An IDEO + Sundance Institute production

Conversations that move

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Home is a notion that only the uprooted can comprehend

Wallace Stegner

Creative Tensions is a conversation that moves.

What is home? Is it a place, a feeling, an identity? Is it safety or belonging? Does it come with us when we move or do we leave it behind?

In partnership with Orient Productions (Cairo, Egypt) and Arab Arts Focus​ at the Edinburgh Festival, Sundance Institute Theatre Program and IDEO present Creative Tensions: Home to explore what home means to us as we experience unprecedented migration across the globe.

Featuring Hanane Hajj Ali (Lebanese artist and activist) and Alison Phipps (Glasgow Refugee Asylum and Migration Network). Moderated by Philip Himberg (Artistic Director, Sundance Institute Theatre Program).

August 22, 2017
Roundabout at Summerhall
Edinburgh, Scotland

Hanane Hajj Ali

Hanane Hajj Ali is an artist, activist, researcher, consultant, and trainer; a prominent figure in the cultural and artistic scene in the Arab region. Throughout her career, she completed several regional and international tours, and performed in prestigious theatres and festivals.​ ​Beside her renowned artistic activity, Hanane Hajj Ali is a founder and board member of several cultural institutions and artistic organizations in the Arab world such as Culture Resource - Al Mawred Athaqafy, Action For Hope, and Ettijahat - Independent Culture. She has participated in the design, elaboration, implementation and monitoring of several regional and national programs of cultural management, cultural leadership, and cultural policies. She has edited and wrote books and guides in cultural and artistic research, cultural management, and cultural policy.​ ​She is a member of the UNESCO Expert Facility of the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

Alison Phipps

Alison Phipps is the UNESCO Chair in Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts at the University of Glasgow, Professor of Languages and Intercultural Studies, and Co-Convener of Glasgow Refugee, Asylum and Migration Network (GRAMNET). She is Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Waikato University, Aotearoa New Zealand, was Thinker in Residence at the EU Hawke Centre, University of South Australia in 2016, and Principal Investigator for the £2 million AHRC Large Grant ‘Researching Multilingually at the Borders of Language, the body, law and the state.’ In 2012 she received an OBE for Services to Education and Intercultural and Interreligious Relations in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and of the Academy of Social Sciences.​ ​She has produced and directed theatre and worked as dramaturg and creative liturgist with the World Council of Churches from 2008-2011 during the Decade to Overcome Violence. ​She is regularly advises public, governmental and third sector bodies on migration, arts and languages policy and participated recently in a witness-bearing visit to Calais for Scottish Members of the Home Affairs Select Committee.​


Creative Tensions is a fresh approach to dialogue.

Creative Tensions is not a panel; it's a conversation that moves. Reflecting on a tension between two poles, participants reveal where they stand on an issue by where they stand—and move—in the room. Exploring topics that lie at the heart of what it means to be human, Creative Tensions is a fresh approach to group dialogue that encourages openness and inspires empathy.

Creative Tensions: Empathy at 2017 Sundance Film Fesitval with Anand Giridharadas and Gael García Bernal, moderated by Philip Himberg

Creative Tensions: Action at CreativeMorningsNYC with Lisa Peterson and Purvi Shah, moderated by Fred Dust.

What inhibits our sexual lives more?

Government & Society

Past Events

  • Truth
  • Sex
  • Action
  • Dream
  • Home
  • Empathy
  • Connection
  • Voice
  • Responsibility


A Partnership

It began as a conversation

When IDEO and the Sundance Institute Theatre Program sat down to collaborate, we immediately recognized a common desire to bring creativity to unexpected places. What unusual experience could we create together for our audiences? We decided to experiment by combining elements from each of our methods - empathy and observation from human centered design, movement and self-reflection from theater. The result is Creative Tensions, a unique live event series where participatory theater meets collective conversation.