"We prepare students to engage in the world that is and to help bring about a world that ought to be."

Upper Schoolers Find Common Ground in Climate (EX)Change

The bustling streets of New York City, the rocky coast and sandy shores of Portland, and the idyllic scenery of Oxford Hills all have one thing in common—climate change.

In response, Visual Arts teacher, Andrew Harrison, and Computer Science teacher, Remy Mansfield, created The Climate Change (EX)change, a collaborative storytelling project that brought together students from high schools in three distinct locations (Oxford Hills, ME; Portland, ME, and New York City). The class created a venue for participants to operate in small teams as collaborators, critical thinkers, and creators responding to issues of climate change through multiple lenses. Climate (EX)Change acted as a bridge for students to create a visual response to climate change unique to their locations based on the themes of transportation, food, land, air, water, and energy. 

This spring, students met weekly and were challenged to consider a number of variables such as the places, people, and ways of life that will be transformed as the air, land, water, and access to food is altered and relay their findings in an artistic manner. Another week, students were compelled to assess what climate change sounds like by recording the audio of environments around them that identify elements of climate change. They were then tasked with examining their peers’ work and combining it to mix and match and build shared environmental landscapes marked by video and audio recordings from different locations—a truly unique and collaborative process. 

Click here to discover more about the curriculum with individual group websites linked within. 

The foundation for the class experience was built from Friends’ Layered City: Urban Space through Art, Technology and Social Justice, which is designed and led by Harrison and Mansfield and pedagogy from The Modern Story. The class challenges students to take a hands-on, experiential approach to the critical social justice issues facing New York City. The course was organized around four thematic units, Intersectionality, Governance, Access, & Adaption that provided a framework for investigations of the city. Through these themes, the students examine New York's public spaces and monuments, the incarceration system, public transit, and climate change.
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Friends Seminary — the oldest continuously operated, coeducational school in NYC — serves college-bound day students in Kindergarten-Grade 12.
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