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The Summer Institute for Social Justice & Applied Poetics

The Summer Institute for Social Justice & Applied Poetics

Urban Word NYC

Program Summary

The Summer Institute for Social Justice & Applied Poetics is a 6-week program (3 days/week) designed for teen leaders, activists, poets, writers, emcees and scholars to engage the intersection between art, academics and activism; and to make it come aLIVE online (through the Urban Word Live web-portal). Students will explore and assess ways that critical social dialogue, the poetry of resistance, and social activism can ignite change in their communities. By examining social movements from the past, and uncovering the issues that directly affect our communities (posted via Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube archival footage), students will develop theories, poems and responses that will affect social change for today. Furthermore, the program of applied poetics begins and ends, not only with the production of poems, but with the poet finding a context for poetry in the world. Prior to each workshop, youth Digital Media Team members will work with workshop facilitators to provide various source and background material to post via various social media outlets to supplement upcoming workshops. Furthermore, each workshop will be live streamed to participants across the city and partner orgs nationally. Each workshop will serve 15-50 teens at Urban Word NYC, and an additional 50-150 participants online.


This dynamic program not only serves NYC teens with free social justice-based arts education programming, but also trains a group of youth Digital Media Team members who will be responsible for driving all online programming, and social media interaction with our greater youth community throughout the coming year.
The Summer Institute for Social Justice & Applied Poetics will be rolled out from June 2013 till the end of the program on August 22, 2013. All promotions, Facebook and Twitter updates, emails blasts and online and print PR campaigns will run from the end of the school year, through to the end of the workshop series. Interested teens are encouraged to register for the workshops of their choice online, or in person at Urban Word NYC.

In late-June/early-July 2013, 8-10 youth will apply, be interviewed, and chosen to be members of the Urban Word Digital Media Team 2013-2014. These youth will have a hands-on digital media and leadership training by our Digital Media Manager (Jason “DK” Wright) to utilize all internal tools to update websites, manage the Urban Word Live page, drive digital and social media to maximize youth participation, manage Facebook posts and Tweet schedules, stream workshops and events, and handle all aspects of our online presence. Furthermore, these youth will then work individually with workshop facilitators to research and post supplemental materials (that are online) of all artists featured in each workshop. For example, if in the workshop series The Shift, the facilitator will be focusing on the work of seminal social justice poet Audre Lorde, Digital Media Team (DMT) youth will research and explore Lorde’s online presence and any archival footage of her and her work, and share it via Facebook, Twitter and our Youtube page. DMT youth will also pose questions to our greater online community and comment/reflect on Lorde’s work to engage dialogue prior to the in-depth workshop at our site, and streamed live on Urban Word Live web-portal.

On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays starting on July 16, and going through to August 22, free workshops for teens will be offered three days per week, and will be streamed online through the Urban Word Live portal. Tuesdays will host The Shift workshop series; Wednesdays will host Applied Poetics: Taking it to the Streets workshops; and Thursdays will host Revoliterature! The Poetry of Resistance & Change workshops. Throughout the course of these workshops series some poets who will be examined and explored include: Audre Lorde, June Jordan, Ntozake Shange, Sandra Ciscneros, Alice Walker, Lucille Clifton, Trinh T. Minh-Ha, Cherrie Moraga, Tupac Shakur, Assata Shakur, Warshan Shire, Muhammad Ali and more.

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