Addressing Injustices
Addressing Injustices
Addressing Injustices brings together teachers and middle school students to read, write, and change the world.
 

After Night

In 2013 in Toronto, Canada, teenagers from a Catholic youth leadership group and teacher candidates from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto came together with Dr. Rob Simon and his research team to investigate what happens when young people and educators engage in collective art-making in response to the novel Night by Nobel laureate, Elie Wiesel (1960). The 25-minute documentary film AfterNight (2014) tells the touching story of this research project from the perspectives of the people involved in it, and makes a case for the value of drawing on multiliteracies in classrooms, art-making as a form of inquiry and curriculum-development, and also for art itself, as curriculum.

 
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What We Did

In Night, Wiesel recounts his experience of surviving the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps during World War II. In response to Night, students and teacher candidates collaborated to produce art works, which included triangles painted on book pages in colors and patterns they chose to represent their visions of diversity and solidarity with victims of intolerance. The youth, teachers, and researchers put together an exhibition of their paintings for public viewing at Hart House, University of Toronto.

What it Looked Like

“The experience I had doing this project was astounding. Looking at history helps us, as a society, to ensure our wrongdoings are not repeated. Writing a letter [to Elie Wiesel], making triangles, and even reading Night were all small ways of exploring the past to learn for the future.” - Youth Participant Researcher

“How strange that we would rip up a book and cover its words to honour the dead in its pages. Strange that the words we chose were not even in the same language as the text. But when I saw it hanging with the other canvasses—even though I was a part of its creation—I was moved.” - Teacher Candidate, OISE — University of Toronto

“I was so shocked that teachers were being so kind and really connecting to me in a personal way, and I think that the arts-based approach really had a lot to do with that.” - Youth Participant Researcher

”I gained so much from taking part in this project; growing intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally. I especially feel that I was able to connect with the novel on another level through the art project.” - Youth Participant Researcher

Resources

Voices into Action is a free online educational program that features tools for teaching and learning about human rights, including horrific events in human history like the Holocaust.

Visit their website

Download the PDF guide for developing your own Holocaust exhibit

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