Between Two Worlds

A Collaborative Curriculum Addressing Immigration through Folk Art, Media Literacy, and Digital Storytelling

By Laura Marcus Green with Katy Gross and Tara Trudell


At the heart of all Gallery of Conscience (GoC) exhibitions are community-based collaborations that take place within and beyond museum walls. Through its community engagement process, the GoC develops ongoing partnerships that grow organically from exhibition themes. During the life of an exhibition, multiple partnerships take place concurrently, always drawing from and often contributing back to exhibit content and programming.
Green, Laura Marcus with Katy Goss and Tara Trudell. 2016. Between Two Worlds: A Collaborative Curriculum Addressing Immigration through Folk Art, Media Literacy, and Digital Storytelling. Journal of Folklore and Education. 3:8-20.

In Local Learning Focus: The Gallery of Conscience, a gallery director, a community engagement collaborator, and a classroom teacher examine the profound implications of opening museum exhibitions about contemporary, controversial issues to public and student co-curation. The projects involve folk artists and folklore’s ethnographic tools to create a participatory space to learn about an issue from multiple perspectives, with the possible outcome of fostering empathy and understanding. Read the full section pdf here.

Other articles from this section include:

  • Like a Jazz Song: Designing for Community Engagement in Museums
    by Suzanne Seriff
  • Project-Based Learning: Elementary Students as Researchers of Immigration Narratives
    by Natasha Agrawal
Audio Files
Between Two Worlds Gallery in Santa Fe

Gallery of Conscience, Museum of International Folk Art exhibition Between Two Worlds: Folk Artists Reflect on the Immigrant Experience, 2014. Photo by Blair Clark. Courtesy of the Museum of International Folk Art.

Traveler, there is no path. The path is made in walking.

—Antonio Machado, 20th-century Spanish poet

Building Community through Collaboration

At the heart of all Gallery of Conscience (GoC) exhibitions are community-based collaborations that take place within and beyond museum walls. Through its community engagement process, the GoC develops ongoing partnerships that grow organically from exhibition themes. GoC collaborations vary in scope and nature, ranging from journals and story cloths created by English language (ESL) students, to a spoken word poetry residency with at-risk youth, a dialogue and moderated panel focused on transgender issues, and a peace quilt created by Palestinian, Jewish Israeli, and American young women with instruction from a Nigerian/Yoruba indigo resist-dye master. During the life of an exhibition, multiple partnerships take place concurrently, always drawing from and often contributing back to exhibit content and programming. In this article, as a folklorist and former GoC Community Engagement Coordinator, I present one such collaboration, based on the exhibition Between Two Worlds: Folk Artists Reflect on the Immigrant Experience (2014-16).

While in progress, this collaboration often seemed like a braid. The three “strands” of the braid included the Museum of International Folk Art’s Gallery of Conscience, Youth Media Project (YMP), and ¡YouthWorks!—three local community-based organizations with kindred missions and programs. The first partner was the GoC itself. Founded in 1953, the Museum of International Folk Art (MOIFA) seeks “to enrich the human spirit by connecting people with the arts, traditions and cultures of the world.” In 2010, former MOIFA Director Marsha Bol established the GoC, explaining, “As the largest folk art museum in the world, there is a responsibility to create a forum to discuss current issues that folk artists are facing around the world.” Folklorist Suzanne Seriff curated the first two exhibitions in the GoC, which focused on social justice issues related to women’s empowerment and natural disasters, respectively. In the third year, she conducted a strategic plan to research models for creating a more participatory, community-driven approach to exhibition design and process, which resulted in the prototyping model described in her article above. The newly formulated GoC team consisted of three MOIFA staff—a curator, preparator, and museum educator—and three outside members, including the director, prototyping consultant Kathy McLean, and myself as Community Engagement Coordinator.

South African beadworker and HIV/AIDS activist Lulama Sihlabeni and beaded skeletons in the GoC, during the exhibition, Let's Talk About This: Folk Artists Respond to HIV/AIDS, 2013. The skeletons were made by members of eKhaya eKasi (Home in the Hood) as a tool for HIV/AIDS awareness. Photo by Bob Smith.

South African beadworker and HIV/AIDS activist Lulama Sihlabeni and beaded skeletons in the GoC, during the exhibition, Let’s Talk About This: Folk Artists Respond to HIV/AIDS, 2013. The skeletons were made by members of eKhaya eKasi (Home in the Hood) as a tool for HIV/AIDS awareness. Photo by Bob Smith.

Youth Media Project was the second critical player in the Between Two Worlds partnership. This Santa Fe-based organization teaches the craft of digital storytelling and the art of listening for a socially responsible world.” YMP develops projects through collaborative relationships with community partners such as schools and youth-focused organizations, which provide access to participants. Over the years, YMP has developed a framework for engaging with young people, establishing their trust, and equipping them with tools to explore contemporary issues through the lens of media literacy and digital storytelling. Many of their collaborations result in public listening events and radio broadcasts that are subsequently posted on YMP’s website, as well as the national Public Radio Exchange,

As the GoC embarked on its more participatory process, YMP emerged as a natural community partner. Folklorists and journalists are professional listeners by trade, using recorded interviews, writing, and photography to document and interpret their subjects. Differences in how folklorists and journalists conduct their work emerged as the project evolved—more on that below. In developing the Between Two Worlds collaboration, I worked closely with YMP’s Education Director Katy Gross and Media Arts Intern and poet Tara Trudell. Suzanne Seriff and former YMP Director Mi’Jan Celie Tho-Biaz provided ongoing input and oversight.

The Between Two Worlds project was the second partnership between the GoC and YMP. During our pilot collaboration, based on the GoC’s previous exhibition Let’s Talk About This: Folk Artists Respond to HIV/AIDS, we established criteria for selecting a third community partner. The key ingredients included the capacity to provide consistent access to youth participants and the resonance of an organization’s mission with YMP’s programmatic focus and with the GoC’s exhibition theme at the time of collaboration. Both the GoC and YMP seek to cultivate enduring collaborative relationships through their work, so a prior track record with an organization is also a factor in choosing the third community partner.

Another project component established during the pilot collaboration was the understanding that the workshop’s thematic focus would generate content for the GoC’s exhibition and public programs. Having a “readymade” theme for students to explore represented a shift from YMP’s usual way of doing things. Generally YMP workshops give students more agency in determining the topic for a given workshop. Nonetheless, within the theme of immigration, workshop participants found ways to personalize the topic and their experience with it.

The third partner in the Between Two Worlds project was ¡YouthWorks!, a nonprofit organization that creates opportunities for disconnected youth and families in Northern New Mexico to become engaged and valued members of their communities. Through their programs, job training and placement, life skills counseling, and education and leadership development, they inspire youth to realize their full potential. ¡YouthWorks! recruits a new cohort of approximately 30 students each fall. Students apply based on their interest and their determination to forge a path toward a productive and satisfying life. ¡YouthWorks! students spend two days a week in the classroom and two on a jobsite where they develop vocational and professional skills. Students typically graduate in the summer. For Between Two Worlds, GoC and YMP staff worked closely with ¡YouthWorks! leadership and classroom instructors to ensure that the project meshed with participants’ schedules, activities, and goals.

Growing from the work and missions of the three partner organizations, the collaboration unfolded symbiotically. GoC and YMP staff crafted a curriculum focusing on immigration, filtered through the lens of the Between Two Worlds exhibition. The exhibition featured textiles, woodcarvings, beadwork, papel picado (cut paper), paintings, and poetry by Cuban, Mozambican, Hmong, Mexican, New Mexican, Brazilian, Lakota, Polish, Nigerian, Tibetan, Navajo, and Peruvian artists. These artists drew upon their art forms to express their experiences and feelings about immigration from the perspectives of those leaving home, those left behind, and those receiving newcomers into their midst. In tandem with the artworks on display, interactive components invited visitors to respond, and thereby contribute to, the exhibition. The exhibit’s thematic focus was developed through a series of dialogues with local immigrant artists and community members. Thus, the interrelated ideas of home and belonging, displacement, and living between worlds informed the selection of artworks as well as the development of collaborations and public programs throughout the life of the exhibit.

Through the prototyping process, GoC exhibitions evolve over time, based on visitor input and community engagement. In the case of Between Two Worlds, as in all GoC exhibitions, prototyping drew upon and responded to community-based dialogues, visitor feedback, and collaborative projects with community partners, as well as with local, national, and international folk artists. Over the exhibition’s two-year run, there were at least four iterations, as some artworks were removed and others added, interactives were tweaked, and thematic sections were reconfigured. By its final iteration, the exhibition encompassed a significant number of pieces that came in through the GoC’s community engagement process, including a listening station where visitors could hear the audio pieces created through the GoC-YMP-¡YouthWorks! collaboration and a related chapbook of student poetry.

Artists and Students in Gallery of Conscience

Photos from top: 1) Mexican papel picado artist Catalina Delgado Trunk, left, welcomes ¡YouthWorks! students in her Albuquerque studio. From left: Philip Talachy, Dacien Villa, and Sean Martinez. 2) ¡YouthWorks! student Dacien Villa, left, interviews Tibetan Thangka painter Lama Gyurme. 3) ¡YouthWorks! students work on their writing All photos by Laura Marcus Green. Courtesy of the Museum of International Folk Art.

Immigration is a topic that can divide community members of diverse cultures or those who view the issues from different perspectives. This collaboration, however, built community at various levels. The Between Two Worlds curriculum encouraged workshop participants to interpret their immediate communities and the world beyond through the twin lenses of media literacy and folk art, using the tools of journalism and ethnography. Reflecting the community where they live, ¡YouthWorks! cohorts are composed of Hispanic, Latino, Native American, and Euro-American students.2 Endemic to this social landscape and its complex history is a tension that can arise among members of these cultural communities. During planning meetings, ¡YouthWorks! staff related that students often come into a new cohort with preexisting biases toward classmates from other cultural communities, a microcosm of the larger social context. Often, however, they quickly develop a sense of solidarity, recognizing that their shared experiences and goals are more compelling than their differences. The thematic focus of the Between Two Worlds workshop helped students navigate their sense of identity and develop empathy for those who differ from them. Further, although not all participants were immigrants, as “disconnected youth,” they readily related to the themes of belonging, home, displacement, and living between worlds.


Ultimately, the collaboration benefited all three partners. The project generated content and public programming for the Between Two Worlds exhibition. It resulted in an edition of the YMP program Audio Revolution!, which airs on local public and community radio stations. The partnership also supported ¡YouthWorks! goals by providing students opportunities for academic and professional development, while helping to integrate the young people and their families more solidly and productively into the social fabric of northern New Mexico.

The Curriculum Framework

Following is an overview of the Between Two Worlds collaboration, provided as a roadmap for replicating the project in museums, classrooms, or other settings. This section includes goals, a step-by-step outline of the project, project outcomes, challenges and lessons learned, and a few tips. A lesson plan for the first workshop session provides a taste of the curriculum. The complete curriculum is currently under development and will be available on the Museum of International Folk Art’s website upon its completion.

The Between Two Worlds themes—home, the struggle to belong, and living between worlds—were originally conceived as an approach to the topic of immigration. However, these themes are broadly applicable, providing an effective framework for exploring a host of other issues. For example, GoC staff drew upon the exhibition as a catalyst for a community-based dialogue and a moderated panel about transgender issues. Beyond immigration, any number of topics can be addressed through this project model.

Curriculum GOALS

~ Participants explore their connection to the topic of immigration through the lens of traditional arts, media literacy, and digital storytelling, specifically relating to the themes of living between worlds and the struggle to belong.

~ In a safe and supportive environment, students develop academic and professional skills such as listening, writing, interviewing, use of recording equipment, audio production, interpretation and analysis, and public speaking.

~ Students develop tools for self-reflection and self-expression toward an understanding of their lives and cultures, and those of others, through creativity and listening to stories of peers and community members. Awareness of their surroundings and of local and global issues is developed through the tools of ethnography and media literacy.

~ The project builds community by bringing together students, master traditional artists, and other community members to address issues of common concern. Further, sharing the products of their work with friends, family, and the general public expands the project’s reach.

~ The project generates content that may be used in exhibition installations, dialogues, radio broadcasts, public programs, and other educational contexts.

~ Often underrepresented community members share their voices and experiences with the general public, putting a personal face on contemporary issues. The project provides an opportunity for participants and the public to learn about an issue from multiple perspectives, with the possible outcome of fostering empathy and understanding.

Between Two Worlds Curriculum Project Steps

Step 1  Develop staffing for collaborative work on folk arts and cultural heritage and media literacy and production. Staff may include a folklorist, art educator, media specialist, or other appropriate personnel with this content area expertise.

Step 2  Identify and recruit project partners. Identify and recruit refugee and/or immigrant traditional artists, or traditional artists who address immigration through their work. Create a timeline that works for all participants.

Step 3  Lay the groundwork with students, including an understanding of the project goals, activities, and timeline; introduce basic concepts in media literacy and traditional arts as a lens for exploring immigration and Between Two Worlds themes.

Step 4  Establish and maintain the workshop as a safe space for exploration and learning. Engage students in activities to develop skills and analytical tools for exploring immigration and project themes through media literacy and traditional arts. Activities include listening exercises, discussion, creative writing, and story development exercises, as well as interacting with traditional arts either through a visit to a local museum or another space where immigration-themed folk arts are accessible. In-class use of images or artifacts is an alternative to a fieldtrip. Throughout these sessions, students develop a body of writing in response to artwork, prompts, and exercises. The writing becomes a building block for students’ media pieces.

Step 5  Elicit and develop effective questions for interviews with local traditional artists. Train students in the use of audio recording equipment. This includes having students interview one another to gain experience with the recording equipment and build confidence conducting interviews in teams. Students select an artist to interview. Where possible, students research “their” artist and/or their art form in a library or online.

Step 6  Concurrent with Steps 4 and 5, schedule student interviews with local folk artists. Interviews may be held in artists’ homes or a space arranged by participant organizations. A partnering media-focused organization may have access to a recording studio, as was the case with YMP.

Step 7  Students conduct interviews with local folk artists. For each interview, one student conducts the interview while another engineers/manages recording equipment. At least one project staff accompanies students to each interview.

Step 8  Students log and edit recordings while mining their writing for content to weave together with excerpts from artist interviews. Students connect their writing and artist interviews by seeking common themes and kindred or parallel experiences. For example, one student in the Between Two Worlds project found similarities between his uncle, an artist who spent time in prison, and a Tibetan thankga painter who lived for years in a monastery during his painting apprenticeship. Students produce short (three- to eight-minute) audio pieces that can stand alone or be combined to create a longer audio piece, such as a radio broadcast. In the latter case, students develop a hosting script to record and stitch together their individual segments. NOTE: Depending on students’ age, skill level, available time, and engagement, the activities in Step 8 may be done predominantly by project staff, in consultation with students. In the case of the Between Two Worlds project, students created a roadmap for their pieces and project staff did the final editing.

Step 9  Project staff develop and implement ways for students to share their pieces with the public through listening events, online or radio distribution, and/or listening stations. The media pieces can also become curricular tools, used for generating discussions about current issues.

In keeping with YMP’s format, the Between Two Worlds workshop culminated in a public listening event where participants shared their work with a public audience. At listening events, project participants introduce and debut their pieces. Following the listening segment, a Q&A allows the audience to engage with participants and participants to reflect on their work and their workshop experience. The Between Two Worlds listening event took place in the GoC, powerfully connecting the audio  pieces  and  the  exhibition. Listening  event  audiences  are  typically  composed  of  students’ families and friends, participating folk artists and their families, constituents of the participating organizations, and the general public. A circular seating arrangement creates an intimate space and gives a sense of sitting around a fire sharing stories. YMP embraces the tradition of “listening lights”—strings of lights festooning the event space. This practice is highly recommended!

Project Outcomes

At the Between Two Worlds listening event, the sense of accomplishment among participants, their families, and ¡YouthWorks! staff was palpable. The opportunity to hear students’ brave and candid voices was among the project’s most rewarding outcomes. At the culminating listening event, there was a sense of wonder, as all the pieces came together. Beyond this crowning moment, the collaboration yielded a number of other positive outcomes.

~ The project resulted in new materials for the Between Two Worlds exhibition, augmenting its community-generated components. The listening station installed in the GoC added an aural dimension to the exhibition, allowing visitors to hear the artists’ voices and deepen their experience of the artwork. Further, the audio pieces contributed perspectives from local youth on the themes of belonging and living between worlds.

~ The workshop and listening event brought first-time visitors to MOIFA, broadening and diversifying the museum’s audience.

~ The project generated content for YMP’s Audio Revolution! program, as well as individual audio pieces that can be used for advocacy and awareness of immigration issues and as a springboard for discussion.

~ The public listening event brought together diverse community members to honor students’ accomplishments and hear their audio pieces before they aired on the radio. ¡YouthWorks! staff reported learning new things about their students through hearing their audio pieces and presentations.

~ Youth acquired hands-on skills such as designing and conducting interviews, library research techniques, and the use of audio recording and editing equipment. They also bolstered their experience and confidence in writing and public speaking. The project provided a unique avenue for exploring complex emotions through creative self-expression. Further, by turning an ethnographic lens on their own lives, they sharpened their analytical skills, often finding new insight into their culture and community and their relationships with others. The development of these skills and participants’ exposure to new experiences fulfilled the ¡YouthWorks! mission to “inspire youth to realize their full potential.”

~ The project provided GoC staff opportunities for deepening engagement with local exhibit artists and strengthening relationships with community partners. The artists enjoyed interacting with students and contributing to their projects. In most cases, students visited artists in their homes, which was often a new cultural experience. For ¡YouthWorks! students, many of whom are overcoming adverse situations or life choices, the experience of being welcomed and respected in the artists’ homes boosted confidence.

~ The collaboration resulted in a replicable project model and curriculum through which museum and media professionals, folklorists, educators, students, artists, and others can channel the power of folk and traditional arts and the media to illuminate contemporary issues, offer a platform for conversations about difficult topics, and provide a tool for outreach and advocacy around immigration and a host of other issues.

Challenges and Lessons Learned

It is satisfying to look back on a successful collaboration and recognize positive outcomes. However, the journey often includes some unexpected twists and turns that must be navigated. The GoC-YMP-¡YouthWorks! collaboration was no exception. This is the nature of collaborative, community-based work, where partners’ differing needs and agendas can sometimes collide.

Timing: Making It Work

In the Between Two Worlds collaboration, timing became one of the project’s primary issues and challenges. Disjuncture between the ¡YouthWorks! annual cycle, YMP’s funding period, and GoC’s programming and installation schedule led to a modification in the project design. Invariably, this project model and curriculum need to be tailored to every situation to some extent; however, this particular version became especially labor intensive and time consuming.

Ultimately, rather than hold two full three-month workshops as initially planned, project staff transformed the second session into a four-week spoken word poetry residency with Albuquerque’s inaugural Poet Laureate, Hakim Bellamy. Bellamy customized the workshop to Between Two Worlds themes, including a session held in the GoC. There, students wrote ekphrastic poetry based on an artwork or interactive of their choice.3 This spontaneously designed workshop was possible in large part because of the trust and ease developed with ¡YouthWorks! staff and students during the first phase of collaboration. Some students who had declined to participate in the first workshop, motivated by classmates’ experience, eagerly took part in the poetry residency.

The poetry workshop resulted in a second Audio Revolution! radio broadcast, Between Two Worlds Through Poetry, as well as a chapbook that came into the GoC exhibition. Students and their instructor—who took the workshop as well—performed their poetry in a community arts showcase, satisfying the need for a public program. In preparation for the event, Bellamy devoted one residency session to performance boot camp, strengthening students’ competency in spoken word poetry, an art form in which some were already engaged. The performance offered another opportunity for students’ voices to ring out in the halls of a state museum, for new audiences to come to Santa Fe’s Museum Hill, and for traditional arts to engage audiences around a contemporary issue relevant to all.

Beyond these outcomes, there was a ripple effect. The relationships built through this impromptu “deviation” from the project design resulted in Bellamy’s invitation to be keynote speaker at ¡YouthWorks! graduation ceremony that year. New collaborations developed between Bellamy and the GoC, between the GoC and YMP, and between YMP and ¡YouthWorks!

Staying Nimble, Finding the Sweet Spot

In general, the prototyping approach to exhibit design diverges from a state museum’s typical operations. Organic, nimble community engagement can go head to head with predetermined deadlines and schedules and anticipated outcomes. The very thing that makes this approach so exciting and rewarding—its emergent, unpredictable nature—can also make for challenging moments. Working with community partners in general, and at-risk youth in particular, entails a certain amount of readiness to field unexpected situations. In the Between Two Worlds collaboration, student attendance sometimes presented a challenge. Even as engaged as they were with the workshop, students understandably had other commitments competing for time and attention, including work and educational responsibilities, family obligations, and various life issues.

Further, although ¡YouthWorks! staff provided transportation between their home base and the workshop site, students did not always have the means to travel to ¡YouthWorks! from their homes, some of which were in rural areas outside Santa Fe. Students’ occasionally inconsistent attendance inevitably led to delays. Relying on student-generated content for deadline-driven exhibition installations and audio production sometimes stretched project timelines and staff.

Another challenge was that some participants’ audio pieces were longer than anticipated. The audio segments were interwoven from students’ creative writing and their interviews with local Between Two Worlds exhibit artists. Each individual piece was painstakingly edited by participants and project staff. These pieces were anticipated for installation in a listening station in the GoC, as part of the Between Two Worlds exhibition. They were also destined to be stitched together with a hosting script developed by participants to comprise a 55-minute edition of the YMP radio program Audio Revolution!

As it became clear during the editing phase of production that some pieces erred on the long side, project staff decided to prioritize the integrity of students’ self-expression over prearranged formats. For YMP staff, this meant shortening the hosting script to accommodate the required program format. In the GoC, the listening station consisted of an iPad with a touch screen that had icons of exhibition artwork for each corresponding audio segment. Thus, visitors could sample as many audio pieces as they desired. With the benefit of comfortable chairs and headphones, visitors seemed to take time to listen to the audio pieces, the longest of which ran eight minutes. When such issues arise, a “make-it-work” attitude among all project staff helps resolve these situations. In the end, invoking flexibility and mutual understanding toward finding workable solutions is well worth the effort.

Ethnography Meets Journalism: The Synergy of Compromise

From the outset of the pilot GoC-YMP collaboration, there seemed to be a natural fit between the two partners. Both channel the shared methodologies of working with recorded interviews, photography, and interpretive, creative writing as a springboard for programs that address difficult topics, with a goal of positive social change.

Yet during the pilot collaboration, the length of students’ interviews created some tension rooted in professional differences. Working from an ethnographic model and trying to reap the maximum benefit from the student-artist encounters, I considered an interview that lasted an hour or so to be “normal.” This timeframe allowed for students to find their stride and the interview to “go deep.” Grounded in journalism and the need to produce a radio program, YMP staff balked at interviews longer than 20 or 30 minutes. The longer interviews that I facilitated prolonged the process of logging sound files for students and project staff. These longer interviews also made for more editing and decision making, as first-time interviewers waded through their audio logs. For the second collaboration, we reached an agreement that interviews would be limited to 30 minutes or less. This timeframe proved adequate for students to get a taste of the interview process and obtain material for their media pieces, while upholding the project’s integrity.

Each challenge provided opportunities for self-assessment, growth, improving the project model, and strengthening partner relationships. The project’s success was clear in the level of participants’ engagement with the workshop themes, with each other, with the artists and their work, and with the process, despite its challenges. The training in media literacy and folkloristic inquiry gave participants new lenses through which to interpret their lives, cultures, and communities, along with a multifaceted perspective on issues close to home.

The curriculum was designed to empower participants, as they selected the art pieces and artists on which to focus, crafted interview questions, and conducted interviews. Participants were clearly nervous going into their interviews with the artists, but during the process relaxed and focused on the task at hand. One participant following his interview said, “I feel . . . accomplished.” Participants’ excitement and sense of achievement fueled their commitment to the hard work of logging and editing the audio recordings, editing their writing, and weaving together the content for their audio pieces. Ultimately, all project participants, including students and staff, would agree that the journey and the final outcome were well worth the sweat and tears.


Support for the Let’s Talk About This: Folk Artists Respond to HIV/AIDS and Between Two Worlds project was provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, Mark Naylor and Dale Gunn, the International Folk Art Alliance, the International Folk Art Foundation, the Museum of New Mexico Foundation, and the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience.

During the Between Two Worlds project, the GoC team consisted of three MOIFA staff, including Outreach Educator Patricia Sigala, Exhibition Preparator Brian Johnson-French, and Curator of Textiles and Dress Carrie Hertz. Outside team members included Director Suzanne Seriff, Prototyping Consultant Kathy McLean, and Community Engagement Coordinator Laura Marcus Green. MOIFA Librarian and Archivist Caroline Dechert helped youth participants research their topics. YMP staff were steadfast allies, including Katy Gross, Tara Trudell, Mi’Jan Celie Tho-Biaz, Luke Carr, and interns Nick Beckman, Austin Ross, Ash Haywood, and Yesenia Ramos.  Big thanks go to YMP founder and former Director Judy Goldberg for helping forge the pilot GoC-YMP collaboration. ¡YouthWorks! staff included Melynn Schuyler, Michael Santillanes, José Smith, and Jay Hennicke; student participants were Sean Martinez, Dacien Villa, Kelvin Lopez, Gabriel Martinez, Philip Talachy, and Jacob Tafoya.

The artists engaged with the exhibition Between Two Worlds: Folk Artists Reflect on the Immigrant Experience generously shared their time and stories and welcomed participants into their homes. Thanks to Gasali Adeyemo, Steiner Cody, Catalina Delgado-Trunk, Lama Gyurme, Mildred Rodriguez, and Luis Tapia. Hakim Bellamy fostered an inspiring and safe haven for youth poets to grow and shine.

Use of the Xhosa (Ngqika) folk song, “Inkulu into ezakwenzeka” (“Something Big Is Going to Happen”) for Tara Trudell’s audio piece featuring Lulama Sihlabeni was provided by the International Library of African Music at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa. Thanks to Director Diane Thram for her assistance. Also featured on that audio segment are the eKasi Singers of South Africa, performing the second rendition of the South African National Anthem.

Laura Marcus Green, PhD is Folklife and Traditional Arts Program Director at the University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum and at the South Carolina Arts Commission. Previous positions include Community Engagement Coordinator for the Museum of International Folk Art’s Gallery of Conscience and contract fieldworker, writer, and consultant for the Louisiana Division of the Arts Folklife Program, the Iowa Arts Council, and the Idaho Commission on the Arts. With Amy E. Skillman, she is co-founder and co-director of Building Cultural Bridges, a national interdisciplinary project merging the arts and social services in support of refugee and immigrant heritage.

Katy Gross is a photographer, educator, and multimedia producer. She currently works with Littleglobe as director of its fellowship program and as a team member. Born and raised in Santa Fe, she is happy to be living and working in her native community. She holds an MA in arts education from NYU and a BA from Brown University in International Development Studies. Her passion is documentary storytelling, and she has honed her skills at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies and the former College of Santa Fe.

Tara Evonne Trudell studied film, audio, and photography at New Mexico Highlands University. She graduated with her BFA in Media Arts. As a poet and artist raising four children, it has become her purpose to represent humanity, compassion, and action in all her work. Incorporating poetry with visuals, she addresses the many troubling issues that are ongoing in society and hopes that her work will create an emotional impact that inspires others to act.


1. See the 2015 issue of the Journal of Folklore and Education (v. 2) for an article by YMP founder, Judy Goldberg. [] Since the time of the 2013-2015 collaborations between YMP and the GoC, YMP has merged with another Santa Fe-based community arts organization, Littleglobe.

2. For the purposes of this article, “Hispanic” is the term most commonly preferred and used by descendants of Spanish colonists who settled in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado’s San Luis Valley beginning in the late 16th century. The culture that has developed over generations is unique to this area. In contrast, “Latino” refers to first-generation immigrants and their descendants from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and other countries, who have more recently made northern New Mexico their home.

3. Ekphrasic poetry is composed in response to visual imagery, most commonly, art.

Learning Application: Tips for Adapting a Collaborative Curriculum in Classrooms or Museums

Learning Application: Collaborative Curriculum Introductory Lesson Plan