In the Participatory Community Engagement course at the Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy, graduate students work with New York City nonprofits to create a space for listening, dialogue and collective analysis of issues of shared concern.
The course has two primary components. First, students learning about the theory behind participatory community development, popular education and critical pedagogy. Then, students put their participatory facilitation and dialogue skills to work in collaboration with local organizations and communities.
Ultimately, through theory, dialogue, and facilitation practice, students learn the promises--and inherent challenges--of using participatory methodologies as a vehicle for social change. Students become critically aware practitioners who are prepared to design change processes and engage in current debates surrounding participatory approaches to addressing societal problems.
Past partnerships have included:
The New School Humanities Action Lab (2015-16)
Tenants & Neighbors (2011-12)
Red Hook Community Justice Center (2011-12)
The Groundswell Teaching Artist Knowledge Base was collaboratively created by Participatory Community Engagement students and Groundswell, New York City’s leading community public arts organization that brings together artists, youth, and community organizations to use art as a tool for social change. The purpose of the Knowledge Base is to provide a space for Groundswell’s teaching artists to share resources and engage in community building.The Knowledge Base is flexibly designed as an open forum, accessible from the field, to which teaching artists can contribute their own experiences.
Read some New School student reflections based on their Groundswell Knowledge Base experience.
The States of Incarceration Engagement Toolkit for Presenting Partners was collaboratively created by Participatory Community Engagement students and Humanities Action Lab (HAL), an international hub, located at The New School, where faculty, students and community partners design and generate curricula and opportunities for public engagement with urgent social issues. The toolkit was designed around HAL’s States of Incarceration project to serve as an engagement and dialogue resource for the project’s many stakeholders.
Participatory Community Engagement students collaborated with the Midtown Community Court (MCC), a problem-solving community justice nonprofit associated with the Center for Court Innovation, to complete a procedural justice study of the MCC. The project resulted in a public engagement with the entire staff, a written report, a graphic report of community building sessions conducted, and dialogues with staff on how to better serve important procedural justice principles.
Tenants and Neighbors helps tenants build and effectively wield their collective power to preserve at-risk affordable housing and strengthen tenants' rights in New York. In 2011, Participatory Community Engagement students worked alongside staff of Tenants and Neighbors to help them reconnect to their membership. Students facilitated community building gatherings where they uncovered stories that were subsequently published in a tenant advocacy booklet used statewide. Pedagogy and facilitation tools were developed and are now used at staff meetings and retreats.
For nine months, a group of Participatory Community Engagement students worked with the Youth Advisory Board (YAB) of the Red Hook Community Justice Center in Brooklyn to explore issues of gang involvement and high school dropout rates in the community. Using participatory group facilitation methods, the New School students helped the YAB to develop and implement an action research project to explore the issues that YAB members were most concerned about.
In 2008, tenants of the Manida Street Houses began a successful three-year struggle for housing justice. Participatory Community Engagement students worked alongside these residents through the Hunts Point to conduct community building workshop and support the publishing of the Manida Street Scrapbook used in the housing justice movement to educate residents.