Director of Cultural Strategies
Nayantara Sen is a cultural and narrative strategist, a network builder and a racial justice educator and trainer. At Race Forward, she facilitates racial justice workshops to support movement organizations and non-profits, and develops curricula, strategies and programs for racial equity. She supports the growth and development of Race Forward’s Narrative and Cultural Strategies work, which aims to build cultures and narratives that create healing, justice and power for communities of color.
She is the program designer and manager of the Racial Equity in the Arts Innovation Lab in New York City, which is equipping 58 arts and cultural organizations with racial equity practices and prototypes. Nayantara uses her background in arts administration, her education in arts and humanities, and her personal creative practice in storytelling to organize the national arts and culture sector for increased cultural equity. Nayantara is also the Co-founder and Co-Principal of Art/Work Practice, LLC, a West-coast based consulting firm and collective of artists and cultural strategists that works at the intersections of arts, culture and organizational change in order to build cultures and conditions for equity.
Since the mid 2000’s, Nayantara has trained thousands of non-profit and philanthropic sector professionals, students, teachers, administrators, funders, grassroots activists, labor organizers, public health and social service workers. Previously, Nayantara worked as an arts administrator in film festivals, community theatre, and production and curation. She has held positions such as the Program Director at the East Lansing Film Festival in Michigan, the Community Programs Producer at the Foundry Theatre in New York City, Program Manager at the Brooklyn Historical Society, and Director of Communications at EmcArts.
Nayantara’s work is informed by a deep understanding of narrative, storytelling, cultural vibrancy and change management. She is trained in oral history interviewing, interdisciplinary program design and curation for social justice. As the Program Manager for Crossing Borders, Bridging Generations, the award-winning oral history archive and public programming series on mixed-race families and politics at the Brooklyn Historical Society, Nayantara curated public programs that addressed the intersections of race, gender, class, media and art. She currently travels nationally to deliver workshops and talks on a wide range of topics including: racial equity, innovation and the arts, structural storytelling, fictional storytelling, narrative design, media and lit criticism, and science/speculative fiction for racial equity.
Nayantara is an Affiliate Trainer with the Interaction Institute for Social Change in Boston, and sits on the training bench for the Center for Racial Justice in Education in New York City. She is the documentarian of the Creative Transformations reports through NOCDNY (Naturally Occurring Cultural Districts NY), which capture systemic change efforts within arts, culture and public housing in New York City, as well as the author of Race Forward’s Better Together reports on bridging the LGBTQ and racial justice movements.
Nayantara has a M.A in Postcolonial Literature, Social Movements and Creative Fiction Writing. She lives in Oakland, California, and writes short stories featuring themes of migration, nostalgia, home and belonging.