director, Ševčenko worked with diverse communities to design replicable programs and practices that reflect on past struggles and inspire citizens to become involved in addressing their contemporary legacies. Prior to starting the Coalition, Ševčenko served as Vice President for Programs at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, developing exhibits and educational activities that connect the stories of the neighborhood’s immigrants past and present. She also created national and community initiatives to inspire civic dialogue on cultural identity, labor relations, housing, welfare, immigration, and other issues raised by these stories. She has published extensively on Sites of Conscience in journals and edited volumes in a variety of fields, from human rights to cultural heritage to transitional justice. She received her BA in history from Yale University and her MA in history from New York University.

Director of Engagement Strategies
Director of Engagement Strategies

Piper Anderson, is the founder and chief creative strategist at Create Forward. She founded Create Forward as the most purposeful next step in her life long journey to understand the mechanics of social transformation. A journey that has taken her into Zapatista communities in the mountains of Chiapas, Mexico, the mural colored cathedral streets of Bushwick, to the hilly byways of Rwanda, across the south after Katrina to 'find our folk', and to prisons and youth jails in over 26 U.S cities. It's work that keeps her entering Rikers Island, Sing Sing, Grateford, Wallkill, and so many other imprisoned spaces where many fail to see beauty and humanity. After all the places she has been called to do her work and those traveled places still to come, she believes more deeply than ever that we create change when we ask the right questions, change the optics: adding light and new perspective. We create change when we imagine the impossible and use the principals of strong human centered design to make it real.