The Shorewood High School class, Exploring Activism Through Image and Word, did a lot of amazing work this year, the culminating project of which was the students’ digital art and poetry exhibition titled “The Movement from the Inside.”
This exhibition features the work of all students in the class and was originally scheduled to be premiered at the Woodland Pattern Book Center. The class chose to partner with Woodland Pattern because the nonprofit has been “dedicated to the discovery, cultivation, and presentation of poetry, independent literature, and the arts” for the past forty years, and nourishes and celebrates creative expression in all people.
Although, the students were not able to present their final work at the Center, they are excited to be able to share their work in a public virtual space.
In its second year, Image and Word is a junior-senior (and exceptional sophomores) elective class that was co-created and is co-taught by Renee Glembin, SHS English teacher, and Jessica Mohgen, SHS art teacher, that seeks to engage students in discussions, activities and experiences related to social justice.
The students spend the first semester of the class immersed in reading about topics such as the history of Black Lives Matter, racial disparities in education, environmental racism, gender bias, food insecurity and barriers to climate change reform. They invite community activists, educators and people with personal stories about these issues to come to the class to speak and engage the students in discussions. They take students into communities outside of Shorewood to meet with community leaders in various neighborhoods and to learn the history of those neighborhoods.
The goal for the second semester of the class is for students to take what they have learned, branch out and research these issues further, or explore other issues that concern them and create a capstone project, a visual art piece that is enhanced by an original, or borrowed poem, that then educates others about this issue.
“Because our class emphasizes community, it is important that our capstone projects are seen by the community and that the students then engage with people who view their projects,” says Glembin.
“Like everything else in the world, Image and Word looked and felt very different this year... Nonetheless, our students persevered during all the confusion and disappointments of these last few months, and we are so proud of them. They are passionate. They are thoughtful. They care about the community. Enjoy the work they have done and pay attention to the issues they care about. They have insights into them that can enlighten us all.”