The Youth Arts and Voices Project aims to provide refugee and immigrant children and youth with an opportunity to share their voice.
BRYCS believes that incorporating a “youth voice” into programs that serve refugees and immigrants is essential to operating from a positive youth development perspective. Youth Arts and Voices aims to showcase the creativity and talent of refugee and immigrant children and youth living in the United States and bring together, in one place, information on innovative expressive arts programs, bibliographic references and Web sites.
Art for Refugees in Transition (ART) (http://www.artforrefugees.org/about.html) is an international organization with a mission to help “rebuild individual and community identity for refugees worldwide.” ART brings children, adults, and elders together to create visual and performing arts projects drawing from their own cultures and traditions help helping refugee communities cope with the trauma, terror and dislocation of war and natural disaster. ART works with local and international relief institutions and work to ensure their curricula and training programs are self-sustaining. ART’s initial pilot program was partnership with the International Rescue Committee and was launched in two Burmese refugee camps in Thailand in 2003. ART is currently running its programs in Colombia, in Tintalito, localidad Kennedy, Bogota, Carmen de Viboral, and Antioquia.
Artswork (http://www.artswork.org.uk/) is a national, independent youth arts development agency, based in Southampton, England. Established in 1987, Artswork works to raise standards in youth arts work and increase opportunities for young people, aged 12-25, particularly for those considered most at risk. Artswork has direct service programs, which provide creative opportunities for youth and also delivers a range of professional development resources for art education professionals and others who work with young people in the arts. Artswork programs include:
- ENYAN (English National Youth Arts Network), a membership body designed to create connections throughout the diverse youth arts sector at national, regional and grass roots levels;
- Artsplan, the training and publications department, promoting professional development opportunities for professionals and volunteers currently using, or looking to use the arts in their work with young people, especially young people at risk. A set of guidelines, titled: “Using the Arts with Young Refugees and Asylum Seekers”, written by Stella Barnes and developed in partnership with Greenwich and Lewisham Young People’s Theatre (GYPT), is available for purchase. Instructions to order the book are at: http://artswork.vm.bytemark.co.uk/projects/artsplan/publications/yras-guideline
- hub4, a £1 million national partnership project between Artswork, BBC Blast, and the youth charity The Prince’s Trust, funded by the Big Lottery. The project reaches 5000 young people across the UK, improving education, training and employment opportunities, as well as enhancing young people’s self-confidence, skills and abilities;
- Upstart, an online magazine, which provides news, jobs, reviews, interviews, and articles;
- Future Something Project is an innovative digital arts and technology project, funded by NESTA, the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Artshttp://www.nesta.org.uk/;
- The Hot Room is a digital media training project for young people at risk in Southampton.
International Child Art Foundation (http://www.icaf.org/) offers a number of programs including: the Arts Olympiads, the World Children’s Festivals, Peace through Art and Healing Arts programs, interactive exhibitions, research, Sketches newsletter and ChildArt quarterly publication. The ICAF serves as the national art and creativity organization for American children and the international art organization for the world’s children. It integrates the arts with science, sport and technology for the development of children’s creativity and empathy – preconditions for a more just, prosperous and nonviolent world. ICAF’s Virtual Art Galleries include:
The Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) Youth Network(http://www.ccrweb.ca/eng/about/youth.htm) was launched in June 2006 at the International Conference on Refugee Rights and now offers online discussions and teleconferences, youth-led workshops and strategy sessions, and the development of youth-driven projects. The Youth Network’s vision is to promote youth inclusion and address challenges faced by refugee and immigrant youth.
The Illustrated Journey (http://weblogs.elearning.ubc.ca/illustratedjourney/) is a project seeking to document in comic book form the journeys of newcomer youth to Canada. It is funded by La Boussole, The Vancouver Foundation, The CKNW Fund, The University of British Columbia, and The Komeza Empowerment Society. Influenced comic book artists such as: Marjane Satrapi and her autobiographical narrative Persepolis; Joe Sacco; and Art Spiegelman, the project’s goal is to bring together the comic book community and the refugee community in a community public art project. This project opens opportunities for refugee youth to explore their creative and story telling skills and for artists to explore art production in a community based context. View a sampling of the youth illustrations. (Description adapted from the Web site)
The Suitcase Project (http://www.suitcase.org.za) is an art therapy initiative that allows refugee to work past experience and memories through creative expression. The program also focuses on anti-xenophobia education. The web site has little information about the program activities however a range of t-shirts are for sale and the money that is earned from their sale supports the education program.
VoRTCS (http://www.refugeetutoring.org/home/), also known as the Volunteer Refugee Tutoring and Community Support Program, is a non-profit, volunteer-run program of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. VoRTCS is based in South Brisbane, Australia, serving a large area of South East Queensland. VoRTCS has a Refugee Tutoring program, which provides free in-home English language support and also runs several other programs aimed at assisting refugee families to settle into life in Australia. The Refugee+Art program provides short series of free art classes for members of the refugee community in a variety of disciplines, including painting, puppet-making, kite-making and drawing cartoons. Classes are conducted by experienced artists and usually involve a central theme for the series of classes, such as hope, family or courage. Classes are conducted in English in order for participants to enhance their English language skills through story telling and group sharing, as well as make new friends within the refugee community. The program is designed to enhance the confidence, self-esteem and language skills of the participants.
UNHCR Refugee Youth Photo Gallery (http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/photos?set=refugee-youth)
looks at young refugees and how they attempt to cope with life during or after exile. The gallery features a Bosnian teenager finding her home destroyed, a boy seeing his native Eritrea for the first time, a displaced Liberian girl juggling daily chores with her baby brother, and young returnees attending school in Vietnam.
UNHCR World Refugee Day Photo Contest 2007 (http://www.usaforunhcr.org/usaforunhcr/dynamic.cfm?ID=390), sponsored by UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie, invited students to submit their photos around the theme, “A new home, a new life.” The photos illustrate the United States’ long tradition of welcoming refugees and the contribution refugees have made to their new communities. Entries were judged on effectiveness of conveying the contest theme, presentation, originality and creativity. This Web site displays the photos of the 2007 contest winners
UNICEF Voices of Youth Web Site (http://www.unicef.org/voy/) has been in existence since 1995 and started as a way for young people from around the world to send messages to world leaders at the World Summit for Social Development, held in Copenhagen in the spring of 1995. It was also developed as part of the celebrations for UNICEF’s 50th Anniversary. The present day website has three separate areas for young people to “explore, speak out and take action” and offers interactive games, discussion boards, and puzzles and brainteasers – all of them based on child rights. Special features include the 18@18 Online Art Exhibit commemorating the 18th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Voices of Youth Digital Diaries, radio stories by young people from around the world. A virtual how-to guide in English, Spanish, or French gives the viewer examples of the features available on the Voices of Youth Web Site.
United Nations “Cyberschoolbus” (http://cyberschoolbus.un.org) was created in 1996 as the online education component of the Global Teaching and Learning Project, whose mission is to promote education about international issues and the United Nations. The Global Teaching and Learning Project produces teaching materials and activities designed for educational use (at primary, intermediate and secondary school levels) and for training teachers. The web site includes an interactive database of official and up-to-date information and statistics regarding the countries of the world; a schools de-mining project, which brings schools together around the issue of landmines; a Model UN discussion area; a health discussion board; and a comprehensive 6-unit teaching module on urban development.
The web site also features a Gallery, which links to UN art competitions and web sites displaying the works of young artists from around the world. http://www.un.org/cyberschoolbus/gallery/index.asp.
Check out the on-line exhibit:
Aftershocks Journals: Art and Memoirs by Young People Growing Up after War and Terror. http://www.un.org/cyberschoolbus/aftershocks/about.asp
All of the materials presented in this online exhibit were created while the young artists (many of whom are Bosnian refugees) participated in programs run by the Children’s Movement for Creative Education http://www.childrensmovement.org/index.html. The art was also exhibited at the United Nations New York, November 2003.