Aysha Upchurch, the Dancing Diplomat, is a dancer, instructor, and education consultant who is committed to social justice, artistry development, and transformative education. Whether on stage or in the classroom, youth advocacy and Hip Hop are threads throughout her work.
Aysha is a sought-after presenter, facilitator, and artist. She has spoken at national conferences about artfully designing classrooms centered around equity and cultural relevance, the importance of movement in education, and embracing Hip Hop as a powerful literacy and cultural lens present in classrooms.
Aysha 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 US State Department Cultural Envoy in Dance in Bolivia, Honduras and Guatemala. She has been on faculty at George Mason University, Howard Community College, Harvard University, and Salem State University. She received her Ed.M from the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE), and as a Visiting Practitioner in Education there, 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.
Aysha joined the faculty at HGSE in fall 2018 as an Adjunct Lecturer on Education, teaching new courses on Hip Hop education and embodied learning. She is also the founder and director of HipHopEX - a collaborative lab for high school and graduate student to experience, explore, and experiment with Hop Hop arts in education.
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