Dance Center Cypher Host/Mentor
2019-20 Visiting Lecturer, Theater, Dance & Media
Aysha Upchurch is an artist, instructor, and an education consultant committed to youth advocacy, social inclusion, artistry development, and transformative education. Whether on stage or in the classroom, hip hop is a thread throughout her work. Upchurch holds an M.A. in international peace and conflict resolution from American University and combines this knowledge with hip hop to design and facilitate conflict resolution workshops for youth. Her work, at the intersection of hip hop, youth advocacy, and conflict resolution led to her selection as a U.S. State Department cultural envoy in dance to Bolivia, Honduras, and Guatemala. She has been on faculty at George Mason University, Howard Community College, Harvard University, and Salem State University.
Upchurch received her Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE), and as a visiting practitioner in education, she served as the inaugural artist-in-residence with the arts in education program, exploring the pedagogical implications of cross-disciplinary artistic collaboration, community dance cyphers, and hip hop pedagogy. In Fall 2018, she joined the HGSE faculty as an adjunct lecturer on education, teaching new courses on hip hop education and embodied learning, as well as launching and directing HipHopEX (HHEX) – a collaborative lab for high school and graduate students to experience, explore, and experiment with hip hop arts in education. In the Fall 2019-Spring 2020 semesters, Upchurch was a Visiting Lecturer on Theater, Dance & Media, teaching hip hop dance credit courses. Upchurch also hosts cyphers at Harvard Dance Center.