Projects Young People’s Race Power and Tech Project (YPRPT)
The Young People’s Race, Power, and Technology Project (YPRPT)
YPRPT is an NSF-funded learning initiative designed specifically for middle school and high school students. The program offers an innovative research-based curriculum that empowers youth to explore, engage, critique, and reimagine the role of technology in their neighborhoods, schools, and communities. YPRPT brings together high school and undergraduate students from Northwestern University, educators, community workers, and university researchers to understand the impact, limitations, harms, and possibilities that new technologies offer, particularly for historically marginalized communities of color. The program integrates “under the hood” investigations of technologies with documentary film-making, and a focus on building and sustaining community among all collaborators and participants.
Starting in 2019, we have worked alongside community partners across Chicagoland to co-design learning experiences for young people to examine the interconnections between technology, racism, and power. Since the first iteration of YPRPT, we have collaborated and built deep relationships with the Lucy Parsons Labs and Family Matters in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood.
YPRPT x Kapor Center pilot 2022
In 2022, we piloted a new iteration of YPRPT in collaboration with our partners the Lucy Parsons Labs and Family Matters, with support from the Kapor Center . A cohort of six high schoolers investigated and co-designed curricular units exploring the ethical complexities of a technology of their choice.
Check out the first drafts of the 2022 cohort’s 5 curricular units below:
- Social Media and Young People’s Mental Health
- 3D Printing and Fashion Design
- Video Games and Computers
The COVID-19 pandemic shaped the second year of YPRPT–we shifted to a fully-remote format and expanded to include a larger number of organizations and young people. Twelve teams–comprised of high schoolers, undergraduates, and representatives from community groups like arts organizations, churches, and afterschool programs–were guided through a 4-month curriculum co-designed to encourage exploration of technology and its impacts, as well as documentary filmmaking and production. Ten final documentary films were premiered at an online film festival, hosted by our partner, The Block Museum of Art + Block Cinema.
Visit the 2021 YPRPT Film Festival portal here, where you can watch all of the youth-produced documentaries!
During the first pilot of YPRPT, high schoolers created and produced their own documentary films probing the intersections of particular technologies, bringing forth questions of justice and ethics that emerged during their exploration. The program culimnated in a special film screening hosted by our partner, The Block Museum of Art + Block Cinema.
Watch the documentaries from YPRPT’s 2019-2020 cohort here.