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CONCEPT: Freedom

CONCEPT: Freedom was a three-day summit addressing the topic of human trafficking. Built on the collaborative efforts of campus and community organizations, this forum of expression provided opportunities for education and, ultimately, action. With choral music as its centerpiece, the weekend engaged performers and participants through the visual arts, movement, music, theater, film, fashion, and civil discourse. These complimentary forces joined together to fight this most pressing human rights issue.

programming //

very young girls

Girls Like Us, the memoir of survivor-leader Rachel Lloyd,  served as the structure for the keynote performance of the summit. Each musical selection represented a chapter from her book. Lloyd's writing vacillates between her voice as a victim, an educator, and as an advocate. For each chapter, the ensemble assumed a parrallel role. The performance was fully staged, with lighting design, and included props. Between each chapter, the stage was darkened, and a quote from Lloyd's book was cast on the wall. The distillation of each chapter served as an introduction to the associated piece. Following the performance, Lloyd served as the keynote speaker for the weekend.



Prologue  Tota Pulchra Es  //  Maurice Duruflé
...but mostly she's eager to be loved.

Collective voice as teacher.

Learning  We Have Come  //  Abbie Betinis does make a difference.

Collective voice as exhorter.

Risk  Chandelier (solo)  //  Sia

...a flashing neon sign for danger, abuse, a tragic ending.

Collective voice as victim.

Family  The Island of Souls (solo)  //  Sting need for much's already been done.
Collective voice as teacher.

Recruitment  Überlebensgröß  //  Stephen Hatfield

...the trap is set.

Collective voice as teacher.

Pimps  My Man (solo)  //  Maurice Yvain

...stopping the glorification would be enough for now.
Collective voice as victim.

Johns  Barcarole Chorus  //  Jacques Offenbach

...most just don't care.

Collective voice as victim.

Victims  Suffer No Grief  //  Abbie Betinis

...the experience of victimization is often disparaged at best.

Collective voice as victim.

Cops  Billy the Kid (solo)  //  Libby Larson

...there are undoubtedly good cops, and still some with an outright disdain for the girls.

Collective voice as teacher.

Staying  Closer to the Fire  //  Abbie Betinis

...isolated. exploited. her entire world becomes pimps, johns, and other victims.

Collective voice as teacher.

Leaving  I Cannot Dance O Lord  //  Stephen Paulus

...if she believes she has options, resources, somewhere to go.

Collective voice as teacher.

Relapse  I Loves You Porgy (duet)  //  George Gershwin allows us to pick up one cigarette or drink after years of hard-earned freedom.

Collective voice as teacher.

Unlearning  Watching the Moon at Midnight  //  Stephen Paulus unraveling a twisted ball of yarn; each distorted belief leads to another.

Collective voice as teacher.

Stigma  Inflammatus es accensus  //  G. Pergolesi

...nothing I did, no one I met, would erase...

Collective voice as victim.

Healing  Hope Carol  //  David Conte is not enough to provide food, shelter, and clothing.

Collective voice as exhorter.

Leadership  Our Time Has Come  //  Moira Smiley girls begin to find their own voice.

Collective voice as exhorter.

Beginnings  Bright Morning Stars (TTBB)  //  Shawn Kirchner

...that's how I think about the girls...precious stones.

Collective voice as exhorter.


choregie //

lights, movement.sound

CONCEPT:Freedom marks my most ambitious implementation of the principles taught by Slovenian conductor, Karmina Šilec. In her work (which she calls Choregie), scenic design, lighting design, and movement are equal partners with vocal (largely ensemble) music in communicating an artistic vision. The video clip below demonstrates a performance designed in the practice of Choregie. 



arts summit //


Thursday, January 29  //  Film Screening: Very Young Girls 


Very Young Girls is an exposé of the commercial sexual exploitation of girls in New York City as they are sold on the streets by pimps and treated as adult criminals by police. The film follows barely-adolescent girls in real time, using vérité and intimate interviews with them, documenting their struggles and triumphs as they seek to exit the commercial sex industry. The film also uses startling footage shot by pimps themselves, giving a rare glimpse into how the cycle of exploitation begins for many women.

The film identifies hope for these girls in the organization GEMS (Girls Educational and Mentoring Services), a recovery agency founded and run by Rachel Lloyd, herself a survivor of commercial sexual exploitation. Very Young Girls will change the way society as a whole looks at the commercial sexual exploitation, street prostitution, and human trafficking.

Description drawn from linked website.

Friday, January 30  //  Women's Glee Club CONCEPT: Freedom  


At age 23 , Rachel Lloyd founded Girls' Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS). Driven by the lack of services for  trafficked girls and the incredible punishment they faced from service providers, law enforcement, the courts, family and society, she has helped shift the perception of trafficked girls from criminals to victims, and now to survivors and leaders. GEMS is now the largest service provider of its kind in the nation providing intensive services and support to over 350 girls and young women, preventive outreach and education to 1,500 youth. 


The Women’s Glee Club presented a sonic rendering of Rachel’s book Girls Like Us. Each chapter was paired with a musical selection. The evening finished with the keynote address given by Ms. Lloyd.

Biography drawn from linked website.

Saturday, January 31  //  Women's Festival Chorus and Unchained

Women of all ages participated in the CONCEPT: Freedom Festival Chorus. Rehearsal will begin at 9 a.m. and continued throughout the day, culminating in a performance at 4 p.m. (free and open to the public). In addition to musical collaboration, participants attended interest sessions in the afternoon. The following sessions educated and empowered attendees to make a difference in their local communities:


Self-Defense - RAD Bryan Thompson

Victim Treatment - Crime & Trauma Assistance Program at Mt. Carmel

Empowerment Program for Juvenile Victims - Franklin County Juvenile Court

Survivor's Ink - Jennifer Kempton

Justice for Children Project - Professor Kim Jordan & Emily Dunlap

Education Resources for Victims - Godman Guild

She Has a Name - David Schermerhorn

Human Trafficking 101 - Salvation Army

Get Involved Locally - Salvation Army

Body Ownership and Personal Rights - Bodysense OSU

Stockholm Syndrome - Dr. Lisa Cravens Brown

The Process of Healing/Activism as a Student - Sexual Violence Support at OSU

Rahab's Hideaway - Marlene Carson

Work Opportunities/Social Enterprise for Victims - Freedom ala Carte

The festival closed with a presentation of Unchained.

Unchained is a performance art fashion show designed to ignite abolitionists to the cause. Unchained provides a holistic approach to activism by raising awareness, preventing recruitment among youth in schools, and working towards the restoration of survivors. Designed by Project Runway’s Korto Momolu, the collection was first purposed to celebrate women in the aftermath of the Liberian Civil War. For Unchained, a narration shares the journey of a female human trafficking survivor from innocence to violation to restoration.


Prior to the show, the honorable Judge Paul Herbert, founder of the Catch Court was a guest speaker.

In conjunction with the festival, we focused our fund-raising efforts to benefit the work of late Survivor-Leader, Jennifer Kempton. Her organization, Survivor's Ink, provides funding to survivors who have been branded by their pimps. To raise funding, we partnered with local photographer, Eileah Ohning, to create an installation. Each photograph purchased by a patron provided enough funding to de-brand one woman. By the festival's end, we successfully raised enough funding to de-brand eighteen women. 


Photography Installation  //  Women of The Well


Conversations with local survivors who meet weekly at The Well, a service of the Salvation Army, inspired the installation. Their words were transformed into images.


© 2018 by KRISTINA CASWELL MACMULLEN. Proudly created with

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