📸 Images of Displacement & Hope | 8th Grade Interdisciplinary Project
Gili Sherman, Middle School Art Teacher
Throughout this year, our 8th graders engaged in an interdisciplinary project combining art, history, and writing, called “Images of Displacement & Hope.” For this project, the students interviewed Ukrainian refugees and conveyed their stories of complex challenges, migration journeys, and resilience, through portrait photography. 

The project aimed to develop empathy in students for the experiences of refugees forced to flee their homes during wartime. Learning one person’s story helps put a face on the statistics of displaced people we hear about in the news but don’t often meet in person.
On May 22, parents and students gathered together in Makom Kehillah to view the photographic exhibit which included “response” images constructed by our students to convey their main takeaways from the refugees’ testimonials.
Our exhibit also included the images created by students in Moldova and Ukraine, who collaborated with our 8th graders on this same project. A highlight of the evening was the moment when our students joyfully greeted the Ukrainian refugees, many of whom also attended our event.  

After viewing the exhibit and charting family migration journeys on a huge world map, students, parents, and guests heard from one of the Ukrainian refugees, Anya Savostenia, thanked our community for this empathy promoting project. Then, our artist-in-residence, Brendan Bannon, led us in a meaningful activity using artful portraits he took of our 8th graders. Using special pens, students were directed to write on their portraits what they want the world to know about refugees. Parents also received a portrait and were urged to write best wishes for their children as they transition from BZ to high school. 

We hope you enjoy viewing some of the special moments from our community-building event. Please take a look at the wonderful news piece produced for NBC Chicago.
Watch the feature on NBC5

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