Frequently Asked Questions

Who is coordinating Fuel for the Fire?

Who will lead the workshops at Fuel for the Fire?

Where will Fuel for the Fire be held? Do you provide lunch? Dinner?

What if there’s an emergency during the weekend?
How do I get in touch with you?

1. Who is coordinating Fuel for the Fire?

Fuel for the Fire is coordinated by Amnesty International Firefly Project, a NYC-based collective that produces public events, including workshops, gallery exhibitions, screenings, dialogues and discussions, conferences and festivals, and concerts. AI Firefly works to raise awareness of human rights issues and support the exchange of ideas, strategies, motives, and methods for creating art that is politically and socially engaged. Amnesty International Firefly Project is affiliated with Amnesty International USA as local group #704.

More specifically, the training weekend is coordinated by Steffani Jemison, Melissa Mackin, Brian Mackin, Deanna Anderson, and Marian Adams.

Steffani Jemison, an active member of Amnesty International since 1996, was a featured activist in AIUSA's 40th anniversary PSA campaign. In 2001, she founded the first annual leadership conference for LGBT high school students in New York City, and she has facilitated workshops on a variety of social justice issues at New York City high schools and universities as well as at conferences in NYC, Boston, and Washington DC. At Columbia University, she founded the Student Anti-Homophobia Leadership Summit, an annual skills-building conference for NYC metro area high school students who lead gay-straight alliances. Steffani Jemison has written about visual art, activism, and popular music for a variety of publications, including Planet magazine, Pop Sustainability's PopZine, Black Book magazine, and She currently works as Associate Director of Programs at Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, where she coordinates the Swing Space program.

Melissa Medina Mackin is a graphic designer, currently working as senior designer at 3rd Edge Communications, a small design firm in Jersey City dedicated primarily to design and marketing for community-based as well as international non-profit organizations. Melissa has had her work published in Print Magazine, How and Communication Arts (featured in the 2005 Green Design issue). She joined Amnesty International Firefly Project in early fall 2005, and since has contributed by leading the design of promotional materials and websites for the No one Signs Up to Become a Slave events series on issues surrounding human trafficking presented by AI Firefly in October 2005, and the Fuel for the Fire website.

Brian Mackin is a graphic designer who joined Firefly in Fall of 2005. His passion for social issues grew out of his days growing up in the Chicago Punk/Hardcore music scene where themes of social justice and political consciousness were common topics. Since entering the professional world, he has produced works for organizations dedicated to sustainable neighborhood development, a non-profit celebrating women film directors, as well as a variety of other non-profit institutions. Brian's work has been published in HOW, Print, Communication Arts, as well as a variety of books. Since joining AI Firefly, Brian has contributed to design concepts for No one Signs Up to Become a Slave 2005 events series, as well as design for the Fuel for the Fire conference.

Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Deanna Anderson began her dance training in ballet at the age of five. As a scholarship student at the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music's Professional Program, she studied from such renowned teachers as Oleg Sabline and James Truitte. While there, she danced in several ballets with the Cincinnati Ballet Company. Deanna also studied at the School of Chicago Ballet with Homer Bryant and Maria Tallchief and at the Pittsburgh Ballet School with Patricia McBride. After receiving her Bachelors of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Cincinnati where she also performed as dancer and captain of the Dance Team, she moved to New York to pursue her love of dance. In New York, she danced with the Dance Theater of Harlem Ensemble Troupe; performed and toured with the Clyde Bailey Contemporary Dance Ensemble and has performed in numerous works for the New York Fringe Festival, DanceSpace, Sound Dance, Dance Theatre Workshop, McDonalds GospelFest, George Faison and the NBA All-Star Game. She currently performs with two companies: Gehring Dance Theater and Direct Intent. Deanna is outreach coordinator for the Fuel for the Fire conference.

Marian Adams is an artist and new member of Firefly. Marian graduated from Smith College, where she studied studio art and psychology. She creates architectural renderings and works part-time as an art installer and artist assistant for artists, galleries, and non-profit organizations (including Lower Manhattan Cultural Council).

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2. Who will lead the workshops at Fuel for the Fire?

Workshop facilitators include artists working in a range of media and at various stages in their careers as emerging artists. Confirmed guests include:

The Empty Vessel Project is an action, art, and sustainability experiment. This non-profit, volunteer-run organization salvaged EV, a WWII rescue boat, to create a space for re-imagining the post-industrial urban environment. Empty Vessel is also an experiment in horizontally integrated decision making and collective ownership. Empty Vessel demonstrates that a project that promotes democratic decision making and an open and free exchange of ideas and labor can be effective in implementing and completing a series of one-time and ongoing tasks.

Nicole Opper, independent filmmaker and activist. Nicole directed the feature film Song of Hannah, a documentary about Hannah Senesh, a poet killed during the Holocaust. Opper was associate producer of the historical documentary Sacco and Vanzetti, directed and produced by Peter Miller, and ran the community outreach campaign for the NYC theatrical release of Pearl Gluck's Divan. As a founding partner of Bear Mountain Productions, Nicole recently completed a fundraising video for the Center for Agricultural Development, a non-profit and microfinance institution committed to alleviating poverty through micro-loans to underprivileged women and families in the Philippines. She has taught video production and media literacy to middle school students and is currently line producing a feature documentary about youth violence with Reveal Productions, slated to air on the Discovery Channel in 2006.

Chitra Ganesh, a visual artist and educator from New York City. From 1998-2003, Chitra was a Board Member of the South Asian Women's Creative Collective (SAWCC).  In 2003, Chitra was a featured artist in Velvet Park magazine and chosen as one of OUT magazine's top hundred people of the year.  Her work has been exhibited in Toronto, Brazil, Italy, India, and New York, including the Queens Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, Bronx Museum, Momenta Art, Bose Pacia Modern, Apex Art, and White Columns.  Chitra's work has been reviewed in Time Out New York, Art Asia Pacific Magazine, India Today, and the New York Times.  In 2004, she received the Astraea Visual Arts Award, and awarded an LMCC Workspace Residency. Awards and residencies include the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and the Henry Street Settlement Abrons Arts Center, CAA Fellowship, and the Astraea Visual Arts Fund. Upcoming residencies included the Headlands Center for the Arts and the Center for Book Arts Emerging Artist Workspace Grant.  Chitra's work is currently on view at the Queens Museum of Art, Jersey City Museum, and Shore Institute of Contemporary Art.  

Playback Theater NYC uses music, dance, freestyle hip hop and improvisational theater to transform the stories of our audience into the art of theater. Rooted in ancient story telling traditions and tempered by current poetic and musical forms, we take our script from our audiences; memories, feelings, dreams, social and political conflicts are all transformed into theater by our actors and musicians. Playback Theater was founded in 1975 in New York's Mid-Hudson Valley by Jonathan Fox, and the original Playback Theater company. It has since expanded to more than seventy companies across America in Europe, Asia, South American, the Pacific and to more than twenty countries around the world. Formed in New York City in 1998 Playback Theater (NYC) began as a collaboration between Hip Hop artist Baba Israel and theater director and actor Paul McIsaac. This inter-racial company works with techniques drawn from Playback Theater, Theater of the Oppressed, Commedia dell' Arte as well as break dancing, Dee Jaying and FreeStyle poetry.

Shira Golding has been with Arts Engine Inc. since 2002. Serving as the Director of Education & Outreach, Shira writes and commissions article, organizes workshops and screenings around the country, helps independent filmmakers develop their outreach campaigns, and develops resources for teachers and activists. Shira has moderated and appeared on panels around the country on the issues of media activism, youth media distribution and media reform. Shira graduated Magna Cum Laude from Cornell University with a dual degree in Documentary Film and English. Prior to working at MediaRights, she interned at Women Make Movies and Durrin Productions and studied at the British American Film Academy in London. Shira is founder of Third Rail Films and Co-Founder of Activist Media for Better Living.

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3. Where will Fuel for the Fire be held?
Do you provide lunch? Dinner?

Fuel for the Fire is generously hosted by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council at 125 Maiden Lane, 2nd Floor, between Water and Pearl Streets.

Click here for a bigger map and directions.

Lunch, snacks, and a light dinner will be provided both days.

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4. What if there’s an emergency during the weekend?
How do I get in touch with you?

All participants will receive a packet with more information about the weekend than you could ever need to know, including maps, addresses, and cell phone numbers. If you have questions now and would like to get in touch with us, e-mail Steffani at

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