Keynote and Closing Speakers

We are pleased to announce  Dr. Elif Gokcigdem as our keynote speaker. 

Elif M. GokcigdemElif Gokcigdem, PhD, a renowned expert in empathy and museum pedagogy, will speak on “Fostering Empathy and Compassionate Worldviews Through Museums.”

She is the Founder of the Empathy-Building Through Museums Initiative, and editor of Fostering Empathy Through Museums (2016) and Designing for Empathy (forthcoming 2019).  A museum scholar with a doctorate from Istanbul Technical University, Dr. Gokcigdem’s background is in the history of Islamic art. She has been studying the concepts of empathy in museums for many years and has made numerous scholarly contributions to the field.

In addition, we are also excited to announce Dr. Ronna Tulga Ostheimer as our closing speaker on Monday, April 15th.

RAISE program developer, Ronna Tulgan OstheimerRonna Tulgan Ostheimer will address “Curating a Culture of Respect” in the closing session of the Virginia Docent Exchange.

Dr. Ostheimer has worked in the education department of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts for more than seventeen years, first as the Coordinator of Community and Family Programs and for the past seven years as Director of Education Programs.  Her goal as a museum educator is to help people understand more fully that looking at and thinking about art can expand their sense of human possibility. Before coming to the Clark, Dr. Ostheimer taught at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in the Education Department. She holds an Ed.D. in Psychological Education with a concentration in Child Development from the University of Massachusetts and a B.A. in Sociology and American Studies from Hobart and William Smith Colleges.