Youth Artists for Justice

Youth Artists for Justice is a 15-week program that combines performing arts and community activism with youth participants at both Young People’s Theatre and the Teen Leadership Council in Boston. In this hybrid/online community-based action research project, youth at each site will have the chance to collaborate in creating original artistic work and critiquing barriers to social justice. We start with the question, “What do you wish you had more influence over in your community?” and move forward to create an action plan including the selection of a desired political outcome and a target audience for their performance.

The collaboration between Youth Artists for Justice in Toronto and the Teen Leadership Council in Boston is part of a research study conducted by artist educator and Ph.D. student Rachel Rhoades, YPT Ada Slaight Drama in Education Award recipient for 2016/17. The research uses drama to examine how youth envision resistance and enact political participation on their own terms.

Program Timeline

Weeks 1 & 2:
Focus on youth resistance. Participants will choose a topic of urgency in their communities in
answer to the question, “What do you wish you had more influence on?”
Weeks 3 & 4:
Participants conduct interviews with community members and conduct research on related
documents, websites, and artistic works. Participants create an action plan for their
Weeks 5-12:
Participants devise an “ethnodrama,” which is a theatrical representation of the information
they have collected. They design a data collection method with their political outcome in mind
and select an appropriate venue for their performance.
Week 12:
Performance & data collection with the intended audience.
Week 13:
Participants analyze data, assess project progress and determine next steps.
Week 14:
Over Skype, Boston and Toronto participants present their results, ask each other questions
about their experiences and brainstorm how to mobilize knowledge gained from the program.
Week 15:
Performance and final celebration!

To follow the program’s progress, visit YPT’s Arts Education blog, At the Centre.