Re-PLACE-ing Philadelphia

Teenagers have unique perspectives on our city. They exist in a liminal zone, not yet expected to inhabit the adult world, yet beyond childhood. They move around independently, eager to observe and question.

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My Science Leadership Academy students have a unique opportunity to be a part of the Re-PLACE-ing project, an “expanded archive of cultural memory.” The student contributions are creative, insightful, and often profound. Thanks to the Painted Bride for providing an opportunity for young people in Philly to share their experiences, perspectives, and art with wider audience.

Below are some highlights of what students have submitted thus far. Keep visiting the Re-PLACE-ing website to see many more student Field Notes over the next several weeks.

Katia Hadjeb came to Philly from Algeria in 2012 not knowing any English. She had to learn to exist in a new culture and a new language while negotiating a vision impairment. Her Vision Note reminds us that blindness is not a limitation. She describes how she learned to navigate a new city and all that she knows, feels, and experiences when out on the street.
Ava Olsen used to play in the rubble of Northern Liberties. Her Street Note asks readers to see the “ghosts of her past,” now buried under a condo complex which speaks, “I used to be something else.” What was once a sanctuary has become memory.
Jade Schweitzer is drawn to the contrast between a sunrise and a piece of trash in the street. She imagines a story behind this worthless object and contemplates, “the pieces of ourselves we lose in all the motions of our daily lives.” She suggests that our problem with litter may also be a problem of forgotten memories.

One comment on “Re-PLACE-ing Philadelphia

  1. You break my heart and give me hope — all at the same time. I, too, “used to be something else” before NCLB and R2T policies pushed so many of us older (opinionated) veteran teachers completely out of the teaching system. It’s not easy to remake yourself, but I’ve also learned another important truth: Once a teacher, always a teacher! :)

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