Nisha Sajnani, PhD, RDT-BCT is a member of the HPRT faculty. She has expertise in the role of the arts in global mental health with an emphasis on theatre practice. Dr. Sajnani hosts an international network on the arts and displacement and is a recipient of the Corann Okorodudu Global Women’s Advocacy Award from the Society for the Psychology of Women from the American Psychological Association.
Dr. Sajnani is an Associate Professor and Director of Global Interdisciplinary Studies; Coordinator, Clinical Mental Health Counseling: Drama Therapy MA program; Advisor, Expressive Therapies PhD program, and fellow of the Institute of the Arts and Health at Lesley University. As an educator, she has been an advocate of culturally responsive communities of practice. She developed hybrid courses on cultural responsibility and in the arts therapies and provides faculty mentorship in this area. A program innovator, she co-developed gender sensitive, arts-based programs including Amplify, a national training in transformative pedagogy offered through the Girls Action Foundation and a widely implemented trauma-informed school-based program called Animating Learning by Integrating and Validating Experience (ALIVE), in New Haven, CT.
As an artist, Dr. Sajnani brings together oral history and performance to examine violence, identity, place, justice, and memory. Between 2007-2012, she co-directed the Living Histories Ensemble (LHE), an applied theatre company that worked with communities displaced by genocide and human rights violations. The LHE has worked with survivor-educators and their descendants at the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Center, families recreating home after the Rwandan and Cambodian genocides, and communities persecuted as a result of their gender and sexual identities. In 2014, Dr. Sajnani directed “Under Pressure,” a performance collage about the Boston Marathon bombing. “Lives That Matter,”a documentary play on race, power, and hashtag activism in America followed in March, 2015. She recently co-curated an exhibit with photographer Oscar Palacio entitled “Mapping Home: A Global Crisis of Place” which features photographs of what constitutes a ‘healing environment’ from first responders and resettlement specialists around the world (June 16-September 30th, 2016 at Washburn Gallery, Lesley University)
Dr. Sajnani has published numerous articles and presents internationally. Her work may be found in Diverse Issues in Higher Education, Alt. Theatre: Cultural Diversity and the Stage, Arts in Psychotherapy, Drama Therapy Review, Journal of Applied Arts and Health, Canadian Theatre Review, and Canadian Womens’ Studies. She is the co-editor of Trauma-Informed Drama Therapy (2014), on the editorial board for the Arts in Psychotherapy, and editor-in-chief of Drama Therapy Review, an international, peer-reviewed journal about theatre and wellbeing.
Her most recent work ‘On Being Home’ appears in HPRT Poet Laureate Marjorie Agosin’s collection entitled Home: An Imagined Landscape (Solis Press, 2016).