Liz Sevcenko


Liz Ševčenko is founding director of the Humanities Action Lab.  She started HAL at The New School in New York City and now leads it from Rutgers University-Newark.  HAL grew out of the Guantánamo Public Memory Project, an international collaboration of universities and organizations that Ševčenko launched 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 Guantánamo 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. 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. In 2017 she was awarded a Rome Prize in historic preservation from the American Academy in Rome to complete her forthcoming book, Public Memory for the Post-Truth Era. She received her M.A. in history from New York University.

Margie Weinstein

Associate Director

Margie Weinstein is the Associate Director of the Humanities Action Lab, overseeing research and operations for the coalition.  Prior to HAL, she was the Strategy and Innovation Fellow in the NYC Mayor’s Office of Tech and Innovation.  In that capacity she coordinated and oversaw the launch of the city’s first top-level domain, .nyc, as well as created city-wide online platforms for civic engagement across all five boroughs.  She joined city government from the Education Department of the Whitney Museum where she worked for over a decade, most recently as the Manager of Education Initiatives, overseeing all adult public programs for the institution.  She has a Ph.D. in Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature.

Raquel Escobar

Public Engagement Manager

Raquel Escobar is the Public Engagement Manager and Mellon/ACLS Public Fellow for the Humanities Action Lab. In this role, she oversees Climates of Inequality and the COVID Crisis: Building Leadership at Minority Serving Institutions, a new Mellon funded national initiative to build infrastructure for minority-serving colleges and universities (MSIs) to foster public humanities climate leaders in a world changed by COVID-19. She also oversees HAL's new mass listening project, currently in the collecting phase, that centers the intersection of COVID-19 and Climates of Inequality from frontline communities' perspectives. This project will become a new collective multi-media, translocal public history project created by HAL partners. Raquel received her Ph.D. in History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she specialized in comparative race and ethnicity and completed a graduate minor in American Indian & Indigenous Studies. 

Richard Anderson

Public Programming and Exhibitions Manager

Richard Anderson is the Public Programming and Exhibitions Manager and Mellon/ACLS Public Fellow for the Humanities Action Lab. In this role, he supports the local staging of States of Incarceration and Climates of Inequality, working with HAL’s university and community partners to design collaborative, justice-centered public programs. Prior to joining HAL, Richard spent two years as a postdoctoral scholar in The Humanities Institute at Pennsylvania State University, coordinating community engagement efforts and developing and implementing the curricular and outreach components of the Institute’s Mellon-supported Public Humanities Initiative. He also co-caught undergraduate public humanities courses rooted in community-based partnerships. Richard’s article “Taking Labor History Public” appeared in the March 2020 issue of Labor: Studies in Working-Class History. He is currently working on a book manuscript, Windy City Spoils: Machine Politics and Liberalism in Richard J. Daley’s Chicago. Since 2015 Richard has been an editor for the NCPH blog, History@Work and currently serves on the organization’s Advocacy Committee and Digital Media Group. He received a Ph.D. in U.S. History from Princeton University.

Leora Fuller

Learning and Coalition Facilitator

Leora Fuller (she/her) is a trans artist, organizer, and facilitator currently teaching at Rutgers University-Newark (RU-N) and working as the Learning and Coalition Facilitator for the Humanities Action Lab. Her passion is supporting students and working people telling their own stories in ways that evoke the past and present to imagine radical utopian futures. Leora has organized classes on decolonizing the NY-NJ region, environmental justice, subaltern history, and trans mutual aid, often incorporating new technologies such as AR/VR and digital mapping. As a member of HAL she helped organize and facilitated the 2019 Climates of Inequality Gathering, the 2020 Summer Sessions, and the upcoming Translocal Learning Studio. She has taught at New York University, led storytelling and learning workshops at the New School and the CUNY Grad Center, and curated several exhibits as co-founder of the Below the Grid Lab including “Haunted Files: The Eugenics Record Office,” “Lost Streets: Seward Park’s Fight for Housing Justice” and “In the Shadow of the Highway: Robert Moses and the Battle for Downtown.”

Kristyn Scorsone

Graduate Assistant

Kristyn Scorsone is a doctoral candidate in the American Studies program at Rutgers University-Newark. As a graduate assistant for the Humanities Action Lab (HAL), Kristyn assists with exhibitions and events as well as manages HAL’s websites and social media platforms. Outside of her work with HAL, she is active with the Queer Newark Oral History Project (QNOHP). Through QNOHP, she has conducted over two dozen oral history interviews, produced and hosted the QNOHP podcast, helped design and lead QNOHP walking tours, managed volunteers, and was a part of the curatorial team for the traveling exhibit, At Home in Newark: Stories from the Queer Newark Oral History Project. Her writing has appeared in The Public Historian, Notches, Out History, Out in New Jersey, and Los Angeles Music Blog. She is currently serving on the National Council on Public History (NCPH) Board-Led Subcommittee on Gender Discrimination and Sexual Harassment and completing a residency with Monument Lab. Pronouns: she/they.

Nabeehah Sivanesan

Administrative Manager

Nabeehah Sivanesan is a current undergraduate student at Rutgers University-Newark majoring in Biology. She is a part of the Honors Living-Learning Community and BOLD Women's Leadership Network. Some of her current and past efforts have been centered around mentoring youth in Newark and engaging in dialogue around the topic of education within Newark.

Piper Anderson

Director of the Rikers Public Memory Project

Piper Anderson is an award-winning writer, educator, cultural strategist, and Founder of Create Forward, a social impact firm delivering creative strategies for social change. In spring 2016, Anderson was awarded a TED Residency to develop an innovative art-and-design project called Mass Story Lab. Mass Story Lab is traveling to cities across the U.S using storytelling, dialogue, and creativity to imagine a world beyond prisons. Piper Anderson is a Professor at NYU’s Gallatin School, teaching courses on arts and education as interventions into the juvenile justice/criminal justice system. She’s also a founding member of the steering committee and faculty of NYU’s Prison Education Program.

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