Global Narratives of Refugee Youth: Examining the Interwoven Strands of an Interdisciplinary Arts Process

  • Kate Collins Towson University


The following is a critical analysis of the pedagogical and creative practices developed as part of a new community-engaged interdisciplinary arts graduate course which partnered a range of educators pursuing a Master’s degree in interdisciplinary arts infusion with high school students who are refugees. This article explores the question of how the arts can be a vehicle to effectively and ethically share the global stories and narratives of refugee youth and how sharing those stories can affect change. The author first describes the unique context of the project and its participants and then lays out the framework of scholarship that informed the course and its culminating artistic products. The second half of the essay describes the three main artistic strategies that grew out of the collaborative efforts, how they told the global narratives of refugee youth offering nuance and complexity, and how that, in turn, held potential for change. The three interwoven strategies include the creation of an original performance script, a photo essay, and a series of visual art installations. The project director reflects on these efforts as a means to uncover some of the core values important for future replication of the work as well as more broadly applicable insights.