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"You Can’t Unring the Bell" created for NYU’s 2020 Constitution Day Celebration: Voting Rights in America.

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In the fall 2020 semester, NYU Steinhardt Educational Theatre's Verbatim Performance Lab (VPL) worked with students in International Education Prof. Heddy Lahmann’s course “International Studies in Human Rights Education and Activism” to examine sentiments around the pandemic, the election, and voting rights.

To do this, students interviewed members of the community, many of whom had differing views from their own. VPL, which uses “verbatim performance and documentary theatre techniques to examine what we think we know and understand about preconceived notions and biases,” used these interviews to create its educational campaign ahead of the election titled “Portraits US.”

"I have always understood that there are many different world views and beliefs, but after conducting my interview, I realized I was slightly oblivious to how large these differences could be in my own community,” said International Education student Erica Van Every. “As an elementary educator, I originally saw my place as working towards helping young people become the next global citizens, however, I now think my role in promoting human rights and global citizenship needs to be much broader.”

NYU Liberal Studies student Isabel Schmieta expanded on VPL’s work to challenge biases. “I was intrigued when we were first introduced to the project, by how simply changing who is saying the words, yet keeping everything else the same, can drastically change how one perceives the message being conveyed.”

Students also created lesson plans using clips from VPL’s “You Can’t Unring the Bell,” which examined voting rights.

“We wanted to go into the class with the intention of being curious of the students’ experiences and perspectives, and the acknowledgment that the learning would go both ways,” International Education student Laziah Bernstine said.

Isabel and Laziah worked with 8th graders for their lesson plan. “We adjust[ed] the curriculum to an audience that may not be as familiar with the concept of voter suppression,” Isabel said. "Laziah was familiar with certain techniques that would be more effective for that age group, such as relating voter suppression to a school election, which turned out to be a fantastic starting point for the class."

"You Can’t Unring the Bell" was created for NYU’s 2020 Constitution Day Celebration: Voting Rights in America. Funding support provided by NYU Brademas Center, NYU Government Affairs, NYU Votes, NYU Student Affairs, and the Birnbaum Women’s Leadership Network – NYU Law. Additional production support provided by NYU-TV.

International Education Student Heddy Lahmann

In the fall 2020 semester, NYU Steinhardt Educational Theatre's Verbatim Performance Lab (VPL) worked with students in International Education Prof. Heddy Lahmann’s course “International Studies in Human Rights Education and Activism” to examine sentiments around the pandemic, the election, and voting rights.

To do this, students interviewed members of the community, many of whom had differing views from their own. VPL, which uses “verbatim performance and documentary theatre techniques to examine what we think we know and understand about preconceived notions and biases,” used these interviews to create its educational campaign ahead of the election titled “Portraits US.”

"I have always understood that there are many different world views and beliefs, but after conducting my interview, I realized I was slightly oblivious to how large these differences could be in my own community,” said International Education student Erica Van Every. “As an elementary educator, I originally saw my place as working towards helping young people become the next global citizens, however, I now think my role in promoting human rights and global citizenship needs to be much broader.”

NYU Liberal Studies student Isabel Schmieta expanded on VPL’s work to challenge biases. “I was intrigued when we were first introduced to the project, by how simply changing who is saying the words, yet keeping everything else the same, can drastically change how one perceives the message being conveyed.”

Students also created lesson plans using clips from VPL’s “You Can’t Unring the Bell,” which examined voting rights.

“We wanted to go into the class with the intention of being curious of the students’ experiences and perspectives, and the acknowledgment that the learning would go both ways,” International Education student Laziah Bernstine said.

Isabel and Laziah worked with 8th graders for their lesson plan. “We adjust[ed] the curriculum to an audience that may not be as familiar with the concept of voter suppression,” Isabel said. "Laziah was familiar with certain techniques that would be more effective for that age group, such as relating voter suppression to a school election, which turned out to be a fantastic starting point for the class."

"You Can’t Unring the Bell" was created for NYU’s 2020 Constitution Day Celebration: Voting Rights in America. Funding support provided by NYU Brademas Center, NYU Government Affairs, NYU Votes, NYU Student Affairs, and the Birnbaum Women’s Leadership Network – NYU Law. Additional production support provided by NYU-TV.

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