Performance, collaborative research, and teaching for health, justice, and community-building.

Background for It Is In You

Guiding Values

Priorities for communication during events, workshops, or longterm-projects are three-part:

(A) to produce knowledge and culture collaboratively

(B) to understand and potentially change behavior contextually

(C) to share tactics for reforming institutions collectively.

In the U.S., in East Africa, and in South Asia, Marie's collaborations in classrooms, performance productions, and arts-based cross-cultural exchanges have focused on topics such as: social support and cultures of response to advanced cancers; HIV/AIDS and politics of community development at the local level and international level; environmental racism, migration, and land displacement; performance-oriented movements for women’s and LGBTQ rights; and interrogating histories of inner-city violence and poverty through the lens of conflict transformation.

Paying attention to heroes of hers, Marie orients her research and teaching toward a two-fold way of understanding any issue:

  • First, to generate more nuanced understandings of social inequities and economic dysfunctions that shape our local communities and their global contexts.
  • Second, to identify and support community-generated insights and resources for intervention from among affected groups. These resources may be devoted to claiming individuals' lived dignity, restoring institutional rights, and revealing and seeking to transform oppressive systems.

Specific to each circumstance, It is In You projects are committed to hosting space for participants and audiences to formulate their priorities through lenses appropriate to their pursuits--e.g., health justice for coal ash-affected communities, or patient advocacy through deepened clinical and community partnerships, or site-specific conflict transformation education for undergraduate and K-12 students partnering with community non-profits doing anti-violence work.

Engaged Scholarship

As a PhD candidate in Communication at UNC Chapel Hill, Marie focuses on Performance Studies and Communication for Social Change, with a certificate in Interdisciplinary Health Communication. At UNC-CH, Marie teaches and designs courses  in Cultural Difference (Cultural Diversity), Performance Ethnography (Performance and Culture), Performance and Social Change, Introduction to Performance, and special topics service-learning in Communication and African, African-American and Diaspora Studies. Her research is both informed by and informs It Is In You projects like Flipping Cancer and I'm Not Done; through which Marie offers health communication and performance workshops for patients, caregivers, healthcare providers, and policy-focused advocates for health justice.


Creative Communication for Civic Change

Marie is a certified InterPlay leader, with programmatic experience in Arts + Social Change and workshops for persons and communities facing cancer, and health-related inequities. With gratitude, Marie currently trains with the African American Dance Ensemble (apprentice dancer), and is an actor with Theater Delta (touring periodically for research-based forum theater on health and social change issues). She's honored to collaborate in ongoing live performance and organizing/advocacy work for the Forward Together Movement (NAACP NC), WomenNC and International Women’s Day, Triangle Interfaith Alliance; and is co-founder of the Triangle Dance Festival for AIDS with Dr. “Baba” Chuck Davis. As led by loving investments from teachers, mentors, fellow artists and collaborators, her projects “It is In You: Health Justice Performance in Tanzania” (2008-2011) and “Flipping Cancer.” (2014-) have toured nationally and internationally to conferences, clinics, and classrooms, as keynotes and in residencies.