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<xTITLE>ADR & Activism Through Art - Maya Angelou and Frida Kahlo</xTITLE>

ADR & Activism Through Art - Maya Angelou and Frida Kahlo

by Andrea Schneider
April 2021


Andrea  Schneider

We already started this week talking about creative ways to persuade and I want to continue this week focusing on creativity and negotiation role models.  Two women immediately come to mind, as they each used their genre to give the reader/viewer perspective on different life experiences.

Maya Angelou based much of her work on her own life–from her childhood (I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1968)) to her early career as a singer and actress (Singin’ and Swingin’ and Gettin’ Merry Like Christmas (1976)) to taking part in the civil rights movement as a member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and close friend of the Kings (The Heart of a Woman’ (1981)).  She was a bestselling author, was asked to give the inaugural poem at President Bill Clinton’s inauguration (and won a Grammy for that recording), wrote and acted in plays and movies, and even wrote an award-winning cookbook!  In short, (and one could say much more about her career), she was a true polymath–someone who was talented at everything she tried.  Many of us have long heard about or used Thomas Jefferson or Benjamin Franklin as examples of this (or just use the phrase Renaissance Man without thinking of its inherent sexism)–let’s replace those examples with that of Maya Angelou.  Angelou could be our role model for creative approaches that need to take different perspectives–think atlas of approaches or six hats.  How would Angelou view this conflict as a poet?  How would she view it  as a cook? (think our own negotiation recipes for success) How would she view it as a political activist?   How would she view it as a screenwriter?  For the cute mnemonic, think Atlas like Angelou.

Frida Kahlo also used her art to highlight her life and to insist the viewer take a different, atypical perspective on her life.  Linked to our subject last week, Kahlo was also incredibly candid about her life, painting her marriage, her miscarriage (in a painting that was far more graphic than Chrissy Teigen’s photos), and how she felt after her divorce.   In many of these, she paints different dimensions on purpose–her Two Fridas (below) is an illustration of how we each have multiple perspectives.  And her Self Portrait with Cropped Hair was both seen as both portraying herself as independent and masculine as well as portraying (female) self-punishment for the failure of her marriage.   So much of her artwork is a visual representation of perspective, role reversal, and flipping. The mnemonic here could be Flip like Frida.

My goal with all of these blogs is to continue to propose different role models for negotiation skills where we either have not had women as models at all or could use different role models to add to our repertoire of examples to give our students.  Let me know what you think!  Who else should we talk about when giving examples of creativity?  And how would you edit or add to these examples?  Thanks much for your comments.


Before Andrea Kupfer Schneider even knew or understood the words negotiation or mediation, she figured a way to outsource her chores to her younger brother by paying him a part of her allowance.  Not a new trick, but noteworthy that she hit upon the idea naturally. Such is the somewhat tainted beginnings of what would become a notable career as a professor and prolific writer in the disciplines of legal practice, deal making and conflict management. Only many years later, having obtained her A.B. degree from the Woodrow Wilson School of International Affairs and Public Policy at Princeton University, and her J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School, and studying with Roger Fisher and others associated with the Negotiation Project, did her interest and passion for understanding how people deal with difficult issues and make decisions begin to gel. And afterwards, she enhanced the breadth of her perspective with study and a postgraduate Diploma from the Academy of European Law in Florence, Italy. She joined the faculty of Marquette University Law School in 1996, where she continues to teach ADR, Negotiation, Ethics, and International Conflict Resolution and is the Director of the nationally ranked Dispute Resolution Program.

Andrea’s writing reflects an integrated perspective of the importance of negotiation and mediation that is not bounded to one or a few particular disciplines.  She is either an author, co-author, co-editor, or contributor to   numerous books, texts and articles in the field of dispute resolution, including: the forthcoming Negotiation Essentials for Lawyers (ABA 2019) building on the two volume Negotiator’s Desk Reference and, earlier, The Negotiator's Fieldbook all with Christopher Honeyman; Negotiation: Processes For Problem-Solving and Mediation: Practice, Policy & Ethics, and Dispute Resolution: Beyond The Adversarial Model with Carrie Menkel-Meadow, Lela Love & Jean Sternlight; and co-author of two books with Roger Fisher, Beyond Machiavelli: Tools For Coping With Conflict and Coping With International Conflict. And beyond practice theory, strategies and techniques, she also explored the frequently overlooked presence of negotiative process in every part of our society; her book, Creating The Musee d’Orsay:  The Politics of Culture in France, explores the place of negotiation and politics in art and architecture, and her most recent book, Smart & Savvy: Negotiation Strategies in Academia, written with her father David Kupfer, a researcher and emeritus professor of psychiatry, as the title suggests, explores the necessity for negotiation in an arena that is not  easily or openly admitting of the need for such skills.  Andrea has also published numerous articles on negotiation, ethics, pedagogy, gender and international conflict and currently serves as the co-chair of the editorial board of the ABA Dispute Resolution Magazine.    She is a founding editor of Indisputably, the blog for ADR law faculty and the 2017 recipient of the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution Award for Outstanding Scholarly Work, among other awards. All of this is capped off with her 2016 TEDx talk entitled Women Don’t Negotiate and Other Similar Nonsense.

Her range and scope of interest in how negotiative work can be done more effectively not only in legal practice but in the surrounding politics and culture of our society makes her perspective all the more valuable.

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