DISE's Dr. Low speaks to The Gazette about transformation of James Lyng High into Urban Arts School

Published: 10 December 2015

An initiative led by Professor Bronwen Low, of our Department of Integrated Studies in Education (DISE), is featured in a recent Montreal Gazette article, "It's bigger than hip hop -it's high school," by Basem Boshra.

The Gazette writes about St-Henri's James Lyng High School, which has now been transformed into Canada's first Urban Arts High School. This new curriculum at the school was spearheaded by artists associated with Writing Our Rhymes Down (WORD, literacy through hip-hop),  Professors Low,  Carter, Wood, and Mitchell, and  faculty collaborators Marta Kobiela, Limin Jao, Mela Sarkar, and Anila Asghar. Melissa Proietti, DISE PhD student, is a project research assistant, sits on the school’s Board of Governors, and has been leading street art activities at the school for three years. Debora Friedmann, DISE MA student, is also a research assistant on the project and is developing street-dance programming at the school involving the McGill Student Street Dancers. The artists working in the school include DISE's Artist-in-Residence Jimmy Baptiste, Lou Piensa and Butta Beats from WORD and Nomadic Massive, TurtleCaps, Hadi Adel, Max Miller, Scamblelock, DJ Cosmo, and Full Course. The project was implemented in September of this year, building on the work of WORD and others over the past few years.

James Lyng celebrated their transformation with the JL Up Next event, held last week. In The Gazette article Boshra speaks with Dr. Low, James Lyng music teacher Nathan Gage, and student Sierra Croxen.

Professor Bronwen Low is Graduate Program Director for PhD Programs with DISE and Chair of the department’s Diversity and Equity Committee. Her research projects include "Community-based media pedagogy and production in a globalized world: Documenting transnational and transitional subjects, self-representations, and spaces", “Life Stories of Montrealers Displaced by War, Genocide and other Human Rights Violations,” and “Hip Hop Language and Youth Culture in Quebec.” Professor Low sits on the board for Maison Des Jeunes in Cote-des-Neiges. In 2015 Dr. Low was faculty recipient of McGill's Equity and Community Building Award.

[read "It's bigger than hip hop -it's high school," by Basem Boshra, Montreal Gazette, Dec 8, 2015]

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