Guiding Principles in Co-Designing Arts Spaces With Youth Leaders

Facilitated by youth leaders of the National Youth Network (NYN) as part of the Creative Youth Development movement, participants at this sharing session engage in a visual showcase, an interactive self-assessment tool and guiding principles to co-design spaces with youth leaders. Centering Paulo Friere’s educational philosophy that “there is no student who learns and teacher who educates, but a shared power relationship where both who are taught also teach,” presenters share a self-reflective practice through a NYN-created self-assessment tool. This tool offers educators, practitioners and administrators support in developing a co-design process with youth. Participants also receive key principles in co-designing shared youth and adult leadership spaces in and outside the classroom.

Presenter Bios

Paula Alvarado Ortega (she/ella), CYD National Youth Coordinator at Creative Youth Development National Partnership, is 20 years old and lives in Phoenix, Arizona. She is enrolled at Phoenix College focused on Criminal Justice and Theatre. She also works at Rising Youth Theatre as a transforming artistic collaborator and is a co-founder and staff member at RE:Frame Youth Art Center. Within all her work as an artist and community organizer, she focuses on completely shifting the way young people are included and valued. Alongside her peers, she ignites new norms where young people are recognized as leaders, compensated for their time and work alongside adults equally.

Ashley Hare (she/they), director of leadership development at National Guild for Community Arts Education, works to integrate wellness, joy, community organizing, elder and ancestral knowledge and youth-led artistic practice. She works within shelters for youth who are homeless, in group homes, rehabilitation facilities, juvenile detention centers and schools. They serve the National Guild remotely from Phoenix, Arizona, and supports Re:Frame Youth Arts Center as a co-founder and adult accomplice who shares leadership power with a 50% youth staff and board. She also serves as a board member for Mass Liberation AZ, who works to abolish incarceration for youth and adults.

Micky Johnson (she/her), National Young Artists Summit coordinator at Creative Youth Development National Partnership, is 17 years old and works with Creative Action’s Changing Lives Youth Theatre Ensemble in Austin, Texas. She loves helping people and hopes her work helps make the community a better place for the future generations. She serves the CYD’s 2020 National Youth Summit as the Content Curation Coordinator, expanding her role from an alumni of the 2019 NYAS planning team. In addition to theatre arts, Micky is really big on visual arts and piano. She is happiest when using self-expressive art for social justice.

Access additional 2020 AEP Virtual Gathering resources here.

Author profile

Title: 2280 Pasos Bajo un Cielo Nublado | Artist: Hernán Jourdan | Medium: Film

When I was asked to create a work of art exploring literacy, I wanted to create a dance but I had no dancers or a studio, so I chose to use my own body in the space I had, my yard. Fluent Nature is video of micro-choreography that explores what cannot be expressed with words, how nature has its own language, and how placing the human body in nature changes the story.

Title: What Is Me and What Is Not Me | Artist: Alex Chadwell | Medium: Music

My thinking on arts and literacy centers around the concept of literacies and artmaking as both sense-making and meaning-making processes that organically and inevitably overlap, intersect, and reciprocate. Compositionally, What is me and what is not me is a sound collage of sorts (there is no notation for the piece, and I'd be hard pressed to recreate it accurately) that abstractly and aurally represents the relationships between literacies and artmaking.

Title: A Curious Honeybee | Artist: Gideon Young | Medium: Film

Offering welcome through traditional and digital elements of literacy, A Curious Honeybee provides an experiential learning environment by activating visual, musical, natural, and emotional literacies.

Title: Tercera Llamada | Artist: Karilú Forshee | Medium: Audio

La Carpa Theatre is a project that I am currently directing in the Detroit Latinx community. The project aims to strengthen and uplift youth voices through devised theatre, in the style of the Mexican Carpas. This audio was created in the theatrical environment envisioned for our project. The ways in which literacies are re-defined are at the heart of La Carpa Theatre's mission.

Title: Literaseas | Artist: MJ Robinson | Medium: Graphite and ink on paper with digital edits

Title: A Riddle | Artist: MJ Robinson | Medium: Graphite on paper with digital edits

Title: False Binaries | Artist: MJ Robinson | Medium: Graphite on paper with digital edits