Mind Over Media

What is media and what power does it have?

A portion of Shinique Smith's mural for Mind Over Media. 8th and Diamond Streets. Photo by Steve Weinik.

About the Project 

Who tells our stories? And what details get left behind on the cutting room floor? In Mind Over Media, students explore content creation by learning to interview others, by editing stories, and by confessing their truth, adding their voices to the national discussion of race, youth, and media.

Artists Shinique Smith, the Cause Collective, and Derrick Adams add depth to the curriculum, helping students create a documentary, design twelve memes, and create two colorful works of public art. Forty-five students from Vision Quest, Lee Prep Academy, and AIC Mural Arts Education Sites will take part in this project’s curriculum, addressing current events through the arts by focusing on the following questions:

What is media and what power does it have? 

Racial inequality persists in America and continues to fuel a national discussion. One way that this inequality is perpetuated is through the types of representation and misrepresentation of people of color across various platforms of contemporary media. As many of today’s youth are tech savvy media makers themselves, this project will help youth research, understand, and contextualize the many messages that they receive.

Who creates media? 

Through dynamic classroom interventions with contemporary artists, youth will learn how artists create and use media in positive ways to reflect their identities. Artists Shinique Smith, the Cause Collective, and Derrick Adams will work with youth in the Mural Arts Restorative Justice Youth program exploring new and traditional media. Additionally, these artists will create murals and temporary public art projects with students and Mural Arts teaching artists.

How can we make media that best represents ourselves and our communities? 

Media is a constant in our lives. American teens spend approximately 1,500 hours a year watching television. Roughly 17 million children and teens have Internet access in their homes, using it daily for everything from researching school projects to playing online games, from grouping images and ideas with hashtags to chatting with their classmates.

After discussion and participation in thoughtful art activities, students will learn how to interview each other, how to make a newspaper, and the process of creating large-scale public art. The Media Mobilizing Project will document the entire project through film, further demonstrating to the youth how media is planned and edited. The Media Mobilizing project will also make memes, highlighting student perspectives on media representation.


City of Philadelphia Department of Human Services