In fall 2013, SAIC Art Education faculty and graduate students worked in partnership with community-based youth film and literacy organization Scenarios USA to pilot curriculum in nine Chicago high schools—utilizing filmmaking to help young people address issues that impact their lives. Rather than simply sitting down and talking with high schools students about topics such as gender, health, sexuality, and substance abuse, the teaching artists encouraged their students to make movies that address those issues.
As part of the graduate seminar Youth Media Action, participating graduate students spent eight weeks working in high school classrooms alongside partner educators to teach storyboarding and how a creative approach can empower young people to frame their own stories surrounding difficult issues.
The high school students had the opportunity to submit their work—original stories, screenplays, and visual arts projects created in response to the curriculum—to a national competition. This fall, the winning student’s story will be transformed into a short film set in a Chicago high school and incorporated into the nationally taught Scenarios USA curriculum to inspire and empower their peers.