The Indiana University Center for the Study of Global Change and Center for the Study of the Middle East, in concert with the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage’s Cultural Heritage Policy and Cultural Education programs, will host a teacher’s forum at the 2014 Smithsonian Folklife Festival on July 2 and 3. Drawing on the Indiana University pilot project “New Models for Teaching About Conflict in a Global Age,” participants will prepare the groundwork for a new initiative called GALACTIC: Global Arts – Local Arts – Curriculum Toward International Citizenship.
GALACTIC is an Indiana University-based initiative with the long-term goal to create a global consortium of teachers with an arts- and culture-based approach to conflict studies, reconciliation, human rights awareness, and cultural heritage policy in virtual and face-to-face learning environments. One of the primary foci of GALACTIC is to identify cultural practices and policies that promote an understanding of the tensions as well as the commonalities among communities in contention.
The GALACTIC forum at the Folklife Festival will explore intercultural dialogue and collaborations that respect wholesome cultural distinctions and historically grounded identities. The program will consider the construction of new common-space national and cross-national norms of identity reflective of increased global connections among peoples and cultures. Foodways, music-making, folk healing, liturgical practices, language, and visual arts provide shared doorways into culturally diverse and yet at times parallel human expressions through which teachers can guide students in understanding, negotiating, cultivating, and creating new human experiences through the national, religious, and interethnic issues at play locally, nationally, and globally.