Visualising the Bridge
May 25, 2016 by Paridhi Mundra
As I wind up the spring semester of sophomore year, I am also concluding my LACE Fellowship. The fellowship and the various communities it has connected me with, became and will remain an integral part of my RISD experience. I culminated my fellowship with my Capstone Project. ‘Visualising the Bridge’ was a platform to introduce art into DIIRI’s Family Literacy Program, with a focus of facilitating parent-child interaction. Hence for my project, with the help of RISD volunteers, I organised and conducted an art based PACT (Parent and Child Together) Time event for the families of one of the ESOL classes. The first hour was spent engaging the families and volunteers in short drawing & colouring icebreakers. For the remainder of the event, everyone took to painting a canvas with his/her children.
I saw the event also as an opportunity to create a cultural and social exchange between the volunteers, the student and their families. Coming into Dorcas, my biggest challenge was in overcoming the cultural and lingual barrier with the students. As I walked around the room, I saw that barrier dissolving gradually but surely, as interactions found a common ground in colours and paintbrushes. I was taken in by everyone’s enthusiasm and thoughtfulness in creating their work. In speaking about their paintings, the parents as well as the children opened up about themselves, their home country and culture in a whole new way. I think by the end of the event, we came to know each other a little better than before. While each canvas spoke a truly personal narrative, all of them were united by the notion of identity and home.
The Capstone Project was in its entirety a learning process and definitely, a lesson in event planning and management. In planning it, my biggest takeaway was in understanding the importance of collaboration. By realising the restrictions, available resources, outreaching, and gaining feedback from my advisors as well as students, my project grew from addressing my exclusive vision into creating something, which everyone could benefit from, and enjoy! The event itself, demanded me to be a better leader. In hindsight, I wish I had organize the event to run more smoothly, as well as created a medium for volunteers to grow more sustained relations with the families. Nevertheless, it was a fun day, and it has given me a confident understanding of my strengths and weaknesses.
While I have been calling this ‘my’ project, I would really like to thank all the people who in one way or another helped me with putting it together!
- Paridhi Mundra