Key-note Speakers

Rhoda Bernard

Lecture Title: Accessible Arts Education: Personal, Philosophical, Political, and Practical Perspectives on Arts Education for People with Disabilities

Rhoda Bernard, Ed.D. is the Founding Managing Director of the Institute for Accessible Arts Education and the Assistant Chair of the Music Education Department at Berklee College of Music. She holds a Bachelor of Arts cum laude in government from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Music with academic honors in jazz voice from New England Conservatory. She earned both her Master of Education and Doctor of Education degrees from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Bernard regularly presents keynote presentations and research at conferences throughout the United States and abroad, and she provides professional development workshops for educators in local, national, and international forums. Her work has been published in several book chapters and in numerous journals, including Music Educators Journal; Music Education Research; Action, Criticism, and Theory for Music Education; Mountain Lake Reader; and Arts and Learning Research Journal. Bernard has been honored with the Irene Buck Service to Arts Education Award (2023), the Berklee Urban Service Award (2017), the Boston Conservatory Community Service Award (2011), the Boston Conservatory Faculty/Staff Spirit Award (2007), and the Outstanding Dissertation Award, Honorable Mention (Second Place) from the Arts and Learning Special Interest Group of the American Educational Research Association. An active arts education advocate, she is the immediate past chair of the Arts Education Advisory Council of Americans for the Arts, and she serves on their speakers bureau. A vocalist and pianist who specializes in jazz music and Jewish music in Yiddish and Hebrew, she performs regularly with a number of klezmer bands and has recorded two CDs with the band Klezamir.

Volker Ludwig

Volker Ludwig

Lecture Title: The world is full of contradictions and injustice

Volker Ludwig was born Eckart Hachfeld in Ludwigshafen in 1937. He spent his childhood in Erfurt, Neudietendorf and Hamburg. He has been a Berliner since 1953.
He studied German and art history in Berlin and Munich and also wrote commentaries and texts for radio and cabaret ("Die Rückblende", "Die Stachelschweine" and others). In 1961 he became a trainee at RIAS and from 1962 a freelance writer (he wrote texts for the television series "Hallo Nachbarn" and for cabarets such as "Bügelbrett", "Kom(m)ödchen", with Wolfgang Neuss, Harald Juhnke).
In 1965 he founded the "Reichskabaretts Berlin", of which he was the director and main author until 1971, and also wrote songs for "Sesamstraße" and "Rappelkiste". In 1969 he takes over the "Theater für Kinder im Reichskabarett", since 1972 called GRIPS, and reorganises it. He was its director until 2011 and its managing director until 2016.
Volker Ludwig wrote 37 plays for children, young people and adults, often with co-authors, as well as the songs for another 16 plays. He is re-enacted in over 50 countries. He is still a consultant to the GRIPS Theatre today.

Cecily O’Neill

Lecture Title: Makers of the future

Cecily O’Neill is an international authority on process drama and the arts in education. She is an Associate Professor Emerita at the Ohio State University, where she established the programme in Drama Education. She holds a PhD in Theatre from the University of Exeter and an Honorary Fellowship from the University of Winchester and is a visiting lecturer at New York University. She works with teachers, students, actors and playwrights both nationally and internationally.
She has written several influential books on the theory and practice of drama including Drama Worlds (1996) also published in Complex Chinese in 2021; Dorothy Heathcote: Essential Writings (2014); Words into Worlds: Learning a Second Language through Process Drama (Kao and O’Neill, 1998); Dreamseekers: Creative Approaches to the African American Heritage (Manley and O’Neill, 1997).
Structure and Spontaneity, a collection of her writings, was published in 2006 (Taylor and Warner).
Cecily is artistic director of 2TimeTheatre, a performance and publishing venture based in Winchester, UK.


A significant factor in this event’s tremendous success is its appeal to leaders from so many different disciplines.

The conference will draw a national audience of local elected officials and city and county staff; state and federal agency leaders; professionals in planning, transportation, public health, landscape architecture, architecture, public works, parks and recreation, and crime prevention and the arts; realtors, developers, builders and bankers; advocates for equity and environmental justice, youth, older adults, and walking and biking; labor representatives; school leaders and staff; environmentalists; and all others committed to building safer, healthier and more livable communities everywhere.

The 2019

The nation’s largest smart growth and sustainability event places a strong emphasis on implementation tools, innovative strategies and new technologies that will help communities NOW!

The program will span three days with pre- and post-conference mobile workshops. The main program will kick off on Thursday afternoon, February 1, with a plenary starting at 1:30 PM, and continue through Saturday morning, February 3, closing at approximately 12:30 PM.
The 2018 conference program will feature eight focused thematic tracks that will provide participants an opportunity for a more dynamic, hands-on learning experience. Each track will be designed to create a peer cohort of practitioners that leave with a new tools, strategies, models and templates to integrate into their work.

Participants, as always, will be able to attend sessions across tracks. Additionally, coordinated keynotes and networking activities will be included throughout the program to ensure that participants are learning and networking with a broad, multi-disciplinary national audience.
The 2018 program will also include NEW, dynamic interactive session formats to maximize participant engagement because we recognize that our participants have experiences, observations, successes and challenges to contribute to the dialogue around smart growth implementation.


By bringing together so many different thinkers, practitioners, activists, community leaders and policymakers from an ever-evolving spectrum of disciplines, New Partners has guided a strong and diverse movement grounded in the values of sustainable communities for over a decade.

The origins of this conference can be traced to late 1995 when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency first launched its Smart Growth Program. As part of this effort, the EPA sought to organize a national conference that would focus on environmentally sensitive growth and development.

In 2001, the LGC partnered with the Centers for Disease Control, the California Department of Transportation and Penn State University to produce a “first of its kind” national, multidisciplinary event titled “Redesigning Community: A Smart Growth Approach to Street and Neighborhood Design, Crime Prevention, and Public Health and Safety” in San Diego.

Over the past decade, the basic principles of smart growth have not changed, but the realization of their importance continues to grow as more civic leaders, professionals, and interest groups recognize smart growth as a solution to the challenges in their communities. Thanks to a trail blazed by determined and visionary pioneers, smart growth is now widely and rightfully understood as a necessary, if not sufficient, way of addressing many of the most difficult economic, environmental, and social challenges we face today in communities across the country.