Theatre artist and learning designer
Chicago and Boston (USA)
From February 18 to February 27, 2019
Jacob Watson is an artist, educator, and facilitator with roots in Chicago and Boston. He is currently a Research Assistant at Project Zero and a Learning Lab Fellow at Harvard’s Bok Center for Teaching and Learning. His research focuses on how theatre and creative practice can expand thinking and advance solutions to social and civic problems. Jacob most recently worked as Animateur with the Lyric Opera of Chicago on their Chicago Voices initiative, transforming the real stories of community groups into original works of musical performance. Prior to this, he spent four years at the Center for Community Arts Partnerships at Columbia College Chicago, where he managed a series of federally-funded arts learning initiatives. Jacob is a founding member of the FYI Performance Company, where he recently co-conceived and directed Gray Area: a new play about consent. He holds an Ed.M. in Arts in Education from Harvard University and a B.A. in Theatre from Northwestern University.
The project I will be working on is an inquiry into the nature of participatory design for learning. It begins from an assumption that there are inherent aesthetic dimensions to learning experiences and that these dimensions may be attended to, considered, or arranged in ways that either limit or extend the freedom and self-actualization of the learner. Taking my cue from the aesthetic qualities of theatre practice, I have identified ten qualities that provide opportunities for educators to consider how thoughtful use of participatory design can better prepare young people to thrive in a time of increasing social, moral, technical, and relational ambiguity.