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Teaching &Other Outreach

Priya has taught courses, developed curricula, and created programs which bring historical understanding, multicultural awareness and environmental education into meaningful dialogue with each other.  

 

Priya's most significant work in university and/or community education is a program called The Island Sessions (Las Sesiones Isleñas), a public education initiative based in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Created by Priya in 2017, The Island Sessions is a course taught every spring to postgraduate students studying at public universities not only in Puerto Rico, but also other islands around the world. (It is open to any interested activists as well.)

 

Focusing primarily on the issues of climate geopolitics, disaster capitalism and the beach tourism industry (and their historical antecedents), the course is intended to foster knowledge and  solidarity among students and environmental activists on islands in the Caribbean and Mediterranean Seas, as well as the Pacific and Indian Oceans. The program provides a rare opportunity for young people to connect over shared environmental challenges and hopes. Music plays a key role in the Island Sessions, aiding in the rare service which this course provides: the creation of a shared space which negotiates, and transcends, both real and  political and cultural borders.

 

Between the years of 2017 and 2019, the program consisted of weekly co-curricular discussions for postgrad students, which in turn led to a series of music- and mindfulness-based marine education activities for public elementary schools. From 2020 to 2024, The Island Sessions developed into biweekly conversations between island studies faculty based in Puerto Rico, the US, Spain, Germany, and the UK about the global history of coastal zones. In 2025, the Island Sessions will return as a consortium course which will bring these two streams together. It will engage professors and students from Puerto Rico, St. Croix, and elsewhere to discuss an urgent issue which unites us all: the rapid and terrifying influx of luxury real estate investment on coastal zones (and the displacement of people and abuse of land that this has led to) in the aftermath of natural disasters. 

Priya's other teaching and/or outreach projects include: 

 

Currently in the process of creating a curriculum, based upon doctoral research in interdisciplinary environmental history, and featuring widely acclaimed original music, on the history of ecological (in)justice in the global tourism industry. When completed, the curriculum will serve as a guide for secondary school teachers, university faculty, and community educators to explore the relationship between tourism and the climate crisis - and empower their students to utilize their own research capabilities and creative voices to visualize socially and environmentally just alternatives.

- Co-organized Conciencias Sonoras, a conference hosted by the Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico, in April 2018. The multidisciplinary conference brought together musicians, musicologists, environmental scientists, climate activists, and journalists from Puerto Rico and around the world, to discuss the role of music in recovering from natural disasters. (The conference was held several months after Hurricane María devastated the island.) Priya co-developed the conference programme in collaboration with the Conservatorio, focusing on building climate solidarity among students and environment & arts professionals through musical dialogue.   The conference culminated in a volume of conference proceedings, for which she wrote an introduction.

- Co-produced Itinerarios Sonoros, a podcast and curriculum guide exploring the ways in which island-based music and soundscapes can help us to make sense of, recover from, and respond to the impacts of climate injustice. The podcast engaged with a variety of themes related to music and justice in the Caribbean. In addition to being co-producer of the series, Priya created the podcast's episode on island solidarity through music, and developed a curriculum to assist educators in demonstrating the ways in which music can provide a window into a nuanced understanding of environmental politics. 

- Created and co-organized a series of discussions and workshops in Washington, DC, which utilized music to foster dialogue about environmental issues, particularly as they affect islands. Developed in partnership with Mayla, these events brought together artists, activists, environmental scientists, environmental policy-makers and public health professionals from the Caribbean, North America, and the Indian Ocean.

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