The Large Jet has become complex, and the rapidly evolving technologies of the transportation industry have made one explanation obsolete and incomplete. The jet has incorporated new world regions into its flight plan, taken on a bundle of new passengers, and shed its corporate backing for public funding.
Towards the end of my convoluted course around Central America – somewhere near a waterfall in Honduras – I found out that I was awarded a Fulbright-Nehru grant to India for a project I had proposed last fall. I will, I wrote on that proposal, study the potential of non-linguistic forms of communication such as art, music, and movement to challenge social inequalities by empowering underprivileged populations. I will implement curricula for alternative childhood education in the classrooms of two programs: an award-winning non-profit organization working for “sustainable rural transformation”, and a children’s home focused on successful integration of each child into urban society. Through collaborative projects asserting entitlement to self-expression and the value of local culture, I will explore the capacity of artistic creation to build personal confidence in students. Solutions that are conceptualized from a distance – although they may have proven effective in other situations – can become disrepectful, obstructive, and even dangerous. I will approach the linked needs for education and cultivating self-assurance with the conviction that I can constructively enhance expression for two groups of young people, along with the awareness that any plan I prepare must be fundamentally flexible. I want to listen to stories, ideas, and interests, and I want to help students discover a means of expressing their local, truthful, and personal realities to captivate a potentially global audience.
And that’s what I intend to do. Luckily for me, the day-to-day work is going to revolve around my favorite activity in the world : making a mess with a gaggle of kids. Mostly based in the city of Hyderabad, we’re going to learn about the incredible traditions of Andhra Pradesh from the people who know and love them best : Kuchipudi dance, Kalamkari textile printing, cooking Hyderabadi Biryani. We’re going to host some enthusiastic individuals from elsewhere, too, if we want, to learn about photography or journalism or film. I can’t possibly know yet – I don’t decide what we do. The students decide.
I facilitate and report. I plan to continue presenting my personal perceptions over the next nine months, and if they would like, all the new Large Jet crew will contribute an observation or two. This is about communication, and it doesn’t end next spring : I plan to do further work with the wonderful organization that slipped me these new flight coordinates, and will be organizing a story-tour project next year in the United States based on the same principles as the Hyderabad curriculum. I would love feedback. I would love ideas. I would love involvement.
RebeccaH.Glaser (at) gmail (dot) com