Leading up to MMC’s fall 2019 student-led Stand Up Speak Out festival, main campus 71st Street students partnered with Bedford Hills College Program (BHCP) students enrolled in two courses at the facility, The Politics of Human Spaces and Reading & Writing the Poetry of Community. The intention of this year’s festival was to underscore the importance of higher education in stemming mass incarceration and promoting rehabilitation for justice involved individuals.
Designed both to connect MMC’s teaching locations and to showcase the ways in which higher education can be a tool to stem mass incarceration, the collaborative project pushed all participating students outside of their comfort zones personally, academically, and creatively. Main campus students interested in participating in the festival broke into teams and took part in social justice theatre workshops, and also had the opportunity to hear firsthand from graduates of the BHCP about the invaluable impact education provides. Meanwhile, BHCP students developed original storyboards and poetry in class, then sending their work to the 71st Street students who created short films, live performance monologues, art, and photography inspired by those projects.
Creative work and feedback were shared between the two locations, culminating in the November 18 festival on campus.
Watch the trailer below:
Projects featured during the festival included original films, live monologues in performance, dance pieces, studio art, and a behind-the-scenes documentary.
The evening concluded with Kiki Dunston, of Hudson Link, and Sofia Pipolo ’20, a senior in the Bedford Hills College Program Club, talking about ways to get involved in both programs. Erin Greenwell, MFA, Associate Professor of Communication and Media Arts and one of the main organizers of Stand Up Speak Out, credits this annual festival as one of the reasons she “loves teaching at MMC.”
71st Street students are looking forward to bringing the screenings and live performances back to Bedford Hills for the Crossing Borders Conference in March 2020, where they will finally be able to meet their remote collaborators from the BHCP.
Watch all of the completed projects here. Congratulations to the over 100 students involved this semester!