In Your Shoes


In Your Shoes™ is a signature program of Georgetown’s Laboratory for Global Performance & Politics that employs techniques rooted in theatrical performance to promote deep listening and empathy, bringing participants of diverse backgrounds into mutually respectful creative exchange with one another. Participants build communities of trust, including in often polarized settings, engaging in facilitated group activities and pair conversations in which they curate and perform one another’s exact words.

With wide applications for any group setting, In Your Shoes™ is a form of “relational fitness” that strengthens muscles of empathy, self-discovery, and resilience and offers transformative tools for encountering different perspectives, engaging challenging topics, and building diverse communities of trust.

An alternative to traditional paradigms that privilege top-down knowledge production and dissemination, In Your Shoes™ is a ground up approach that activates, sharpens, and shares the wisdom within and among us all.

Particularly at a time when polarization is reaching unprecedented levels with devastating consequences for individual and collective well-being, In Your Shoes™ moves beyond divides, shining a deeper light on the hopes, fears, and dreams that animate our daily lives, providing an innovative path to finding common purpose in challenging times.

Nyasha Gandawa and Professor Sivagami Subbaraman perform In Your Shoes™ as the keynote event of the 2022 Lannan Symposium, “Beyond Identity: Reimagining the American Narrative.”

"We can talk theoretically about empathy, but to experience it is a whole other thing. In participating in In Your Shoes™, it’s like a third perspective emerged for me as I started to notice what I myself was experiencing as I shared my partner’s narrative. Now that is empathy."

Featured Project
Intercollegiate IYS
on US Polarization
Georgetown Global Dialogues - In Your Shoes™ Workshop with The Lab

Open to All - The Lab's In Your Shoes™ workshop on Thursday, April 25th at 10am in the Copley Formal Lounge.

Sign Up Now

In The Media

The In Your Shoes™ Research and Practice Center

In January of 2023, The Lab launched the In Your Shoes™ Research & Practice Center as a hub for research, training,  and  facilitation. Through The Center we are scaling In Your Shoes™ both on Georgetown’s campus and well beyond it. The Center is dramatically expanding our offerings, and building a dynamic international In Your Shoes™ ecosystem of facilitators, participants, and researchers, as well as an expansive global network of collaborators and partners.

The In Your Shoes™ Research and Practice Center is made possible in part through the generous support of Andrew R. Ammerman.

Bring IYS™ to Your Community

In Your Shoes™ is for EVERYONE!

The In Your Shoes™ Research & Practice Center offers a wide range of programs for community organizations, classrooms, and institutions.

Contact us at to explore how a collaboration with In Your Shoes™ might support your community, organization, or campus.

The Art of Care, a new production in development using the In Your Shoes™ methodology, will premiere at Mosaic theater in DC, in partnership with Georgetown’s Global Health Institute, Medical Humanities Initiative, School of Health, and School of Nursing. Pictured: Caroline Slater (COL 23), Erika Rose, Susan Rome, Mark Jaster, KenYatta Rogers and Tuyet Phamf.

“In my daily life, it's easy to avoid conflict or disagreement, but often in order to do that, we have to avoid things we probably need to talk about, or feel like we want to talk about, but don't know how to talk about. In Your Shoes™ gave me a whole new way that helped me not only talk about US-China relations but to talk basically about anything!”

-- Sophie Yang

Georgetown University (US-China Dialogue)

Long History, Global Reach


In Your Shoes™ was created and developed by acclaimed international theater-maker and educator Derek Goldman through over a decade of intensive workshops in a range of global contexts, including China, Russia, Bangladesh, and Sudan, and with diverse and often polarized university and community participants throughout the United States. In Your Shoes™ has been experienced by thousands of participants around the world, through projects ranging from immersive year-long community collaborations to shorter-term workshops.  For a roster of collaborations, see here.

In Your Shoes™ continues to benefit from ongoing collaboration with colleagues and partners from a wide range of specializations including curricular design and transformation, inclusive pedagogy (with an emphasis on equity/diversity and anti-racist approaches), intergroup dialogue, conflict resolution and peace-building, movement/ dance, neuroscience, and social psychology.

 “We all have a story to tell. But many times these stories are not told... In Your Shoes™ provides that platform for me to reveal those stories in a fruitful and thought-provoking way. But it also gets me to hear new stories, that I would have never imagined hearing.”
Michael Pozo
Michael Diego Pozo
Patrick Henry College
The In Your Shoes™ Process: Performing One Another

In Your Shoes™ has been widely recognized as a vibrant artistic process that has been groundbreaking both for leading professional performing artists, and inclusive and accessible for people that do not identify as performers.

At the heart of all In Your Shoes™ projects lies acclaimed international theater-maker and educator Derek Goldman’s Performing One Another methodology.

Performing One Another begins as prompt-driven two-person dialogues among participants who are paired with an eye to differences in social identities, backgrounds, or ideological or political perspectives. 

Initial prompts vary but generally speak to common experiences that cut across ideological and cultural divides, like:  loneliness, grief, hope, belonging, loss, anxiety about the future, family, faith, and larger questions of meaning and purpose.  Prompts are designed and presented so as to invite participants to talk openly in ways that activate their own personal stories, rather than simply expressing opinions or statements of belief. 

Paired conversations are recorded. Then, after getting express permission from their partners, participants curate and transcribe excerpts from among those permitted sections of their partners’ words. These excerpts form the scripts partners use to “perform one another” back to the group.

This paired “performing one another” material becomes the foundation and catalyst for further, ever-deepening dialogues and embodied explorations that shape the overall content and direction the program and become the core source material for the script and ultimate performances, or other cultural products.

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Featured Collaborations


Georgetown Collaboration Brings Students Together to Discuss Identity and Perspective in the U.S.-China Context to build mutual trust and grapple with differences in personal identities.


In Your Shoes™: Reckoning with Our Past/Imagining Our Future“ Closes the 2022 Lannan Symposium “Beyond Identity: Reimagining the American Narrative


  • Keynote workshops with:
    • International Theatre Institute World Congress (as well as at student festivals, 70th birthday celebration festival in Hainan, China)
    • Stockholm School of Economics
    • Theatre Communications Group National Conference
    • Territory Festival, Moscow, Russia (with hundreds of young artists from every territory of Russia and Ukraine)
    • Workshops with Refugee Populations at University of Dhaka, Bangladesh, Cox’s Bazaar with Rohingya population and humanitarian workers
    • Shanghai Theater Academy, China
    • Al-Buggaa International Festival, Sudan
    • Beyond Borders International Festival, Scotland
    • La Mama Umbria, Italy


  • Doris Duke Foundation/ Association of American Arts Presenters Building Bridges Program (12 campuses, hundreds of participants)
  • Multi-year Partnership between Georgetown University and Patrick Henry College (conservative Christian college in Purcellville, Virginia) 2018-2019
    • Pilot program
    • Collaboration between The Lab, GU’s Democracy & Governance Studies Program, and Patrick Henry
    • Year-long collaboration culminating in performances on both campuses
    • 2019-2020
      • Expansion of Program due to heavy demand (cohorts double in size)
      • Grant from GU’s “Transforming the Core Curriculum Initiative”
      • Creation of five-credit course “Dialogue and Difference: Performing One Another”
      • Expansion of mentorship team to include Profs Derek Goldman, Daniel Brumberg (Director Democracy & Governance Studies MA Program); Ijeoma Njaka, Senior Learning Designer for Transformational and Inclusive Initiatives, Red House & Lab; Rabbi Rachel Gartner, and PHC Humanities Professor Cory Grewell
      • Separate public performance with IYS™ participants from both cohorts and other faculty colleagues in response to events of January 6th at the US Capitol
  • Guest workshops at:
    • Columbia University
    • UNC Chapel Hill
    • George Washington University
    • University of Maryland
    • Duke University
    • The New School
    • Montgomery Blair High School


  • Sustained Program over several months with World Bank / International Finance Corporation
    • Reverse Mentorship Program for Executives as part of World Bank’s DEI Initiatives
  • Doris Duke Foundation/ Association of American Arts Presenters Building Bridges Program (12 campuses, hundreds of participants)
  • Theatre Communications Group National Conference
  • “Art of Care” Initiative with Global Health Institute, Medical Humanities Initiative, School of Health, Mosaic Theater
  • Conferences in Peacebuilding & Conflict Resolution; Social Psychology; Couples & Family Therapy; Medical Ethics; Global Health; Creative Writing & Devising
  • Various Synagogues, Churches, and Community Settings

Georgetown University

  • “In Your Shoes™: Reckoning with Our Past/Imagining Our Future”
    • Full-length performance with students, faculty, staff as keynote event at 2022 Lannan Symposium “Beyond Identity: Reimagining the American Narrative” 
  • US-China Project ( link)
    • 2 years of semester-long collaboration between The Lab and the Initiative for U.S.-China Dialogue on Global Issues
  • Numerous In Your Shoes™ courses, workshops, and “infusions” into existing courses across the curriculum
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