The Harvard Spark

For the past few days, I have been a part of an incredible learning community here at the Alumni of Color Conference at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education. I have felt so energized in this space, engaged in dialogue and deconstructing issues that impact young people of color in educational spaces with researchers, scholars, artists, DREAMers, practitioners, activists, organizers, youth, and community leaders.        unnamed-1The conference, designed around the theme of RADICALIZE, REIMAGINE, RECONSTRUCT, was all about sparking ideas for change. I’ve always seen education as being about service. But, education is also about activism—for equity, diversity and inclusion.

We’ve all been given the duty of putting the ideas 💡 sparked here into action back in our communities to create positive change.  When I envision that positive change, I see learning environments being places that encourage, inspire, and support all young people to become their best selves.

I see Spatialosophy™.

While at Harvard, I had an opportunity to visit Mo Kwok’s ‘Talking To Strangers’ exhibit.  The exhibit creates a space that gives the public a reason to speak their truth and learn from others who may have radically different realities from themselves.

When asked to participate in an impromptu dialogue session with Sheliza Jamal (pictured) of Toronto, Canada, I said yes. The two of us had an engaging exchange of ideas, shared a bit of our stories, and found commonalities between them. Best of all, we’re no longer strangers.IMG_0642

As an educator and designer of learning spaces, I see possibilities in this work to identify and remove barriers to full participation in society, while simultaneously seeking to create new conditions that promote equity and inclusion.

The framework and classroom curriculum that I am developing (launching this fall) promote a society where a range of different human needs, experiences, values and perspectives are recognized and validated.

In learning spaces, I see possibilities for such a world 🌎 to exist.

(c) 2018 Devan Blackwell, M.A.

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