Diversity and Culture Share is a new performing arts course designed to celebrate the diversity of cultures represented by each person in our community. In this class, students will explore and exchange their personal stories and those of their ancestors through music, dance, poetry, song, and storytelling. The performance aspect will be cultivated from a regular practice of sharing with each other and will culminate with a music and dance concert at the end of the trimester.
The class will be taught by Greg Lipscomb. Greg also directs Elite Music Ensemble and enjoys collaborating with Martin Smith of the Social Studies department, co-teaching the spring trimester class Identity and Diversity. We caught up with him to learn more about the new class.
How did this class come to be?
I wanted to find a way to bring students together regardless of their musical or nonmusical background. Though music has long been my primary vehicle toward creativity and expression, it is certainly not my only vehicle and it may not be yours.
Fast-forwarding to now, this class offers each participant an opportunity to look more deeply and more personally at their experiences of art, dance, poetry, and music as it relates to who they are and what they care about.
I have chosen to include all these things because I want every possible participant to have a way to connect to their inherently creative human self as it connects us all on our beloved planet.
What makes this class unique?
I think this class is a unique opportunity in that it combines aspects of what could easily be multiple classes in one. For example, it holds a mirror toward our social practices and behaviors similarly to a class in social studies, but perhaps in a more personal way. It is also an opportunity to look at our relationships to language, ours and that of others, in an up-close and personal way. This is all expressed through the multiple lenses of the creative arts of music, dance, poetry, storytelling, visual arts, food, etc.
What does a typical day in this class look like?
Every two weeks, each student will share something from their culture such as a poem, a short story, a song, a dance, an art piece, or something else they have chosen to represent a culture they identify with.
Class meetings in between will engage students in activities and discussions designed to support what they will ultimately share with the class, and finally with a school-wide audience during the end-of-trimester concert. Such activities/articles might include learning a group dance, reading and discussing an article about someone’s life story, one-on-one exchange of personal life stories, learning a group song, taking some time to draw, watching a movie or documentary together, etc.
What are you hoping for students to take away?
My hope for students in this class is that they will be more connected to themselves and their own culture and more interested and curious about that of other people, especially those noticeably different from theirs.