Kristen Shahverdian performed in Philadelphia for over 15 years and created new work under the name Melissa Diane. A Pilates and movement educator, she's taught at University of the Arts, Rowan University and Temple University. She currently works as an advocate for free expression for PEN America. Her strong interests are in how to teach challenging works of art in the classroom, and how violence and art intersect. She has written about witnessing as an embodied practice and is currently researching Armenians in the diaspora whose art responds to generational memories.