Kristin Rose Kelly served as Queer Youth Director for Theatre for Change and Arts Coordinator for Arts-in-Action at Queering Education Research Institute under her Syracuse University 5th Year Engagement Fellowship.
Theatre for Change
The project aims to (1) generate dialogue around issues of diversity and inclusion by collecting stories from LGBT kids within the schools and developing theatre pieces about these school experiences; and (2) serve as an opportunity for students to share their stories in the community and become active participants in making change in schools. Students who choose to participate in the theatre troupe will have the opportunity to share their stories in the community and take an active role in improving school climate for LGBTQ students. These theatre pieces will then be taken back into the schools and performed with the intent of educating local youth about the various ways that LGBTQ students are limited in their opportunities to participate in the school environment. Students will then have opportunities to engage in dialogue about creating a school environment that is affirming for all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
LGBTQ/A Identity Art Project
In Upstate New York with LGBTQ/A identified students in Gay Straight Alliances and other diversity clubs, students were given canvas and a range of art supplies with the prompt to represent their school experience as a LGBTQ/A student. 200 pieces of visual and textual artwork were created and exhibited in galleries and schools, accompanied by a curriculum guide. Large numbers of students were introduced to the idea that their own queer identities and experiences were valid content for artistic inspiration in a school space.
Queer Students CNY: A Day of Arts, Education, and Action
April 1, 2011, XL Gallery Syracuse, NY
200 pieces of visual and textual art from the Identity Art projects conducted in 11 CNY schools were showcased in the gallery space, devised theatre performance inspired by student artwork, and student poetry readings and story sharing by a panel of LGBTQ youth.