Want a stronger team? Shine a light on employees who go unnoticed

An IdeasCityWS Discussion on Workforce Development

From the Ground Up

In October 2019, Wake Forest housekeeping staff, arborists, turf crew members, locksmiths and carpenters were among nearly 70 staff members who participated in an outdoor performance on Hearn Plaza. In “From the Ground Up,” zero turn and walking wing mowers moved in unison. A telehandler, backhoe and skid steer danced.

Two and a half years in the making, the production required a long-term commitment from the University; support and encouragement for individual employees wanting to participate in the production; and flexibility in work schedules to allow for hundreds of hours of job shadowing and practicing. Directed by Allison Orr of Forklift Danceworks, the performance elevated dedicated people whose skillful work often goes unseen.

A virtual panel discussion on Dec. 10 at 5 p.m. will take a closer look at “From the Ground Up” through the lens of workforce development. The event is free and open to the public. Registration is available here. A documentary that captures the spirit of the performances is available for viewing as background for the discussion.

The panel will be moderated by Associate Provost for the Arts and Interdisciplinary Initiatives Associate Professor Christina Soriano. Soriano is one of eight Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellows nationwide recognized for using art to positively impact communities.

Presenters include:

  • Allison Orr – Founder and artistic director of Forklift Danceworks in Austin, Texas;
  • John Shenette – Vice president of Facilities and Campus Services at Wake Forest University;
  • Stephanie Poskin – Senior director of Wake Forest Facilities Support Services & Operations;
  • Kobak Taylor – “From the Ground Up” performer and Wake Forest Facilities and Campus Services locksmith;
  • Cynthia Wilson – “From the Ground Up” performer and Wake Forest custodial department team lead; and
  • Matt Crawford – Senior theatre major from Austin, TX, and a student leader on the “From the Ground Up” project.

IdeasCity, which began as a collaborative program of the New Museum, has taken many forms over the years as a platform that builds on the premise that art and culture are essential to the future vitality of cities. Winston-Salem joins a global list of cities that have hosted IdeasCity including Athens, Detroit, Istanbul, New Orleans, New York City, São Paulo, Shanghai, Singapore, and Toronto.

Throughout the 2020-21 academic year, community partners will host events to explore creative approaches to improve health and wellbeing, economic development, and justice and equity for members of the Winston-Salem community.

For more information about IdeasCityWS visit https://ideascity.events.wfu.edu.

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