We chose economic inequality as the theme for our inaugural year (2018-2019) because it is one of the most prominent social justice issues affecting us globally, nationally, and locally: Boston was named by the Brookings Institute as one of the cities with the highest income inequality in the U.S. This topic is often challenging for students to discuss in the traditional classroom, but in making it the theme for the Workshop, we have given our students a space to conduct research, build narrative, and organize plans of action through a variety of class perspectives, challenging their assumptions and stimulating their creativity in problem-solving. And, by examining how this issue affects where they live, they have developed a more personal connection to their learning.
On May 19, 2019, our first exhibition, An Account of Boston: Local Stories of Economic Inequality, opened to the public at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate in Dorchester. The launch included a panel on economic inequality in Boston moderated by Patricia Wen of the Boston Globe and featuring Boston City Council President Andrea J. Campbell, her chief of staff, Eli Pimentel, MIT Professor Ceasar McDowell, Brookview House President Deborah Hughes, Hyde Park Square Task Force Executive Director Celina Miranda, and writer/philosopher Matthew Stewart.