Cross-Cultural Dialogue Through the Arts

Posted by: Priya Senroy on May 27, 2011 10:55 am

This 2010 video highlights the project which was done with a partnership between the International High School at LaGuardia Community College in the US and employed theatre educators, oral historians, musicians and hip hop artists to teach and direct immigrant and refugee youth in performance and writing about their lives.

Cross-Cultural Dialogue through the Arts, developed and created collaborations between disparate communities. Conceived and directed by Judith Sloan, Cross-Cultural Dialogue Through the Arts (CCDTA) is a training and mentorship program for high school students to work under the direction of professional artists. The program offered a unique hands-on opportunity for graduate and undergraduate college students to work in teams as mentors and performance collaborators with new immigrant teenagers through a multi-media arts and theatre project at the International High School at LaGuardia Community College in Queens. Students from 50 different countries, speaking almost as many languages and dialects, populate the international high school.

College students received training in theatre, writing, oral history, community organizing, interviewing techniques, performance and documentary art. This unique collaboration across cultures also gave immigrant teenagers exposure to a world of higher education which is often closed to them. Theatre exercises in improvisation, characterization, humor, storytelling, and conflict resolution were used to develop monologues and scenes. All participants form creative teams to produce and document the final performances and public dialogues.

At a time of global tension, and polarization, this Cross-Cultural Dialogue through the Arts project is an interesting example of how art and cultural diversity encouraged a depth of scholarship and storytelling that shaped the experience of the participants giving them the tools to make connections between cultures by shedding light on the complexity and humanity of each individual and deepening our understanding of a global community.

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

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