Seeking the Self (STS) is an arts-based program designed to promote racial identity development and academic success for middle school students.

What is Seeking the Self?

Seeking the Self (STS) is an arts-based program designed to promote racial identity development and academic success for middle school students. Through collaboration with Hidden Voices, Blue Ribbon Mentor-Advocate provides its students with a one-week overnight camp which is hosted at the Center for Dramatic Arts on UNC Chapel Hill’s campus.

To see some of the art Seeking the Self students produce, take a look at our Facebook and Tumblr pages, or watch this video:

Who Does this Camp Serve?

Up to 20 students of color entering grades 7-8 who participate in the Blue Ribbon Mentor-Advocate program.

The Program

Each day of camp, students participate in the following activities:

Local and Living History
An informal conversation with someone from Chapel Hill-Carrboro who is promoting racial justice

Arts Exploration
Three 90-minute arts workshops per day with local professional artists

Recreation
Lead by BRMA staff to build positive peer relationships between students

Anti-Racism Curriculum
Developed and led by BRMA staff to introduce students to concepts and skills identified in research as instrumental to school success

Reflection
Designated time to think and write about what students are feeling and learning, as a best practice for promoting integration of curriculum into life beyond camp

The Research Behind STS

Extensive research has demonstrated that having a positive racial identity is a significant contributing factor to helping students of color become academically successful. The research also promotes arts-based programming as the best path to promoting positive racial identity development. BRMA staff have extensively studied this research and made many resources available to interested educators.

For more information about Seeking the Self, contact Carla Marlin Smith.

BRMA Student Artwork from Seeking the Self

BRMA middle school students express themselves through self-portraits during the Seeking the Self camp.