Thanks for joining us at frank2020.

Watch the talks and relive all the emotions.

Once more, with feeling…

frank is back for its seventh year, and at this gathering we’re going to play with your emotions.

Or at least how you can intentionally use emotion in your work. We’ll dive in, as frank does, with the research-informed insights and actionable examples from the field. Plus plenty of time to explore, connect with old friends or make new ones in the funky Floridian February escape so many look forward to throughout the year.

Awe. Fear. Pride. Anger. Love. Hope.

What role do these play in the chasm between awareness and action? How do emotions inspire action or apathy? Are we more likely to act out of hope or despair? Pride or anger? And what role do our emotions play in connecting us or pushing us apart?

We’ll explore each — and more — in depth during our curated main stage talks. Then head off to “Recess” a few times each day for smaller group discussions.

The frank headquarters is the Hippodrome State Theater and the Hampton Inn and Suites in Downtown Gainesville. We also have a block of rooms at the the new AC Hotel Marriott and the Holiday Inn.

Hampton Inn and Suites – 0.1 miles away

AC Marriott Gainesville – 1.2 miles away
Walk or take free shuttle

Holiday Inn – 1.1 miles away
Walk or take free shuttle

Take a look at our speakers for frank

Comedian and Activist

Lizz Winstead

Lizz Winstead has built her amazing career hilariously responding to the world. As co-creator and head writer of ​Comedy Central’s​ “The Daily Show,” Winstead has forever changed the way people get their news. As co-founder of Air America Radio, she hosted her own show called  “Unfiltered”, sharing the mic every morning with the amazing Rachel Maddow and Hip Hop legend, Chuck D. As a stand-up she continues to tour, bringing her rapid response brand of comedy to theatres across the country and in 2014, was initiated into the Harvard Lampoon.  

Winstead has now taken her satirical brilliance one step further, combining it with her passion for reproductive rights to form her latest passion project, ​Abortion Access Front​, a non profit organization made up of comedians, writers and producers who create videos that use humor and outrage to expose sexist, anti choice politicians in all 50 state legislatures. AAF also spends 4 months out of the year doing shows across the country and providing support to independent abortion providers and local activists helping them to remove the stigma around abortion.  

In addition to performing and her activism, Winstead authored ​Lizz Free Or Die,​ a funny and touching book of personal essays, that ​Elle​ magazine called, ​“Sharply witty and iconoclastic” 

Winstead’s talents as a comedian and media visionary have been recognized by The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Entertainment Weekly’s 100 Most Creative People issue among other print media. Winstead continues to appear on ​Comedy Central, HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher​ and NPR, as well as her regular commentary on ​MSNBC. 

Winstead has a lot to say about politics and current events, and when she says it, it is always insightful and hilarious! 


Hans Park

Hans Park is the Strategic Design and Research Manager at the UN Refugee Agency’s Innovation Service. His work is concerned with leading creative direction activities within the team and supporting management of a range of innovation projects, primarily related to Artificial Intelligence, strategic communications, inclusion and diversity


Erica Ciszek, Ph.D.

Erica Ciszek’s research, teaching and service are closely tied to commitments of advocacy and social change. Through rigorous qualitative methods and development of critical theory, Ciszek’s research examines the intersections of public relations and social change. Her work encompasses a triadic focus: (1) activism as public relations (conceptualizing social movement organizations as strategic communicators); (2) public relations as activism (conceptualizing public relations practitioners as organizational change agents); and (3) activism and strategic communication (considering how key stakeholders engage with communication materials aimed at them). 

Historically public relations and activism have had a contentious relationship within the practice as well as within the academy. Ciszek’s research is part of a thread of pioneering scholarship in public relations that is part of what Moloney and McKie (2015, p. 154) call “the activist turn” in the discipline. 

Before launching her academic career, Ciszek worked as a strategic analyst for Mullen Advertising and Public Relations. Additionally, she has worked in strategic analytics, market research and contributed to LGBT newspapers and magazines. As someone with professional experience in strategic communication working with nonprofits and Fortune 500 companies, Ciszek recognized the lack of diversity and representation that often characterizes the fields of public relations and advertising. Through her research and teaching, Ciszek is committed to making a space for marginalized voices and perspectives that have historically been written out of research. Her research has been published in the top journals in the field, including the Journal of Communication, as well as advocacy journals such as the Journal of Homosexuality

In addition to academic venues, Ciszek’s work, “LGBT advocacy in the digital age: Participatory media and the empowerment of an LGBT public,” has been translated by the Freedom House into Russian for distribution online. 

Educator and Author

Davin Phoenix

Davin Phoenix is a teacher and scholar of race, emotion and political behavior. A first generation college graduate, Davin researches how race interacts with various spheres of U.S. politics to shape the attitudes, emotions and behavior of both everyday people and elites. Past and current work explores how race influences the emergence of anger, pride and hope in response to politics, how protests and media narratives on policing have influenced state legislative activity post-Ferguson, and how religious views shape the policy preferences and political behavior of people of color. His research has appeared in Politics, Groups and Identities, The Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, and The National Political Science Review. Additionally, his perspective on the intersections of race, emotion and politics have been featured in The New York Times, Vanity Fair, and National Public Radio.

Davin’s book, entitled The Anger Gap: How Race Shapes Emotion in Politics was published in January 2020 with Cambridge University Press. Integrating theories from psychology, political behavior and Black politics, The Anger Gap argues that both the stigmatization of Black anger in the public consciousness and the lack of collective agency felt by African Americans make anger over politics less prevalent and politically potent for Black Americans than White Americans. To test that argument, the book utilizes original experiments, forty years of survey data, and emotion discourse analysis of rhetoric from political elites across the ideological spectrum. The book makes a critical distinction in how emotions translate to behavior across racial groups.

Since 2016, Davin has served as Co-Director of the First Generation First Quarter Challenge, a peer mentorship program providing scaffolding and support to first year social science students seeking to become the first in their families to graduate from a four-year university. Davin is a recipient of multiple recognitions for his teaching and mentoring, including the 2017-18 Dean’s Honoree for Teaching Excellence Award, the Distinguished Lecturer Award from the Black Leadership and Advancement Coalition, and a 2019 UROP Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Fostering Undergraduate Research.


Debbie Almontaser

Dr. Debbie Almontaser is an internationally recognized, award-winning educator, speaker and authority on cross cultural understanding. She is an influential community leader and the Founder and CEO of Bridging Cultures Group, Inc.

Dr. Almontaser was the founding and former principal of the Khalil Gibran International Academy in Brooklyn, NY. A twenty-five year veteran of the NYC Public School System, she taught special education, inclusion, trained teachers in literacy, and served as a multicultural specialist and diversity advisor. Currently, she is the Board President of the Muslim Community Network ( She frequently lectures, serves on panels, and facilitates teacher and public workshops on cultural diversity, conflict resolution, Arab Culture, Islam, Muslims in America, interfaith coalition building and youth leadership at schools, universities, libraries, museums, faith-based organizations, churches, synagogues, as well as national and international conferences.

Photographer and Activist

Aundre Larrow

Aundre is a Florida native, Brooklyn-based portrait photographer who has spent the last few years shooting editorial and lifestyle content for his clients. He most recently shot the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge with The North Face, NY Fashion week and a portrait project about Amendment 4 in Florida. Throughout the years, he has always pursued the truth that can be found in portraiture and his current work is the next chapter of that.

Laura Ligouri


Laura Ligouri

Laura Ligouri is the Executive Director and Founder of Mindbridge, a not-for-profit organization connecting psychological and neurobiological insight to non-profit and government sponsored humanitarian efforts. Mindbridge’s Services include research where interdisciplinary methods and procedures are used to design, collect and analyze data answering questions of central importance to human rights organizations and civil society spaces; assessment where psychological and neurobiological tools are used to help evaluate program performance and impact; and education where the latest science is made accessible through workshops, seminars and publications, translating research into meaningful impacts in peoples’ lives. Laura’s interest in the intersection of neuroscience and human rights emerged as a coordinator and researcher at the Saxelab Social Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory at MIT, where neurobiological research often sought to understand the biological underpinnings of implicit bias, inter-ethnic social conflict, violence and conversely collective empowerment and change. Laura’s work on inter-ethnic social conflict sought to elucidate the bidirectional, mutual constitution of culture and neurobiological processes that give rise to bias, discrimination and violence. To date Laura has written numerous scientific publications and has conducted research in conjunction with the DRAPER Institute, the McGovern Institute, the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), OSCE Office of Democratic Initiatives and Human Rights, the Alliance of Civilizations Media Fund, among others. Today, Laura is a lecturer in the Psychology and Honors Programs at the University of Southern Maine. For more information on Mindbridge please visit us at


Thomas Allen Harris

Thomas Allen Harris is a filmmaker and artist whose work across film, video, photography, and performance illuminates the human condition and the search for identity, family, and spirituality. Graduate of Harvard College and the Whitney Independent Study Program, member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, and published writer/curator, Harris lectures widely on the use of media as a tool for social change. He lectures and teaches on media arts, visual literacy, and personal archiving at such institutions as Yale, Dartmouth, University of California, and many others.

His deeply personal films – VINTAGE- Families of Value (1995), É Minha Cara/That’s My Face (2001), and The Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela (2005), have received critical acclaim at international film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Toronto, FESPACO, Outfest, Flaherty, and Cape Town. His most recent feature film, Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People (2014), which looks at the ways photographic representations serve as tools of representation and self-representation through history, was nominated for both an Emmy and Peabody, and won over 7 international awards including the 2015 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Documentary Film. His latest short film, About Face: The Evolution of a Black Producer (2017) had its premiere on World AIDS Day at the Whitney Museum of American Art and over 100 institutions worldwide as part of Visual AIDS’ 28th annual Day With(out) Art.

In 2009, Harris founded Digital Diaspora Family Reunion, LLC (DDFR) a social engaged transmedia project that has incorporated community organizing, performance, virtual gathering spaces, and storytelling into over 45 unique audio-visual events in over 30 cities. With this project, Harris has toured nationally and internationally, most recently as a Montgomery Fellow at Dartmouth College and at the Yale University Afro American Cultural Center, to invite individuals to explore and share the rich and revealing narratives found within their family photo albums. To date, DDFR has brought over 3000 people together in live events and gathered in excess of 30,000 images, sharing content through social media, television, articles, newspapers, and radio to receive over 70 million impressions worldwide. Harris is bringing DDFR to national TV with Family Pictures USA.

His work has been supported by the Ford Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Sundance Institute, Tribeca Film Institute, The Fledgling Fund, Rockefeller Foundation, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Nathan Cummings Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, Creative Time Inc., and the Banff Centre.

Quick Gathering Schedule

In town Tuesday, 2/4? Join us for the Welcome Rally, at Depot Park Boxcar, 6-9 p.m.



11 a.m. – Welcome Lunch @ the Thomas Center
1-2:30 p.m. – Opening and frank talks: AWE
Katherine Dale, Florida State University
Gabrielle Huria, Maori Ngai Tahu
Thomas Allen Harris, Filmmaker/Artist
Laura Liguori, MindBridge
Marya Iftikhar, Karel Fellow
2:30-2:45 p.m. – Break
2:45-4:15 p.m. – frank talks:Science of Emotion
Jennifer Hudson, University College of London
Misty Jones, Middle Tennessee State University
Edith Asibey, Asibey Consultants
Hans Park/Lauren Parater, Innovations Services, UN Refugee Agency
Erica Rosenthal, Norman Lear Center
4:30-5:30 p.m. – RECESS 1
6:00-10 p.m. – Progressive dinner



9-10 a.m. – frank talks: FEAR
Keith Bound, Receptive Cinema
Rachel Grant, University of Florida
Pamela Mejia, Berkley Media Studies Group
Amanda Cooper, Lightbox Collaborative
10:15-11:15 a.m. – RECESS 2
11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. – frank talks: PRIDE
Davin Phoenix, UC Irvine
Ezra Markowitz, U. Mass, Amherst
Aundre Larrow, Photographer & Activist
Camryn Jackson, Karel Fellow
Alia Sharrief, Rapper & Activist
12:30-1:45 p.m. – LUNCH
2-3:15 p.m. – frank talks: ANGER
Karin Wahl-Jorgenson, Cardiff University
Chelsea Fuller, Team Blackbird
Kareem Emara, Harvard Kennedy School
Heriselda Begaj, Participant Media
Steve Lambert, Center for Artistic Activism
3:15-3:35 p.m. – Break
3:35 – 5 p.m. – frank talks: LOVE
Ekant Veer, University of Canterbury
Kendal Broad-Wright, University of Florida
Erica Ciszek, University of Texas
Gordon Kraft-Todd, Yale University
Rachel Lamb, Young Evangelicals for Climate Action
Chloe LaCasse, Freedom for All Americans
Jon Roozenbeek, University of Cambridge
Thomas Allen Harris, Filmmaker & Artist
6:30-9 p.m. – Dinner and frank Puzzle Hunt



9 – 9:45 a.m. – frank talks: MORAL EMOTIONS
Rene Weber, UC Santa Barbara
Key Estime, Karel Fellow
Debbie Almontaser, Bridging Cultures Group, Inc.
10-11 a.m. – RECESS 3
11:15-12:30 p.m. – frank talks: HOPE
Amy Chadwick, Ohio University
Thomas Coombes, Hope-based Communications
Liba Beyer, Human Rights Watch
Closing Ceremonies
12:30-2 p.m. – Recovery Lunch, Muñecas Tacos

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