Imagining a Better World: Arts, Activism, and Social Justice: A Workshop for Educators

Event Format
In person
Harvard Divinity School, 14 Divinity Ave, Cambridge, MA

Imagination and the arts offer both distinctive windows into the world today as well as powerful tools for re-imagining it. As educators, we strive to provide students with both content and critical thinking tools to better understand how our world works and our place within it. While we learn about the forces, trends, and structures that shape our world, the people and communities we study across the globe and the students in our classrooms are not passive observers of inevitable outcomes but active agents, responding to and shaping our present and both imagining and planning for the future. In this workshop we will explore the role of imagination and creativity in promoting individual and collective agency and social change in varied global contexts, and the role of the arts in opening up new imaginative possibilities. We will explore how imagination and the arts allow us to bring more critical consciousness to the status quo, step into differing experiences of the status quo, and to imagine and re-imagine different realities and futures. 

  1. What shapes your imagination? Your students? What is the role of art in shaping the metaphors and narratives that help us make sense of the world?
  2. What shapes our “moral imagination,” our sense of what is just, our understanding of what is possible, and what feels inevitable? 
  3. How have artists and activists worked together, historically and in the present, to illustrate and influence global issues? What differing forms can/have individual and collective agency take(n)? 
  4. How does power influence how art is created, shared, consumed and valued?  
  5. In an increasingly visual world, how can we help students make sense of the images that are constantly coming our way? How do we help them make meaning of this barrage? 
  6. How can we help harness students’ imagination as creators in responding to current events/global affairs?

This workshop, hosted by the Global Studies Outreach Committee at Harvard University, will be offered in person on Harvard's Cambridge Campus July 29-August 1, 2024. There is a $100 registration fee to participate. 

The workshop is tailored to educators at the middle, high school and community college level, but open to educators at all levels regardless of discipline. In order to create a committed community devoted to studying the topic at hand, we ask that interested educators complete this online application to be considered for the workshop. Applications are due Monday, April 1st and applicants will be notified of their status by Friday, April 26th.


This year's workshop will take place in person on Harvard's Cambridge campus from July 29-August 1, 2024. The workshop will include both pedagogical and content sessions.

Accepted participants will be required to complete 5-10 hours of pre-work in advance of the workshop. This pre-work will center on pedagogical resources developed by Religion and Public Life at Harvard Divinity School. You can learn more about these education frameworks here and explore their resources for educators here


The cost to attend the workshop is $100. Breakfast and lunch will be provided daily. 

Limited funds are available to applicants who *reside outside of Massachusetts* to help defray travel costs. If you are interested and eligible to receive these funds, please indicate your interest through the workshop application form. 


Please fill out the application here. The application is due on April 14.



This workshop is organized by the Global Studies Outreach Committee, a consortium of centers at Harvard University, including the Davis Center, the Asia Center, the Center for African Studies, the Global Health, Education and Learning Incubator and the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. Additional program support is provided by Religion and Public Life at Harvard Divinity School.


The Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please contact us at 617-495-4037 or in advance of your participation or visit. Requests for Sign Language interpreters and/or CART providers should be made at least two weeks in advance if possible. Please note that the Davis Center will make every effort to secure services but that services are subject to availability.