Express Oneself Boldly, Build Community, Engage as a Citizen
During the second quarter of 2018, our Humanities classes explored the experiences of immigrants and refugees. In addition to reading literature like Night by Elie Wiesel, Maus by Art Spiegelman and Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, we studied the political, economic, and social issues that lead to emigration by choice or force. We also had the privilege of having local artist Yancy Villa-Calvo share her incredible work, "Barrier Free: For Freedoms," with all art students, and a smaller group of students received a personal tour of her exhibit at the Art Museum of the University of Memphis.
We engaged in empathy interviews with immigrants and refugees from the Memphis community and beyond, which became the basis for a design thinking process, through which we produced multimedia museum pieces for our Winter Exhibition of Student Learning. Each piece was created with the intention of increasing empathetic connections with immigrants. From large-scale installations to illustrated cookbooks, students exercised their imaginations and technical skills to create a wide range of visual solutions to translate the stories they heard.
Many thanks to our friends at Asha's Refuge, Operation Broken Silence, Refugee Empowerment Program, Su Casa Family Ministries, Multinational Ministries, Midsouth Immigration Advocates, and Global Cafe -- all of whom helped us connect with immigrants and refugees in our community.