The Groundswell Teaching Artist Knowledge Base was collaboratively created by Participatory Community Engagement students and Groundswell, New York City’s leading community public arts organization that brings together artists, youth, and community organizations to use art as a tool for social change. The purpose of the Knowledge Base is to provide a space for Groundswell’s teaching artists to share resources and engage in community building.The Knowledge Base is flexibly designed as an open forum, accessible from the field, to which teaching artists can contribute their own experiences.
Chelsea Weber, Sunaina Rao, Janie Shen, Milagros de Hoz, Luz del Alba Sanchez, Koren Martin, and Gia Lopez
From September 2015 to June 2016, a group of seven students from The New School undertook a community engagement project with Groundswell to collaboratively develop, implement, and document community engagement methodologies with the organization’s network of teaching artist.
Students began by researching, observing, and interviewing Groundswell staff, teaching artists, participants, and community members. These activities provided them with a deeper understanding of the organization’s work, concerns, hopes, and needs.
Then, during the spring of 2016, students designed a series of three workshops using participatory engagement methods including strategic questioning, deep listening, “code” development, dialogues, ice breakers, guided self-reflection, and radical visioning activities. Each session was designed to engage teaching artists in articulating and building a collective community of practice. This collective knowledge would then be captured in a living, evolving document that reflects the reality and vision of Groundswell teaching artists.
Through this process, students learned that teaching artists had a desire to connect with each other and build more avenues for knowledge sharing and mentorship. Based on these findings, the living document eventually morphed into the form of a website to provide an accessible space for teaching artists to share resources and engage in additional community building.
The Groundswell Teaching Artist Knowledge Base is a digital platform to be used and further developed by the teaching artist community at Groundswell. It contains many features including multimedia elements recorded during the sessions, external resources for teaching artists in the field, and tools for sustaining the teaching artist community at Groundswell and the teaching artist as an individual. The website is flexibly designed as an open forum, accessible from the field, to which teaching artists can contribute their own experiences.