Let Your Voice be Heard: a Socratic Seminar and Performance
Jun 16, 2017

Group of five teens sitting on chairs next to each other

Teens share their opinions on the overlap of education, class, and identity. Photograph by Dyeemah Simmons

Throughout my high school career, I was vocal about issues related to equity. I asked my school’s administration to hold a meeting about inclusion, but it never happened. Instead, my concerns were met with pessimism and cynicism. Recognizing the significance of having conversations about education, class, and identity, I pitched the idea of hosting a youth-centered discussion to artist Chemi Rosado-Seijo, the artist behind Salón-Sala-Salón (Classroom/Gallery/Classroom), one of the works in the in the 2017 Whitney Biennial. My inquiry was met with optimism—my dream would soon become a reality at my place of solace: the Whitney Museum of American Art.

On Sunday June 11, the last day of the  Biennial, I hosted “Let Your Voice be Heard: a Socratic Seminar and Performance” in Salón-Sala-Salón. I hosted this event because I believe that spaces created for discussion and reflection catalyze change. During the event, participants shared their desires to “open a school,” to “learn the colonizers language,” and to “advocate for greater access to resources.” As I mentioned in the Artivist Teen Night blog post, “we as teenagers often feel our opinions and concerns for the future are misrepresented or not represented at all” and many of us still feel this way. However, I hope that my future will enable me to foster environments that I sought in education--spaces of engagement, inclusivity, and accessibility.

Slideshow of the Seminar:

  • Group of teens sitting on chairs in a circle

    Photograph by Dyeemah Simmons

  • Group of teens sitting on chairs in a circle

    Photograph by Dyeemah Simmons

  • Group of four teens sitting on chairs next to each other

    Photograph by Dyeemah Simmons

A special thanks to the Director of School, Youth, and Family Programs, Heather Maxson; Coordinator of Teen Programs, Dyeemah Simmons; Assistant to Teen Programs, Eduardo Restrepo Castaño; Manager of Education Resources, Dina Helal; Artist, Chemi Rosado-Seijo; Content Contributor, Ayinde Castro; and all participants!

By Gia, YI Leader