The students participated in a series of project orientation exercises and discussions at their separate campuses and then traveled each other’s campuses to meet, to build a sense of community, and then to start discussing the most critical issues upon which to focus.
One activity asked students to express their reactions to 2015 Uprising. This yielded a range of responses from surprise to anger to celebration to confusion. After they discussed these reactions, they began to brainstorm about what messages they wanted to convey in the exhibit. “Change” rose to the top. Change in how the high school students wanted to be regarded. Change in how Baltimore should be regarded. Change in the dearth of advancement opportunities for people of color. Change in how the system could uplift rather than depress a struggling community.
Students also met at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum for a series of daylong collaboration sessions to discuss options for the exhibit.
They worked in inter-school teams to pitch ideas for the issues they wanted to represent, created mock-ups to test those ideas, and then selected and made the most promising ones.
They decided to build vultures with security cameras for heads to represent the constant surveillance they feel they are under from parents, teachers, and especially the police. Nearly 4,000 feathers and 800 glue sticks later, the vultures were ready for installation. These birds, placed throughout the exhibit, would capture visitors’ moves.