Asante Children's Theatre collab with Conner Prairie

Let’s have an honest conversation about race and collaboration, about larger organizations working with smaller organizations, and what it really means to collaborate. With limited resources and the overarching call to action for organizations to diversify their audiences, now more than ever it’s time to understand multiple sides of the collaboration equation. In this session, participants will learn what mutually beneficial collaborations look like, how to have an open dialogue about race, and how to develop long-term relationships built on trust.

In this session you will:

  • Learn what mutually beneficial collaborations look like.

  • Learn how to have an open dialogue about race.

  • Learn how to develop long-term relationships built on trust.

Presented by:


Rishard Allen
Grant Services and Education Partnerships Coordinator
Arts Council of Indianapolis
Indianapolis, Indiana

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Rishard Allen is the Grant Services & Education Partnerships Coordinator at the Arts Council of Indianapolis, assisting with the administration of arts education initiatives and grant programs for individual artists and arts organizations. Prior to working at the Arts Council, he was the Program Director at Arts for Learning Indiana and was an Emerging Field Leader with WolfBrown, assisting with a nationwide evaluation of the Any Given Child initiative. Rishard also serves on the Arts & Culture Leaders of Color Steering Committee for Americans for the Arts.


Keesha Dixon
Executive Director
Asante Children’s Theatre
Indianapolis, Indiana

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Keesha has been Executive Director of Asante Children’s Theatre since 2005. However she has been associated with ACT since 1993, first as a parent supporting her son’s involvement, then volunteering as the costume designer and managing director. Keesha has over 38 years of experience in nonprofit business, information systems and arts administration. Artistically, she spent ten years, as a performer with Drums of West Africa where, under the tutelage of Prince Julius Adeniyi, she toured with the Festival of Cultures showcasing the culture of the Yoruba people to school children throughout the US and Canada.


Catherine Hughes
Museum Consultant
Indianapolis, Indiana

Catherine was Director of Museum Theatre at Conner Prairie, which partnered with Asante Children's Theatre on Giving Voice: African-American's Presence in Indiana's History, which recently won the American Association for State & Local History’s Award of Excellence. A theatre practitioner, educator and researcher, Hughes founded the International Museum Theatre Alliance, has taught at IUPUI and Butler, and wrote Museum Theatre: Communicating with Visitors through Drama. She has spoken widely on the use of theatre in museums and received a PhD from Ohio State.


Khaula Murtadha
Associate Vice Chancellor, Office of Community Engagement
School of Education, IUPUI

Murtadha served as Executive Associate Dean of the IU School of Education at IUPUI from 2001 to 2007 and was previously Associate Vice Chancellor for Lifelong Learning. Murtadha was also integral in the expansion of the Center for Urban and Multicultural Education at IUPUI. A dedicated advocate of urban education, she has worked diligently to create collaborative learning opportunities involving both IUPUI and Indianapolis Public Schools students. She taught graduate coursework in school/community relations, supervision, and curriculum in the Urban Principal Preparation program, as well as doctoral seminars in race, culture and gender.


Michael Twyman

Michael R. Twyman, Ph.D. is the Principal/Owner of InExcelsis, a private consulting firm that works with institutions and corporations seeking to maximize their performance and effectiveness. Dr. Twyman has assisted many organizations with governance, cultural competency, strategic planning, fund development, program management, and evaluation. He has distinguished himself as a subject matter expert in diversity, inclusion, and equity. Twyman is currently an associate faculty member of the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.