Events | Special in-person Student Council on "Democracy and Vulnerability" with “Radical Daughters”

Los Angeles | July 18, 2024

Thomas Mann House, Los Angeles | 7 p.m. (PT) | By invitation only

In a special in-person episode this summer, the student council interviews "Radical Daughters" at the Thomas Mann House on July 18. Since 2019, "Radical Daughters," a group of performance artists and educators from Germany, have been inspiring effective, extraordinary forms of political participation through their interactive workshops. Their training plan of action, art, and politics is designed to ignite the spark – to show how easy it can be to take action.

Climate crisis, racism, political populisms: In light of such challenges, the world needs radical ideas and new impulses for action to tackle this current political climate. Above all, courage is needed, as well as an invigorated engagement with democratic values. Where are the new visions and practices of political engagement in times of vulnerable democracies? The workshops of “Radical Daughters" offer an introduction to methods and tactics of artistic activism which support fundamental democratic values such as liberty, equality, equity, and solidarity. They propose the so-called “courage muscle training,” which aims at transforming political anger into political courage and action. Their approach encourages to make use of the diverse repertoire of artistic activism to express concerns and discomfort whilst investing in finding new ways to address them. In a conversation with the student council, they will address questions of political education, such as what politics is, how we can make democracies more resilient, and how we can be more courageous.


By invitation only. A recording of the event will be available shortly after the event.

July Speakers

© Maike Kenn

Cesy Leonard is an action artist, speaker, and founder of the “Radikale Töchter” - inspiring people through political art to act and stand up for democracy, freedom, equality, brotherhood, and sisterhood. She studied acting in Berlin and worked in film, television, and theater. Often experiencing what it meant to have to conform to a clichéd image of a woman led her to start directing her own films. Her 2012 film “Guilt - The Barbarism of Europe” awarded her various prizes, such as the Web Video Award. In 2012, she joined the artistic staff of the collective “Center for Political Beauty,” which promotes pressing political issues through their art. Seeing how art, in particular, has the power to mobilize people to act is the inspiration behind the “Radikale Töchter.” Funded by the “Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung” as a model project, the team works to strengthen democracy in the former GDR.

© Christiane Deibel

Josephin Haardt studied International Relations and Economics in Erfurt. She has been working as a project manager and managing director of the "Radical Daughters" since April 2019. This is where her interests in democracy, sisterhood, and organizational talent come together.





Watch our May interview with internationally renowned artist and eductor Catherine Opie

You can watch previous episodes on YouTube, listen to the recordings on dublab radio, or read our students' recap on the Thomas Mann House blog.


Meet our 2024 Student Council

Sara Abrahamsson is a fourth-year student at UCLA studying Art History and French. As a culmination of her artistic and academic interest in political graphics, Sara is currently writing her senior thesis paper on the internationalist poster art of post-revolutionary Cuba. Upon graduating, she plans to continue working in museums before pursuing graduate studies in Art History or Art Conservation.

Amy Cabrales is a First-Generation fourth-year undergraduate student at UCLA, studying Sociology and the Russian Language. She is a Mexican-American, Los Angeles native born in Lynwood, California. Her career interests include cross-cultural education via museum work or language instruction and immigrant resettlement, while her academic interests include immigrant integration and self-identity across immigrant generations. She is anticipating returning to Almaty, Kazakhstan for the 2024-25 academic year to inform these interests and advance her Russian proficiency.

Elsa Coony is a fourth-year student at the University of California, Los Angeles double majoring in Global Studies and German. She has previously worked at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum as both a docent and translator and is excited to join this year's council. In the future, she hopes to pursue a career in international development.

Biruke Dix is currently a 2nd year student at UCLA studying Applied Mathematics. He joined the Wende Student Council in 2024 and is deeply invested in the ever-changing properties of art as well as social habits. He hopes that he can create language and conversation that promotes the spread of cultural shifts and social justice.

Matthew Jones is a third-year PhD student in Claremont Graduate University’s Cultural Studies and Museum Studies program. His research currently explores how sites connected to authoritarian regimes function as pilgrimage destinations and what strategies states and institutions employ to reduce extremist attachment at these sites. He is thrilled to continue his training with the Wende Museum through this collaboration with the Thomas Mann House.

Emma Larson is a master's student at Columbia University's Harriman Institute of Russian, Eurasian, and Eastern European Studies. There, she focuses on the gender, social, and political history of Central Asia. Before starting at Columbia, Emma taught English in Kazakhstan with the Fulbright Program. She graduated from Williams College with degrees in History and Russian in 2021.

Zora Nelson is a current undergraduate student at New York University,  where she is studying Harp Performance and Media, Culture, and Communication.  As an east coaster born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, she discovered the Wende Museum in the summer of 2022 and is honored to be a part of the council. With a passion for writing, Zora sees a future in storytelling to promote social justice.

Lexi Tooley is a current sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania majoring in Political Science and Art History, minoring in Chinese Language and Culture. She is originally from Los Angeles, California, and attended the Archer School for Girls. Lexi has been working with the Wende Museum for the past 2 years. She looks forward to continuing the search for truth and examining the vulnerability of democracy through this program!

The event series is a collaboration with the Wende Museum Culver City, dublab and the Thomas Mann House Los Angeles.

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