Poetry and zine-making workshop empowers youth in Santiago, Chile

This activity is part of "Fueling Cooperation," a multimedia project mapping renewable energy initiatives in Chile, crafted and assembled by Michelle Stearn, made possible by a Fulbright research fellowship.

Space Lab brings some fresh activities to inspire youth at Santiago middle school Luís Matte Larraín, guiding students through an original poetry and zine-making workshop. We work with youth to empower them to create their own works of art using the tools readily at their disposal.

This June, Space Lab co-founders Aja and Michelle worked alongside Spanish language teacher Alejandra Balcázar to expose her students to new ways of conceptualizing language, space, and art. Students crafted unique stories in zine form after a theatrical bonanza and poetry activities based around the prolific and whimsical “Libro de las preguntas” by Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. The result? A new understanding gleaned by the students about the power of personifying the earth. This budding "environmental consciousness" blossomed as we collectively pondered what it means to give a voice to those objects that cannot speak. Some rather ingenious questions emerged in the students' work, leading to a vivid collection of zines.

¿Porqué cuando vas al mar arranca de tí?

When you go to the ocean, why does it run away from you?

¿Porque se cae el cielo cuando su amiga lo toca?

Why does the sky fall when its friend touches it?

¿Quién echa agua al al sol de tarde?

Who throws water on the afternoon sun?

This workshop is just one of many visions we are manifesting here in Chile. Our ultimate goal is to  build alternative forms of art education and expression, connecting youth and families with the resources they need to live in harmony with their environment. Our community has played an integral role in making this project a reality by donating to our GoFundMe. We are dedicated to bringing free workshops to communities around the world and creating a sustainable model for alternative education.

Students in the 8th grade at Luís Matte Larraín hold up their zines after the Space Lab workshop.

Students in the 8th grade at Luís Matte Larraín hold up their zines after the Space Lab workshop.