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Stacy Willyard is a teaching artist, peace activist and conflict scholar. For the past 2 years Stacy has been teaching at the Public Charter School, New Song Academy, which is located in Sandtown, a low-income neighborhood, grappling with an affluent drug trade and outbreaks of violent conflict in the community. Many students struggle emotionally and it was with this particular need that she designed a Middle School arts curriculum focusing on student’s emotional intelligence. By using the performing arts (photography, video, dance and theatre) her classes explore conflict both within oneself and in one’s community. During the 2011 – 2012 school year she produced two school performances a 5th/6th play “Baltimore City Bully Busters” and a 7th/8th Musical “Something Worth Fighting For.”
Her conflict resolution background has inspired her to use the “theatre” as a space for dramatic creation, focusing on conflict emotions and using the theatre to transform those destructive emotions into desired alternatives. Stacy began using performance art as a peacebuilding tool in Uganda with vulnerable youth ages 6 – 26, it was in the slums of Kampala and the villages of Gulu that she witnessed the true power creative expression can have to reflect and empower young people. After returning from Uganda she has committed to growing as an educator, designing age appropriate curriculum and constantly adapting lessons based on emerging needs of students and their communities.
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