This project brings together diverse UW-Madison students and court-involved Dane County teens–who are overwhelmingly low-income youth of color–collaboratively develop a socially engaged art exhibition under the guidance of Associate Professor Faisal Abdu’Allah (Art Department), an internationally exhibited visual artist whose work repositions black cultural identity. Referencing the legendary Bauhaus–a space where multiple disciplines were encouraged to flourish side by side– FauHaus II (F for Faisal, Haus for UW-Madison) builds on the 2013 UW-Madison art laboratory and exhibition. FauHaus: Bodies, Minds, Senses and the Arts and Making Justice, Madison Public Library/ Wisconsin Idea marker space program for court-involved teens.
FauHaus participants– teens and UW student peer learners– collaboratively design, produce and install a public art exhibition that engages racial disparities through the lens of equity and diversity. Self-expression includes the creation of visual media–photographs, prints, drawings and paintings–documenting individual and collective identities and disparities. Skill development emphasizes cultural and creative competencies, including the ability to recognize biases and barriers; the endless visual representations of culture; and to effectively use art to promote social justice.
FauHaus partners with The Neighborhood Intervention Program (NIP), a unit of Dane County Department of Human Services, which offers community supervision and intervention for court-involved teens. NIP serves youth ages 12-17, primarily low income in minority, who are in need of additional structure, supervision, and opportunities in their lives.
How the course integrates
FauHaus integrates community-based learning within a standard 3-credit semester-long course. Selected course materials (films, audio recordings, and texts), discussion and reflection are integrated within the weekly labs to engage NIP teens as well as UW students. UW students are designated peer learners to help offset differentials in power and privilege and carry a full 3-credit course load of readings and assignments.
Labs begin with shared food, informal conversation, and relation building exercises to help engage participants and create a sense of community. Collaborative projects offer multiple points of access that can accommodate a variety of interests, skills and learning styles. Projects are contextualized to address the experiences of teen participants and connect them to community resources. Participants use photography, painting, production, and performance to explore their ideas.
Community-based learning are closely integrated with discussions of course readings (Blink by Malcolm Gladwell), films (Black Remix Tapes, Dope) and audio recordings (Dick Gregory) to insure that the intellectual, philosophical and critical thinking criteria are achieved.
Faisal is an internationally exhibited visual artist whose work repositions black cultural identity.
Mask Off – FauHaus Initiative
The Bubbler, in collaboration with the Neighborhood Intervention Program and FauHaus, presents an art exhibition by Madison youth. MASK OFF brought together UW-Madison staff, Teen Bubbler, and teenagers of greater Madison to celebrate identity, alter egos, and human complexity. Based on 15 weeks of workshops with diverse artists, the project emphasized the multivocality and diversity of the youth who are often at the forefront of the nation’s friction. The art, made by the youth, tells stories about the multiple facettes of self-imagination versus determination by society. The alter egos that the teens developed reflect upon their adaptation to challenges encountered in their environment.
The numbers – Strong Collaboration with the community
FauHaus fills a gap in UW-Madison student service-learning placements offered in conjunction with Making Justice, an established community-based learning program that has annually served over 200 teens under the supervision of Dance County Juvenile Detention Center, Shelter.