Vision & Justice: The Art of Citizenship
In March 2017, Sarah Lewis was invited to launch a pilot civic curriculum through the three-part Vision & Justice class at the Brooklyn Public Library. Colleagues and New York city residents and citizens showed up as students on a Friday night, of all times, and have been asking for a continuation of the series since. Lewis has since been invited to replicate this course for other institutions across the country.
This course is organized around a guiding question: How has visual representation both limited and liberated our definition of American citizenship and belonging? Today, as we are awash with images, and as social media has allowed us to witness racially motivated injustices with a speed unimaginable until recently, we have had to call upon skills of visual literacy to remain engaged global citizens. The rights of citizenship are many, but central to them all is the right, even the responsibility, to engage and participate in collective society, and to be recognized. The course wrestles with the question of how the foundational right of representation in a democracy, the right to be recognized justly, is indelibly tied to the work of visual representation in the public realm.