Emily Kearns


Emily Kearns is the Founder of Balik Kampung. She was an American Field Service (AFS) foreign exchange student in 1977 and spent the year with her beloved Muslim Malay host family in Kampung Melayu Majidi, Johor Bahru. During the year she attended Lower Form Six at English College. She has returned five times to the same kampung to visit host family and friends. It is truly her heart’s home. Emily is a sociologist with a life-long interest in culture, ritual, and identity. She earned her PhD at Boston College and her Executive MBA at Northeastern. She is an installation artist, Reiki Master, and dementia specialist.

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Mary Childs


Mary Childs is the Artistic Director at the Duncan McClellan Gallery (DMG) in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has more than 25 years in gallery management and ownership. As Artistic Director, she is responsible for the visual aesthetics of the gallery while helping  guide its vision and strategy. Visit, https://dmglass.com.

Mary believes in the positive power of both creating and experiencing art, and has a passion for sharing art with the public. Mary is gifted in engaging local and global communities through the vibrancy of gallery art through events, workshops, and events. Mary brings this expertise and vision to Balik Kampung, helping with installation layout, marketing, and more.

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Mike Testa


Mike Testa is a Boston area audio educator, producer and composer. He is currently an Assistant Professor at Salem State University, where his research topics include music technology and education and developmental policy.

Previous to working in education, he has worked in a professional capacity in the industries of sports broadcasting and music production. Mike Testa spent 8 years at New England Sports Network covering Boston Red Sox Baseball and Boston Bruins Hockey where he was nominated for a New England Emmy in 2006 in Audio Achievement. He holds a BM:SRT, and an MM:SRT from the University of Massachusetts Lowell. He is currently working on his Doctorate in Education Leadership from the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

Mike was also the Technical Production Consultant for Emily Kearns’ previous installation, Dementia’s Way. He brings his expertise and enthusiasm to Balik Kampung and is helping produce film and sound.