See Beyond Looking

The possibility of…seeing beyond looking.

I created a visual travel journal of my time in Northern India to share with students at the school where I taught in New Jersey. That project, titled: SEE BEYOND LOOKING (Dekhne Se Aage Dekhoo), captured the experiences and explorations of that incredible adventure made possible for me by Rotary International in 2011.

I haven’t watched this DVD in a few years, but India has been on my mind and in my dreams a lot lately—this place in particular. One of the many places I visited was this school in a remote village. It was winter and very cold. The learning space was outdoors and supplies were sparse. But the teachers were dedicated and the students were joyful (as you’ll see in the clip).

While my research into the optimal design of learning spaces began formally in 2015 with a National After School Matters Fellowship, it began informally right here in this remote village. I see that now.

I wanted to understand how these students could be so happy and enthusiastic about learning in such surroundings. There was “something” about that place, “something” I couldn’t articulate at the time, or for many years afterward. But now, I do have the words for it. I am able to “see” beyond looking. 

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(c) 2018 Devan Blackwell, M.A.

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