The project I had in mind at the beginning of the codesign studio has completely transformed, however, it has definitely changed for the better. Initially, I had hoped to do a project that would engage students in town government and help them understand what articles/issues are discussed at town government meetings. Primarily, though, the goal was to allow a space where students could not only learn about local processes, but also voice concerns they have as citizens of Billerica.
The project quickly shifted after the Parkland shooting. Many of the high school students I work with at BATV were interested in discussing gun violence and gaining a better understanding about this topic. It became clear that they were looking for a space to talk about their opinions and feelings around gun violence and adult responses to school shootings. This has since developed into a short documentary film featuring footage from the walkout BMHS students did in March as well as a variety of interviews, social media posts, and other forms of student discussions. Several students have also become heavily involved in the planning process and will be assisting with editing as well.
Although the subject matter of the project has shifted, the general concept of the project has remained the same: engaging Billerica youth in local issues and allowing them space to be heard. I am excited to see where the documentary goes and how this process can not only benefit my understanding of codesign, but also benefit the students I’m working with as well.
In terms of lingering questions, I continue to struggle with how to get more students involved in the project (particularly walkout organizers) and how I can best support the growth of this documentary without stepping on the toes of the students I’m working with.