Center for the Advancement of Public Action
Problems proliferate. From income inequality to climate change, from failing schools to failed states, from exiled histories to foreclosed futures, our present is beset by challenges. Many of these entrenched and emergent problems seem just beyond the scope of a liberal arts education. What might it mean to more directly orient the liberal arts around these complex problems, not just in contemplation of them but with a deliberate aim to intervene in them? How can artists, scholars, and scientists collaborate and contribute to finding effective solutions to these problems? How can the classroom be expanded to foster new linkages between thought and action, the classroom and the outside world? What new insights and capacities are now needed to enact meaningful change?
The Center for the Advancement of Public Action (CAPA) at Bennington College responds to the urgent problems of our current world, discovers what one needs to know to understand them, and acts to implement solutions. Rooted in the liberal arts with a commitment to public action, CAPA teaches the essential capacities needed to develop an educated and emboldened citizenry. Through initiatives and curriculum, CAPA leverages the classroom as a new kind of studio for innovation and informed change. With engaged scholarship, community partnerships, and creative problem-solving strategies that draw on the skills of conflict resolution, complex systems analysis, and research and design, CAPA addresses the issues of our time from a novel vantage point: action.
The CAPA Newsletter is a student-run project with the mission of developing the CAPA community.
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CAPA Initiatives are multi-year programs that respond to urgent problems in the world. The goal of CAPA Initiatives is to build publics—communities of interest and involvement—around pressing concerns. These initiatives creatively assemble the resources of Bennington College around a specific issue and connect them to external stakeholders and organizations. This includes courses from across disciplines at the college; extracurricular and Field Work Term opportunities for students; trainings and workshops for local and college community members; curated exhibitions and engaged social practices in art; conferences that convene stakeholders and advance new solutions; and publications or programs that extend the work of CAPA Initiatives into wider audiences. CAPA Initiatives are designed in collaboration with local, national, and/or international groups and result in public action to foster better infrastructure, enable and create sustainable design, and to promote human rights.
Educating students on what it means to participate in a democracy by understanding and engaging with our governance systems.
Art in the Public Realm
Supporting artists as change agents through the vital role they play in shaping thriving and sustainable communities.
Environment and Public Action
Building healthy environments through developing and enhancing sustainable water, energy, and food systems.
Human Rights and Peacebuilding
Working to resolve conflict, build peace, and establish a just and equitable society through local, national, and global partnerships.
Using the Bennington Plan Process as a model to help the community youth gain ownership of their educational path.
By Izzy Mozer '19
Musician and faculty member Susie Ibarra is working with David Hertz, a Brazilian chef and a World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leader, around the launch of Refettorio Gastromotiva, a food and cultural center that will repurpose 12 tons of food from the Olympics to turn it into nutritious meals for the neediest of Rio.
The Department of Education announced today that Bennington College was among the colleges and universities selected from a competitive national pool to participate in the Second Chance Pell pilot program.
On Wednesday, June 29, the Vermont state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) hosted a community meeting at Bennington College to discuss the ongoing PFOA issue in the region. David Bond, associate director of CAPA and principal investigator of the College's research on PFOA, provided an update on the work thus far.
Spring 2016 Conference
Dates | May 6–7, 2016
Location | Bennington College, CAPA Symposium
Registration | Free and open to the public
Contact | firstname.lastname@example.org
David Bond, associate director of the Center for the Advancement of Public Action, spoke with Vermont Public Radio about a course being taught at Bennington College about PFOA.
Faculty member Janet Foley recently spoke with NPR about about PFOA. She, David Bond, and Tim Schroeder are teaching a course beginning next week.
Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin hosted a community meeting at Bennington College with nearby residents of North Bennington.
David Bond, Tim Schroeder, and Janet Foley spoke with WAMC about the research into PFOA.
Faculty members David Bond, Janet Foley, and Tim Schroeder spoke about the upcoming work on the NSF-funded research into PFOA.
CAPA is housed in a state-of-the-art facility designed by award-winning architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien. It blends the studio of the artist, the laboratory of the scientist, the think tank of the policymaker, and the town square of the citizen.
What kind of world ARE we making? What kind of world SHOULD we be making? What kind of world CAN we be making? – Elizabeth Coleman, President Emeritus, founding director of CAPA