Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Language Arts and Leadership Conference, 2017

On April 19, we hosted 25 students for our annual "Language Arts and Leadership" conference. This year, we had student participants from Edwardsville High School, East St. Louis High School, and the SIUE/East St. Louis Charter High School. The event included presentations, mixed media sessions, and a book fair.

At the conference, the high school students get opportunities to participate on various learning projects. They also have the chance to experience some time on a college campus for educational activities -- a process that happens too infrequently.

Among other things, the conference is always an important chance to get these young guys thinking and talking about art, language, and ideas. This year, the ideas included Black Panther cover variants, rap lyrics and poetry, astrophysics, a brief history on Black Power, and a developing fiction project about jetpacks and East St. Louis.
Notes on the conference:
Black boys imagining Black Panther covers
Black boys and astrophysics
Jetpacks, East St. Louis, and science fiction
A photo-review of the Language Arts & Leadership Conference
Baraka, black boys & poetic curiosity 
Another free book fair for black boys
Of course, this conference was a large collaborative effort. My colleagues Darryl Cherry, Elizabeth Cali, Jessica Harris, Matt Johnson, Geoff Schmidt, and Linda Jaworski-Moiles all contributed. The Philosophy Department covered lunch for the guys, and my friends at Lovejoy Library provided the space. Several SIUE students, including Briana Reed, Kendra Martin, Amelia Williams, Taylor Cross, and Breanna Woolfolk, also helped out in a variety of ways, like running the book fair.

Past conferences:
The Language Arts and Leadership Conference, 2016
The Language Arts and Leadership Conference, 2015

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