In a semester-long collaboration between two Humanities classes, students researched social movements in U.S. History and worked to create a single production drawing on the talents of the team. The movements ranged from the Black Arts movement of the Civil Rights era, to the Second-Wave Feminism inspired by Betty Friedan, to the work of Cesar Chavez and the United Farmworkers. Each student wrote an original play embodying the ideals/impacts of their chosen movement, as well a personal narrative exploring their own relationship with the issues (e.g., class, race, gender, state-authority) that inspired these moments of social and political engagement. The exhibition was a mixed-media performance of three student-authored plays, with audio recordings of students’ personal narratives embedded throughout the performance.
A great moment, for both Paul and me, was seeing our team choose and produce the plays of students with such diverse voices and experiences. We loved how our kids came together and combined their talents to create a great production.
I believe the importance behind this project was for us students to really go in depth about a social change that we wouldn’t normally study about and learn about how an inspired group of people can change the world we live in.
[It] was one of those projects that made me think. In order to be successful, you had to become a mini-expert on your topic. It was a creative way to get us to learn about history and why our society is the way it is today.
I learned so much from this project. Not just about the anti-World War I Movement, or the institution I wrote about. I learned about my peers’ movements and all of the work that goes into the production of a play. For this project we had many students at our disposal, and something that could have taken months was accomplished in weeks because of the way we were able to work together to get the job done.