Learning from Performers

About the Learning from Performers Program

The mission at the heart of the Learning from Performers (LFP) program is that creativity and discovery are nurtured by engagement. To that end, the LFP team -- associate director for programming Alicia Anstead, program associate Deena Anderson and student assistant Memie Osuga '20, in conjunction with OFA director Jack Megan and many student co-producers -- works to develop immersive programs that put students and professional artists in the room together in creative, exciting, intellectual exchanges.
Under the OFA directorship of Myra Mayman, Learning from Performers was the brainchild of Jerold Kayden ’75, now the Frank Backus Williams Professor of Urban Planning and Design at the Graduate School of Design. Kayden and Mayman worked together to establish the program in 1975, and Kayden ran it during its inaugural year, establishing the template for what would become a thriving enterprise that continues to this day.  It was then fostered for many years by the former manager Tom Lee.
LFP hosts 15 to 20 artists and artist ensembles annually in music, dance, theater, film, TV, visual arts and inter-disciplinary arts. These artists lead workshops, master classes, seminars and informal discussions, and also engage in longer-term residencies that sometimes culminate in performances, exhibitions and new works. In recent years, LFP programs have increasingly and more deeply involved students, faculty and FAS curricular courses and other Harvard departments such as the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, JFK School of Government, the Nieman Foundation for Journalism, the Department of Music, the Graduate School of Education, the Harvard College Women's Center, the Office for BGLTQ Student Life, the Harvard Ed Portal, Harvard iLabs, Harvard Business School and more.
Highlights from the 2018-2019 season include: a master class with the Upright Citizens Brigade, a conversation with musician David Crosby, a workshop with playwright and composer Min Kahng, a conversation and performance with gospel artist Richard Smallwood, a conversation with singer and social activist Meklit Hadero, a conversation with Grammy-nominated producer and musician Terrace Martin, a songwriting workshop with composer and lyricist Timothy Huang, a performance and a master class with internationally acclaimed pianist Angela Hewitt, and a conversation with Harvard Arts Medal recipient and U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith '94. Students also enjoyed luncheon meetings with the singer Davóne Tines '09 and composer Michael Schachter '09 (collaborators on The Black Clown), members of the touring production of Hamilton, novelist Min Jin Lee, theater artist Sara Porkalob and others. 

All artist residencies are planned in close consultation with the artist, and most are open to the general public. We encourage student participation, suggestions and partnerships. For more information, contact Alicia Anstead at anstead@fas.harvard.edu