The Arts & Education Project in East Palo Alto
The Arts & Education Project in East Palo Alto seeks to support hip-hop arts and social justice pedagogies while studying how these pedagogies impact high school students' engagement in school, community, and civic life. The project will capture, map and analyze how the arts transform diverse low-income high-school students. By highlighting best pedagogical and institutional practices, it will provide and enhance learning and teaching opportunities for East Palo Alto students, teachers and community members, as well as Stanford students, faculty, and staff. The project will also model and document the ways in which different institutions--a charter school, a non-profit community based organization, and a university--can collaborate to support the development of an emerging East Palo Alto arts ecosystem. Finally, it will look at the "ripple" effects on this tightly-knit community.
Our project has at its core an abiding faith in the ability of teachers, artists, activists, and youths to fashion solutions to the aesthetic and social problems they face. We are all too well aware of the colonial model of research that seeks to impose untested theoretical "solutions" onto resource-starved communities. Our approach is the opposite. We never assume that the university is the source of expertise, but in fact recognize that the community may be.
As a part of the research project a team of undergraduate researchers will be trained in participant observation and qualitative interviewing. These undergraduate researchers will serve as support for teachers, staff, and students as they engage in the research process.