Re-Imagining the World
Founded in 2009 by Theodore Richards, The Chicago Wisdom Project is a nonprofit that offers a response to the industrial and corporate models of education that have become increasingly prevalent in the American educational landscape. We have worked with youth on the south side of Chicago and beyond: after school programs; rites of passage retreats and summer camps; community events and a community garden and urban farm. Our youth have written books, made films, created works of visual arts and performed theater, song and dance.
Our work has impacted both individuals and communities: We believe that our students can become creators of culture, not merely consumers, and inspire them to challenge the assumptions of modern, industrial culture through the arts.
Through our work with youth and educators, we inspire debate about the true meaning of education beyond the test-centered and utilitarian focus of the current political discourse. Education is not merely about the concepts and curriculum; it is also about process and pedagogy. The context for learning is a metaphor for the world. Most schools are based on the metaphors of capitalist competition; of mechanism and industrialism; and of the prison. As a response, we provide a way for our youth to re-imagine our world.
In recent years, our emphasis has shifted away from running youth programs to thought leadership, trainings, curriculum development, and writing, particularly through the book Reimagining the Classroom and ReImagining Magazine.
“I AM”, a video made by our Youthbuild group