I am writing up my reflections from the Project Zero conference I attended last October - Project Zero Perspectives: Learning Together, Leading Together. See my post on Art and Contemporary Issues here and Stepping into Character here.
From Project Zero: “The Global Lens project is creating a curriculum that aims to educate for global competence. Working in close collaboration with teachers in Boston and Washington, DC, we are exploring how quality interdisciplinary study of global issues and deep engagement with global media can develop young people’s global competence. Come hear about this new project and where our thinking is taking us.”
Most of the session was focussed on an activity where we looked at the photograph below...which also happens to be what I took most notes on and will share with you here.
Pausing in the rain, a woman working as a trash picker at Nairobi's Dandora dump, which spills into households of one million people living in nearby slums, wishes she had more time to look at the books she sometimes comes across. She even likes the industrial parts catalogs. “It gives me something else to do in the day besides picking [trash],” she said. Image by Micah Albert. Kenya, 2012.
When first looking at this photograph I thought it was a painting. Something about the soft tones and the lighting makes it look almost beautiful. It's only when you look deeper and find out more about the context that the ugliness is revealed.
We reflected on a picture about the Dandora trash problem in Kenya following different layers of implication to uncover a global perspective of the issue at hand.
Micah Albert has some other photographs which could also be used for this activity:
Other useful resources for exploring Dandora/Kenya and/or landfills/dumps:
All schools do units about recycling and waste, but they often don't look at the human stories involved - this activity and a focus on Dandora could be a great way to help students connect to this issue on an emotional level.