Whose Agency? Reflections on Building Critical Consciousness Through Maker-Centered Learning and Arts Integration

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An Ignite Talk by 2018-2019 Agency by Design Oakland Teacher Fellow Kurt Kaaekuahiwi


Kurt Kaaekuahiwi is an Ethnic Studies, Art, and Making teacher at Roses in Concrete Community School. In his Ignite Talk, presented at Agency by Design Oakland’s year-end event on Saturday, May 4, 2019, Kurt and his students explore how art and making can impact engagement within the course content. “How do we humanize using Arts and Making in ways that promoted critical consciousness?” Kurt asks in his Ignite Talk.

“We looked at the design process of making our own skin color. We mixed primary and secondary colors using tinting and shading to make our own shades of brownness. ‘Look Mr. K -- this is actually my skin color. I made it, look!’ Students were able to talk about internalized racism, talk about the politics of identity, the politics of being light skinned and of being dark skinned and bright, and talk about what ‘she's hella dark’ comes from, what that means.”

Watch Kurt’s inspiring Ignite Talk below! And follow the #pictureofpractice hashtag to see more Ignite Talks and leadership from our 2018-2019 Teacher Fellows.

Kurt standing by his students’ collaborative mural of Nipsey Hussle.

Kurt standing by his students’ collaborative mural of Nipsey Hussle.