Powerful Public Art in the 8th Grade

Powerful Public Art in the 8th Grade
JusticexDesign (JxD) is a Project Zero research initiative at the Harvard Graduate School of Education investigating ways to support learners in becoming sensitive to designed injustices and re/imagine their participation in co-liberation. The project approaches the inequities of today’s world from a systems perspective, infuses in classrooms maker-centered pedagogies that are rooted in justice and empowers young people to be empathetic, collaborative leaders committed to designing a more just world.  

Throughout this academic year, a cohort of Parker teachers, including the 8th grade team, have been working with researchers at JxD exploring the thinking routines and creating curriculum around the JxD pedagogies.

In 8th grade art classes, teacher Kay Silva asked students to work in groups to create murals representing themes of “power.” Students interpreted this broad theme and investigated the different types of power their chosen subject matter portrays:
  • Power over–being coercive, repressive, corrupt, etc.
  • Power to–doing something to shape or change your world
  • Power with–finding common ground, building collective strength
  • Power within–being able to imagine or feel hope
The final products of this effort embody symbolism, visual metaphor and students’ voices expressing their thoughts and feelings about societal, political, cultural and personal issues surrounding concepts of power.

View them here.
Francis W. Parker School educates students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community.