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Writing for Change Course Launches Pandemic Perspectives

July 08, 2020 English

student projects and paper

Curated by students in the University of Maryland’s Writing for Change program, this online collection of oral histories aims to uplift voices of people from a variety of backgrounds and experiences and broaden the public conversation around COVID-19.

Pandemic Perspectives presents everyday experiences of people living through the COVID-19 pandemic.

In lieu of a final performance, the students of English's Writing for Change course curated a digital archive in the Spring 2020 course. Over the course of the semester UMD students partnered with students from Northwestern High School to contribute poetry that they worked on after both universities and public schools went online due to the public health emergency.

The poems, though varied in content, all deal with a central theme: power. The experiences and poems preserved in this archive serve as a real-time opportunity to broaden and amplify perspectives, and also as a time capsule that will carry many truths of this historical moment with it into the future.

All oral histories and poetry were recorded and created between April 13 through May 25, 2020.

English 292/388C: Writing for Change is a collaborative partnership between students in our department (and others) and the students in Timothy Ghazzawi's (an alum of the department, class of 2011) ninth-grade English class at Northwestern High School in Hyattsville. The class focuses on the intersections of literacy, dialect, and power within the education system and society at large. The class puts theory and scholarship read into practice by way of this collaboration, in which the college students mentor the high school students and help them develop performance pieces about a pressing community issue. 

Visit their archive and follow their work on Facebook.