Remix and reimagine literature
Our exciting Summer Institute returns for its ninth year to support a new cohort of players as they discover new ways to engage with literature through shared, artistic storytelling. This year's selected text -- The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson — offers a unique opportunity to explore an American story of migration and the reverberations of collective movement to, within, and out of the United States through the lens of three individuals.
The Literacy Unbound Institute is comprised of arts-integrated remix, transmedia storytelling, and literary studies — a terrific way for teachers to explore innovative, project-based pedagogical approaches to literature and history. The unconventional nature of the institute will allow you gain firsthand experience with the principles and practices of Literacy Unbound while also exploring ways to transfer these practices to your own classroom.
Throughout the month of July, we'll invite this year's players to let their creativity shine — on their own as they read and respond to this year's text, and then in collaboration as they weave together their artistic talents to create an original, co-created live performance based on The Warmth of Other Suns. Alongside our talented facilitators and professional teaching artists, players will have ample opportunity to discover all the ways in which stories can be unpacked and reimagined.
Thoughtful, inventive educators will find an outlet for their creativity and curiosity at this unique institute, which will pair them with instructional experts, professional artists, and high school students from around the world for an exclusive collaboration. As a teacher player in the institute, you'll participate in an unmatched multimodal experience that will expand your understanding of instructional possibilities as you remix this year's selected text — The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson — and co-create a live performance that will debut at Teachers College, Columbia University.
During this institute, you'll be able to:
All players will navigate a blend of individual and collaborative opportunities once they are selected as part of this year's cohort. The work of the institute will culminate in a live, group performance at Teachers College, Columbia University on July 20. Following the performance, we will gather for a final time on July 21 for closing reflections, professional development (for teachers only), and a chance to say goodbye.
You will be asked to participate in the following ways:
We’ll trace the journeys of these individuals, examining through Wilkerson the ways in which their lives both diverge and intersect. How do we continue to feel the reverberations of their collective movement in the United States? How do we experience migration and immigration today? Where are human beings in the United States and around the world looking for freedom now…by leaving? These are the kinds of questions we’ll explore together.
Wilkerson writes, ““They did what human beings looking for freedom, throughout history, have often done. They left.”
The Warmth of Other Suns — which takes its title from a Richard Wright quotation — is epic in its reach and in its structure...Wilkerson has logged not just the dates and figures that make these stories fact and thus formal history, she’s made indelible the fading music of these voices, the dance of their speech patterns, the intricate chemistry of folk cures and cornbread rendered from scratch. Beyond the family china or a great-grandmother’s wedding ring, there was always the ambient fear that these stories were actually the most fragile pieces in the hope chest — the easiest to go missing. What she’s done with these oral histories is stow memory in amber.
With a belief in the power of play in the classroom, our team of facilitators and teaching artists seek to expand traditional approaches to reading and writing, helping teachers create innovative instruction that helps students engage deeply with literature. We can't wait to meet you!
What makes a great teacher player at our Summer Institute? A willingness to work alongside students in a creative, generative online environment; a desire to learn from experienced teaching artists who specialize in innovative instruction; and an interest in exercising your own artistry as a multimodal creator, crafting original units of study for your classroom throughout the process.
All K-12 educators are welcome to apply for the 2023 Summer Institute! We find that the content of the institute speaks most closely to high school English, History, TESOL, Special Education, and Drama teachers who are wondering how they can:
If this sounds like you, submit your application below! We will accept all applications submitted by May 15 at 11:59PM EST. Educators selected for this year's institute will be notified of our decision no later than May 22. Educators who are selected for the 2023 institute will be required to pay a $400 registration fee in order to participate, due shortly after you're notified of our selection. There is no fee due at the time of applying.
Is there an application fee?
There is no fee due at the time of submitting your application.
However, educators selected for this year's institute will be required to pay a $400 USD registration fee in order to participate. This fee will be due shortly after you're notified of our decision.
Can I preview all the application questions?
Do I need to live in the New York area in order to apply?
You do not need to be based in New York City to apply for this opportunity! Applicants from all locations will be considered for this year's institute, which will take place in person at Teachers College, Columbia University in New York, NY.
Do I need to be familiar with the selected text before applying?
Not at all! Reading the text is part of participating in the institute.
I already applied — when will I find out if I've been accepted?
Educators selected for this year's institute will be notified of our decision no later than May 22.
Adele Bruni Ashley can be reached at email@example.com if you have any additional application questions that aren't answered here!
What does it cost to participate in the institute?
Educators selected for this year's institute will be required to pay a $400 USD registration fee in order to participate. This fee will be due shortly after you're notified of our decision.
Failure to pay this fee in a timely manner will result in your spot being given away to another applicant.
What does the registration fee cover?
Your registration fee includes necessary materials for participation — including this year's text — as well as daily lunch at Teachers College, access to campus technology & resources, and (if applicable) CTLE credits.
How much time should I plan to commit to this institute?
Prior to the start of the institute, you will choose your own schedule. During this time, you'll be expected to read this year's text and respond to our Invitations to Create, which will elicit your creative skills related to hotspots within the text. Players typically take two hours per day, on average, to complete their reading and creations.
During the institute, teacher players will commit to meeting in person, at Teachers College, 9am-4pm EST. Please review the full schedule for additional information.
Where can I find a detailed institute schedule?
Scroll up to the schedule section to view an outline of the time commitment involved in the institute, as well as an estimated daily schedule.
Prior to July 10, each player will be moving at their own pace, at times of their choosing.
When does my participation begin?
We’ll begin our thinking and creation approximately three weeks prior to July 10 — the start of our in person time together. During this period, you’ll focus on exploring this year’s text and responding to our Invitations to Create, which will prompt you to reflect on and engage with the text, jumpstarting your creative process. You'll complete this part of the process on your own timeline.
Do you provide housing or food for participants?
We don’t provide housing, but we would be happy to connect you with resources to locate housing, if you are selected for this year's institute. We can make recommendations based upon the arrangements participants have made in the past.
We will provide food in the form of lunch vouchers for each day of the institute, which can be used on-site at Teachers College. We will also provide dinner on the evening of the performance.
What happens on the day after the performance?
Students will meet on the morning of Friday, July 21 to reflect upon the institute’s work and say goodbye.
Teachers will be with students during the morning of Friday, July 21 and will then spend time in the afternoon working on intensive curriculum development as the institute comes to a close.
Can I earn CTLE credits for my participation?
Yes! We are able to offer 60 CTLE credits for NYS educators who are selected to be a part of this year's institute. If you're interested in receiving CTLE credits for your participation, please indicate this on your application. We will provide more information about the process if you are selected to be a part of this year's cohort.
Who can I contact with additional questions?
Please reach out to Adele Bruni Ashley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can I see examples of previous institutes?
Every institute is a little different, since it's shaped by the players involved, the space in which we create (physical or digital), and the text that we're working with. To get a sense of what it's been like to work with teaching artists and prepare for a performance, check out our video library, which includes highlights from past institutes.