Creative Placemaking Across the Political Divide

CreativePlace Podcast | April 12, 2019

Is it possible to get liberals and conservatives to talk about politics without resorting to name calling? What if there were a way to get ordinary people from both sides of the political divide to discuss politics and policy using art and a creative process? We interviewed Washington D.C.-based creative placemaker Philippa Hughes when we were together at the 2019 Tom Tom Festival and Summit for a panel on creative placemaking. Hear her tell the story about how her curiosity about people's political views prompted her to start Blueberries and Cherries, a series of dinners that puts 'blue' and 'red' people together over dinner for civil discourse and how those dinners have evolved into larger events at art venues. Our interview took place in early April just as she was about to bring her concept to six other cities in the United States in collaboration with New American Economy and the American University School of Public Affairs.

Listen here.


Belonging, Civility, Ugh: What Happens When Commonly Held Ideals Backfire

Kojo Nnamdi Show | November 20, 2018

A sense of belonging. A desire for civility. Both seem necessary for a welcoming and respectful society, especially during the holiday season.

But what happens when these ideas backfire? Social justice advocate Howard Ross says our desire for belonging can have negative effects when we create community out of people who only reflect our own experiences. And academic Lara Schwartz says calls for civility are too often deployed as a rulebook for those already sitting at the top.

Guest host Marc Fisher discusses better ways to think about belonging and civil discourse with two experts, and a Washingtonian trying to promote discourse in a fractured political landscape.

Listen here.


Ep. 3 Blueberries & Cherries: Connecting Through Dinner and Art

Sanity Pod | Audrey Scagnelli | November 8, 2018

Following the 2016 election, Philippa Hughes realized she didn’t know a single Trump voter and set out to change that by hosting small bipartisan dinner parties – “Blueberries and Cherries” – at her home. This in part led to the creation of A (GOOD) AMERICAN,” an art show sponsored by American University School of Public Affairs and The Pink Line Project that examines the immigrant experience and celebrates what it means to be an American. For Sanity’s first live episode, we traveled to Washington D.C. to help kick off a 50-person bipartisan dinner party celebrating the art exhibit at the Heurich House Museum with the show’s brainchild.

Listen to the podcast.

Trump Fans And Foes Break Bread At Washington Dinner Party

WAMU | Carmel Delshad | March 13, 2017

It’s Tuesday night and Philippa Hughes is putting together the finishing touches on dinner. The smell of chicken baking in a cast iron pan floats through the air as water and coconut milk boil on the stove. Hughes is hosting a dinner party for strangers to talk politics over pasta. It’s an idea that could very easily get messy, and maybe that’s only appropriate for an idea borne from a messy presidential election.

Read More

This Clinton fan invited Trump supporters for dinner. Healing divides isn’t so easy.

PBS News Hour | Rhana Natour | March 7, 2017  

An hour before her dinner guests were set to arrive, Philippa Hughes was surprisingly prepared. “The entire menu tonight is red and blue themed,” the 48-year-old art curator said giddily as she laid out a platter of blue corn chips, red grapes and blue cheese. Her colorful apartment in the U Street neighborhood of Washington, D.C. was filled with the smell of roast beef; a pot of linguine simmered on the stovetop.

Read More


Pop Your Political Bubble

U.S News | Susannah Wellford | February 7, 2017

"She is a liberal and didn't vote for Trump, but she approached the dinners with no agenda beyond getting everyone a little closer to understanding where the other side is coming from."

Read More


What’s It Like To Be A Trump Supporter In D.C.?

Kojo Nnamdi Show | January 12, 2017 

"Jeff Giesea says he isn’t what most people expect a Trump supporter to be – he’s a gay, Stanford-educated resident of a city Hillary Clinton carried by over 90 percent. But Giesea says broad stereotypes are part of the problem with modern politics, where common ground is often hard to find."

Philippa joins the show at 22:14 and invites Jeff to dinner!

Read and Listen More


Arts Advocate Hosts 'Trump Dinner' To Meet Supporters Of President-Elect

DCist |  Rachel Kurzuiz | December 13, 2016

"Like many Washingtonians wondering "WTF now?" Hughes is trying to figure out what to do in the wake of Donald Trump's surprise victory."

Read More