Clockwise from top left: Carissa Stolting, Sarah Buie, Martha Redbone, Abigail Washburn, and Jen Shyu.

Launched 2023  |  virtual

The COAL + ICE group came to the CUHF experience through circuitous / fortuitous connections between musician/performer Jen Shyu and CUHF founder Sarah Buie. When Jen, Abigail Washburn and Martha Redbone were asked to perform for the launch of the Asia Society exhibition COAL + ICE in February 2024, Jen proposed they deepen their preparation by diving into the Council together.

In the months preceding the launch, they and their colleague Carissa Stolting met with Sarah Buie in a series of Council sessions, opening a common space of reckoning and connection on which they drew in their performance. They plan to continue to meet as a Council, and to extend and deepen this work in future performances.


Martha Redbone

Martha Redbone is a vocalist, songwriter, composer and educator of African-American, Cherokee and Choctaw descent. A multi-award winning musician, she is known for her unique gumbo of folk, blues, and gospel from her childhood in Harlan County, Kentucky infused with the eclectic grit of pre-gentrified Brooklyn. Learn more about her at and

Jen Shyu

Jen Shyu is a groundbreaking multilingual vocalist, composer, producer, multi-instrumentalist, and dancer. She is a 2019 Guggenheim Fellow, a 2019 United States Artists Fellow, a 2016 Doris Duke Artist, and was voted 2017 Downbeat Critics Poll Rising Star Female Vocalist. Born in Peoria, Illinois, to Taiwanese and East Timorese immigrant parents, Shyu is widely regarded for her virtuosic singing and riveting stage presence, carving out her own beyond-category space in the art world. Learn more about her at:

Carissa Stolting

Carissa Stolting is the founder of Left Bank Artists, an artist management company supporting musicians with global reach and a humanitarian message. She has spoken on panels at South by Southwest, IndieGrrl, and the Big Ears Festival about her work with deeply creative, unconventional artists. Carissa is a contributing poet to the podcast Versify, a publication of PRX, the Porch Writers’ Collective, and Nashville Public Radio. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

Abigail Washburn

If American old-time music is about taking earlier, simpler ways of life and music-making as one’s model, Abigail Washburn has proven herself to be a bracing revelation to that tradition. She—a singing, songwriting, Illinois-born, Nashville-based clawhammer banjo player—is every bit as interested in the present and the future as she is in the past, and every bit as attuned to the global as she is to the local. You can learn more at:

Sarah Buie, convener

Sarah is a designer / educator who, through council practice, encourages presence, listening, collaboration and compassion in this time of polycrisis. She is Professor Emerita and Research Scholar at Clark University, and served for nine years as Director of the Higgins School of Humanities and its Difficult Dialogues initiative. She is Founding Convener of the Council on the Uncertain Human Future, and co-founded the campus-wide curriculum initiative A new Earth conversation at Clark. Sarah was an award-winning museum exhibition designer for 25 years.