This curriculum focuses on the use of photography with a growing population in the US: refugee youth. As part of Arts Bridging Cultures, a summer education and enrichment program for recently arrived refugee youth, eighteen youth were given photographic training and cameras and asked to represent various aspects of their lives. Through the camera lens the youth not only expressed their transition to life in the US, but also personal challenges, impressions of life in the US, hopes and aspirations for the future, and a sense of self.
The photographs were used to initiate critical discussion within the group as well as with teachers and other adults who have a significant impact on their lives. Each child's photographs were organized and compiled into book form along with journal entries, collages, and additional artwork to share with teachers and other adults with whom they interact. The purpose of the book is to give refugee youth an opportunity to express themselves through a medium other than spoken language, to more confidently facilitate their transition to life in the US, and to improve their interactions with others in their school and