Diversity Fellow Project, Brian Be

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H.I. = Having InterDependence. Live Interactive Arts Workshops with Acting, Improv & Movement Games for people with and without disability

H.I. = Having InterDependence. Live Interactive Arts Workshops with Acting, Improv & Movement Games for people with and without disability [download poster]

meet Brian Be >

Project Narrative

1. Please describe your activities during your fellowship experience. Describe your final capstone project(s).
Live Interactive Arts Workshops called H.I. = Having Interdependence.
H.I. Workshops help us all get to know ourselves better and meet new people, especially people with and without a disability. We do this through playing games and movement. H.I. Workshops help people with and without disability play together. When we say "Hi" it’s in fun new ways, we start connecting more. The goal is not just independence, but to embrace, celebrate & expand by Having Interdependence. Contact Brian Be; BeArtsWellness@gmail.com.

Here are some parts of H.I. Workshops

Here is what I/we did to complete this project:
  • Co-developed the workshop activities in collaboration with Phamaly Theatre, a theater company for performers with disabilities
  • Facilitated ongoing communication with stakeholders (JFK Partners, AnyThink Libraries, Phamaly Theater, co-facilitator/mentors)
  • Publicized the events through flyers, social media and word of mouth
  • Delivered the workshops
  • Recruited other Self-Advocates to help facilitate sections of the workshop
  • Completed three workshops in 2018 at community libraries. Two more scheduled for August 2018.

2. Who did your project inform, help, influence or impact? (UCEDD, individual, community, state) How?
from Jacob E., Self-Advocate "What impact has doing these workshops had on you?" All in all, I've become better at speaking, listening, and adapting with these workshops. It took a long time to get me comfortable in front of crowds, but these workshops allow me to dig deep within myself for different communication methods. When I'm spreading the joy, I feel it benefits the attendees AND me. These opportunities are important, not just for me, but for those with disabilities who wish to broaden their skills.”

from Kelly W., Parent – “It is very important for my son Sean to be able to actively participate in his community as so many great experiences include novel elements - like new people, new settings. Typically by the time Sean relaxes enough to actively participate, the opportunity has passed. If he can open up sooner, and be part of activities that have new aspects, he will have so many more opportunities. Thanks for this workshop.”

from DJ, Participant – “I felt more comfortable doing the interactive activities, sharing and dancing than I would have with a fully neurotypical group. Illustrating the concept of interdependence through activities where we had to depend on others was a great reminder that we all have value and something important to contribute.”

3. Why did you choose to work on that project(s)?
I am a person with a disability, as well as an actor and dancer. Through improv and movement I find ways to explore to Be human, to accept who I am, and thus to accept others. This project combined what I enjoy doing with the project for the Fellowship.

4. What did you gain from being a Diversity Fellow?

  • Faculty mentorship from a committee who helped sculpt my project into a community-based, systems change project for a diverse group of people, which happens to be people with disabilities.
  • Learned how community wellness groups or programs can combine with H.I. workshops to enhance connection. In such a disconnected world, we can better our quality of life.
  • Opportunity to submit to present my project at a national AUCD conference where I may meet more partners such as other Diversity Fellows and Self-Advocates.
  • As a Self-Advocate, this experience helped me expand what I am able to provide as a consultant and entrepreneur for the community. It gave me opportunity to meet and work with new community partners and self-advocates.

5. How will this experience impact your education or career decisions?
I now have a Live Interactive Arts Workshop for sale. I am expanding my consultation work. Arc thrift stores has offered to buy this Workshop for me to support their internal leadership program called arc University.

6. What are your future goals? Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
Current goals include:

  • Incite others to buy, co-deliver and foster growing participation in the workshops 
  • Build a team of co-facilitators (who in turn build new teams)
  • Expand the workshops to a sustainable business model with a host & partner(s)

Future goals include:

  • Expand H.I. to include pre and post sessions to increase engagement and foster transfer of skills into other community projects or chosen next steps. This may be fundraising, game night, job clubs, crafting or whatever they take on.
  • Implement I/DD Peer Mentor models delivered to fidelity with implementation science. Develop and deliver this model focused on Prevention, Resiliency & Capacity Building. Then we expand beyond targeting I/DD populations. Examples; refugees, executives, overworked underpaid high burnout Human Service agency workers, intercultural groups fostering empathy, medical campus resiliency boosting, etc.

7. What recommendations do you have for other Fellows?
Jump in. It's a confusing ball of wax, but such is life. Mentors help guide us.
Find ways to engage with community partners and self-advocates in your project and in your work.
Connect with AUCD and other Fellows.
Continue as a lifelong learner and join other life learners. Some of these can be found among UCEDD, AUCD, LEND, other community leadership opportunities and even among artists.
Find a variety of perspectives and voices to provide input into your projects and work.
End-user/stakeholder co-designers as teammates makes our outcomes so much richer and your reach so much further. Build your team. Lean on your team.


  • Having Interdependence; to have it = we give & receive. Recovery and resiliency is not only possible, it’s wonderful to just Be, to explore and even just breathe.
  • It can start as simple as a breath, ..and then your special way to say “hi.”

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