Indigo: from the Silk Road to the streets of New York

by - Monday, October 05, 2009

We received an e-mail from Indigo specialist Jenny Balfour-Paul updating us on Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Connect project the other day.

Here is Jenny’s update:

We did the Silk Road Connect teacher training workshop in New York last week. This included having a row of indigo dye vats in a narrow concrete walkway next to a children's playground in Harlem, as well as Silk Road musicians doing a drum circle and a National Geographic team doing genome sampling. (Though indigo is the main thread for the pilot project it fits in the wider theme of making connections and encouraging ‘passion-driven education’, to quote Yo Yo Ma). The whole project is a fascinating work in progress that includes many partners such as Harvard educators, New York City educators and curriculum developers, museums such as the Met, and institutions like FIT, Manhattan School Music etc. A lot now depends on the experience of the teachers in the five pilot schools, with much backing, including young ‘indigo fellows’ and an indigo co-ordinator who will liaise with the schools in NYC.

The teachers and indigo co-ordinators are wonderful. I also spent a day in the Met, developing ideas for an ‘indigo trail’, among other things. Great fun and a new way to approach visiting a vast museum. Several other cities are keeping an eye on this very innovative pilot project, so let’s hope it’s a great success. It’s been good to do such positive work this year and fascinating to see the project take shape. It’s not something I have done before with indigo and I have found it an amazing experience and have had to learn a lot too.

Thanks very much to Jenny for sending on the updates and granting us permission to post it here.

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