After holding our Curators for Educators program virtually throughout the pandemic, on May 19 we partnered with the Brooklyn Museum for our culminating Dialogue of Spring 2022. Participants, excited to collaborate in-person for the first time, engaged in dialogue about Health + Wellbeing as Human Rights–building on prior conversations to identify tangible practices and approaches for creating and maintaining wellbeing in our homes, classrooms, schools and communities. The three previous dialogues, Self-Care Is Not Selfish, It’s a Family Affair, and Wellbeing as a Community Value, were focused on lifting up and envisioning what self, family, and community care is or can be. Educators discussed opportunities, barriers, challenges, hopes, and strategies for creating change through the framework of Health + Wellbeing as Human Rights with an agenda that included a guided plant meditation, a panel discussion, an engaging gallery tour, and a collaborative brainstorm with visioning for the future.
Curators for Educators (CfE) is a professional development series introducing educators in partner schools and early childhood centers to We Are All Curators, our framework for exchanging stories through art and culture, that puts into practice the notion that art belongs to all.
The workshop began with an herbal meditation led by Tania Romero of Herbal Rising. Tania used mint, rosemary and basil in this healing practice to set the intentions for the day and to explain the importance of plants for healing and connection.
Panelists Adjoa Jones de Almeida (Deputy Director for Learning & Social Impact, Brooklyn Museum), Sabine Blaizin (Director of Programs, Caribbean Culture Center African Diaspora Institute), and Jessica Sain (Teacher, PS 705 Brooklyn Arts & Science Elementary School), responded to the prompt, “What has the pandemic awakened in us?”
Adjoa reminded attendees that “Community can be good for survival but survival should not be the only thing that connects a community,” emphasizing the need to access alternative resources and ways to thrive. Sain drew parallels about connection in family to connections in nature. Just like elder trees provide support with their deep roots to other trees, families must ensure that connection and support are maintained to not only survive but also flourish. Sabine focused on bridging ancestral ways of being and ancient traditions with contemporary tools for building communities.
Adjoa led a tour of Guadalupe Maravilla’s Tierre Blanca Joven, an exhibit including the artist’s Disease Throwers or Healing Machines based on his experiences with trauma, migration, illness, and recovery through sound healing and medicine. After visiting the Healing Room adjacent to the exhibit and co-created with local youth, educators brainstormed and dreamed about what an oasis would look like at their schools and what they would need to do to get there. Recognizing that family involvement, staff well-being, and societal reforms all play important roles in students’ health and success, they envisioned spaces for play, rest, independent choice, and Social Emotional Learning.
We look forward to collaborating and learning with staff of participating schools and centers in the next cycle of Curators for Educators. If you are an educator who is interested in having your school partner with Cool Culture or are already enrolled and have questions about the program, visit our FAQs for Educators page!