The Inside Out Project is an organization aimed at platforming individuals and communities through large-scale public artwork. There have been more than 400,000 people spanning across 138 countries who have participated in their action projects which tackle issues ranging from diversity, community, feminism, racism, climate change and education.
However, the appeal of the Inside Out Project is the way it necessarily repurposes art for education and social change on behalf of communities. Art facilitated by the Inside Out Project is accessible and community-facing. This means it engages with local issues on the most public of forums: public streets, walls and homes. Everyone is given a chance to participate in the crucial discourse surrounding them. But more importantly, the Inside Out Project has entered schools.
Since 2011, more than a third of all Inside Out Project Group Actions around the world take place in education settings, with students from ages 3 to 21. Elementary teachers and professors alike partner with The Inside Out Project to present socio-political subject matters in a relevant and engaging way. Ultimately, this means education settings are able to consider more seriously their role within their community and the concerns of community members.
The involvement of The Inside Out Project in schools integrates community and quality education through arts and is a testament to the success of the emerging academic field known as the “public humanities”. Robyn Schroeder in Doing Public Humanities identifies the new field as “the work of moving humanistic knowledge among individuals to groups of people due to the way organizations (politically, academically and otherwise) perceive the public and the academic institution as increasingly separate.” The Inside Out Project team works to merge the two institutions regularly.
Such is the case with one of the project’s most recent action efforts, Intersections: Where Youth & Community Meet. This action project partners with two local highschools to feature local youth and ask deeply reflective questions such as how they perceive their membership in their own community and what that means for their social identities.
The Inside Out Project in education works to disrupt the view that the academe and the community are two disjointed parts. Rather, the organization proposes that the two areas are but two parts of a whole that should lean into each other in order to solve larger, common socio-political issues. More accurately, when The Inside Out Project enters schools with new ways of education and artistic expression, they equip the new generation with the skills and the knowledge to face these types of problems in the future exemplifying Reduced Inequalities and Quality Education, two of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The new ways of learning help students contextualize their identities within the world around them and allows them to speak up on themes that are important to them.
Learn more about the Inside Out Project and get involved with their work here.