Midcasting Towards Just Futures: Creative Youth Development and Systems Change in the Pandemic


Earlier this year, The Lewis Prize for Music published a white paper, “Midcasting Toward Just Futures: Creative Youth Development’s Waymaking to Systems Change Through and Beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic”. This white paper emerged from The Lewis Prize’s focus and research on systems change and the work of creative youth development (CYD) organizations to meet the direct needs of the communities they serve. The paper compiles case studies, essays from youth and adult researchers and the findings of our field-wide surveying to discuss the work of CYD organizations in their communities over the last year. This session features data collected from 280 CYD organizations, case studies around the implementation of systems change through direct service and the voices of youth leaders alongside prominent CYD researchers. Attendees can connect with the impact that music CYD organizations have had in their communities since the pandemic and learn how they are positioning young people to innovate, plan and imagine new pathways toward just futures beyond and because of this moment of critical uncertainty. In this roundtable discussion featuring some of the white paper’s contributors, presenters share the paper’s findings and engage in breakout discussions about CYD, direct service provision, systems change and the work of mapping and midcasting toward just futures with young people.


Arielle Julia Brown, Knowledge Generation Lead at The Lewis Prize for Music
Jakayla Furr, Youth Organizer at Hyde Square Taskforce (White Paper Contributor)
Raquel Jimenez, Doctoral Candidate at Harvard University (White Paper Contributor)

Access additional 2021 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