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Laurie Marshall
Your Pitch

I'm using Creative Collaboration to Help Rewire the Human Race from seeing Difference as Danger to seeing Difference as Opportunity. I'm inviting the world to make a painting together, using trees and forests as the models, as we envision the world we want to live in and the path to get there.


The human race is at a perilous point where our ancient hardwiring for tribal loyalty and suspicion of the "Other" is standing in the way of the global cooperation needed to get through coming climate chaos. Creative, collaborative experiences actually rewire our bodies so the neural pathways of curiosity, experimentation and trust become stronger. I'm offering a planetary project to do just that, inspired by an 8 year old girl who asked, "What if the whole world made a painting together?" That was in 1999. Of course, I had no idea how to do that, until I looked to the profound guidance from nature. Trees and forests are the model for this collaborative process. So far, 40 murals have been made by 15,000 people from 50 countries have been created. It's called the Singing Tree project, and it is part of a "Peacebuilding through Art" effort. I made the Sarajevo Singing Tree for Renewed Togetherness last June with youth leadership from all three ethnic groups in Bosnia who hosted 500 people to have conversation and creativity about building a more trusting Sarajevo. For thirty years, I’ve used the visual art, storytelling and research with young people, their families and their schools to beat the odds in rural, urban and suburban public school settings – unleashing self-confidence, unending creativity, a love of learning and a collaborative spirit. I'm a certified K-12 social studies and art teacher with radical ideas about how to engage young people and enroll their fresh vision and hope in building a thriving, sustainable and fulfilling world. In addition, I use creativity, visual art, mural making, and storytelling in consensus building, conflict prevention and values clarification (all useful in beating the odds) with government organizations (NASA, Department of Interior, Army Corps of Engineers) businesses (Oracle, Global Innovation Summit) and social service agencies (Hospitals, Hospices and Foster Homes). You can see more of my art at As a mother, feminist, Quaker, I am passionate about creating a world that works for all - for the sake of seven generations from now. I would like to share what I’ve learned with teachers, parents and leaders around the world. around the world. Unity Through Creativity is now partnered with Create Peace Project, based in San Francisco. I’m also proud to be doing bully prevention training around the U.S. with Community Matters, which is based in Sebastopol, CA. I'm the author of 11 original plays and 7 self-published books, including Beating the Odds Now - 10 Steps for Teachers to Meet the Standards and Still Love What You Do!"

United States
Project-based Learning, Nature-based Learning, Story-based Learning