Current and Past Projects

Current Projects

Confronting Violence through Youth-Oriented Media       

  • IZOLYATSIA, Kiev, Ukraine 
  • AS220 (a non-profit community arts center), Providence, Rhode Island

This project will bring Ukrainian youth who have been affected by conflict in their country together with disadvantaged Rhode Island youth to explore how the use of youth-oriented media can channel their experiences in a positive and empowering way. At a Summer Lab Intensive Workshop, participants will learn new media techniques, such as 3D modeling, game design, laser cutting and small scale model building. The project will result in a website, as well as exhibitions in both cities that will be created and installed by the participants. Ten students, ages 16 to 18, from each country will participate, and four university students, ages 20 – 25, will serve as mentors throughout the project. 

Connecting Coastal Communities: An International Dialogue about Ocean Conservation & Ecotourism

  • Old Dartmouth Historical Society - New Bedford Whaling Museum, New Bedford, Massachusetts
  • Husavik Whale Museum, Husavik, Iceland 

Despite their social and cultural differences, students in New Bedford and Husavik come from similar coastal communities with maritime economies. Both share a deep history of ties to whales as economic generators and cultural symbols. In this project, teenagers in Husavik and New Bedford will explore their mutual economic and cultural heritage within the context of their ocean environments. The students will organize community and school events to celebrate whales in their local waters and share points of view about protecting the ocean and the creatures living in it, while also debating whale-based tourism and harvesting whales for economic purposes. High school students ages 15-18 in each country (18 in the U.S. and nine in Iceland) will form an “Ocean Crew.”  They will receive instruction in whale science, biology and ocean ecology. The students will create public programs, including a “whale readathon” for children, a family-centered “Whale Celebration Day,” and a project website featuring the students’ digital presentations. In addition to the environmental theme, this program supports the 2015-2017 U.S. Chairmanship of the Arctic Council.

Dialogues in the African Diaspora: Youth Reclaiming Community, Identity and Memory                            

  • Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute, New York, New York 
  • National Museum Jamaica, Kingston, Jamaica

The formation of the African diaspora resultant from slavery tragically erased the history of entire peoples. This project aims to recover and preserve the diasporic history associated with the rural community of Nonsuch, Jamaica and the urban community of San Juan Hills in Manhattan, New York. Through creative discussions and learning about the historical conditions that disadvantaged these two communities, the 30-40 middle school students participating in this project will reclaim a history that has been submerged over time and reconnect with their past as a means of better understanding the present and empowering their futures. The teens will learn how to use archival sources and conduct interviews with elderly residents in their respective communities as they develop compelling digital videos and art works. They will create exhibitions in their communities to display the results of their work. They will also create a bound written text of the history that they will recover through the project, assemble tours of relevant historical sites and design a curriculum about this history for future middle school students.

Girls Design the World: Supporting Green Communities with STEAM  

  • Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, Minnesota 
  • National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya 

Design thinking is an effective tool for brainstorming and prototyping creative solutions to solve practical problems. The fields of science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, benefit from the inclusion of the artistic process, or STEAM, and empower girls to imagine creative solutions to challenges in their communities. STEAM can encompass a range of contexts from the development of household goods to urban planning. Though it originates in the engineering field, STEAM also involves the creative processes of brainstorming, sketching and modeling that precede the creation of a final product. Fifteen to 20 girls in Minneapolis and Nairobi will investigate how their cities are impacted by environmental issues in order to create and prototype ways to address those issues. They will conduct interviews with people impacted by environmental problems in their respective cities as well as create ten projects (five at each museum) featuring plans, sketches, models and charts. The participants will also produce a video for screening at exhibitions and distribution to schools, as well as plan an exhibition of their prototypes as part of a community event.

Hacking Space: A Student Exchange to Sustain Life on Earth 

  • Chabot Space and Science Center, Oakland, California
  • Science City, West Bengal, India

According to the United Nations, the Earth’s population is expected to reach nine billion by 2050. This population growth will inevitably impact the ways in which human beings manage resources and adapt to environmental changes. The purpose of this project is to bring together 16 students ages 15-18 in the United States and India to generate potential strategies for environmental sustainability on Earth by focusing on the lessons learned from attempted space travel. Many technologies devised for the purpose of space exploration have been adapted to meet needs on Earth, including medical devices, solar panels and water purification systems, to name a few examples. This project will encourage students in both countries to develop projects focusing on using space travel technology to address sustainability on Earth. Participants will create workshops for museums visitors and a web site to demonstrate the applicability of space travel innovations to addressing the issue of environmental sustainability on our planet.

Youth Empowerment through Social Practice Art: Strategies for Coping with Violence and Trauma

  • Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla, California 
  • Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporaneo, Mexico City, Mexico

Young people in America and Mexico experience violence or the threat of violence in their communities, a significant social issue that impacts our countries and communities in profound ways. This project enables youth to find meaning and expression through the power of the arts and empowers them to envision solutions through creative interventions. This project will connect 40 teens (20 in each country) from underserved areas around San Diego and Mexico City with social practice artists who specialize in film and photography and have experience working with teens while addressing issues of social and political violence. The projects that the youth produce will examine the impact of violence on teen lives. The teens themselves will select a theme within violence, such as intra-familial violence, dating violence, gangs and cartels or gun use as the focus of their artistic work. They also will create a short documentary film and mount a public exhibition in both countries. 

Youth Mission to Mars: Exploring Space to Address Sustainability on Earth

  • Space Center Houston, Houston, Texas 
  • Cite de l’espace, Toulouse, France 
  • Science Center, Singapore 

Space is a global enterprise. Space science and technology bring together people, resources, ideas and talents from many different countries and cultures from all over the world. Fifty disadvantaged students each from Houston, Texas; Toulouse, France; and Singapore, ages 15 – 16 will collaborate to plan a mission to establish a human base on Mars. They will investigate the cultural requirements for sustaining human life on Mars, develop a “chart of life on Mars,” and train on the basics of Mars science in order to design specific products or processes for providing the air, water, energy and nutrition needed to support human life on Mars. In the process, they will discover parallels between sustaining life on Mars and on Earth. By targeting disadvantaged youth and girls, the project aims to expose new audiences to the fascination of outer space. The students will collaborate throughout the year and participate in a three week STEM course consisting of engaging lessons and activities, videos of Mars scientists, learning games and student discussions. They will carry out team projects, culminating in a “Live the Mission” summit in Houston.

Past Projects