Refugee Youth Publishing Workshop
2014-2017, CATONSVILLE & BALTIMORE, MD
Through a partnership with Refugee Youth Project since 2014, Press Press hosts publishing workshops with teen refugees in an immigrant and refugee only space. In our program, individual dialects, accents, and expanded modes of communication are embraced, as students are not pressured to assimilate into American cultural and linguistic norms. The space is designed to counter the standard model of ESL (English Second Language) learning in an immigrant and refugee only space. The standard model operates in a way that erases or ignores the identities of the learners in an effort to fit them into the hegemonic linguistic mode of the United States. The collaborative space we’ve created, conversely, places the identities and narratives of the participants as central in the experience of learning and using English; or learning how ‘to be’ in English as one’s second language without erasing one’s native voice. For example, we regularly print poetry in the exact form it was written, without ‘correcting’ for grammar and spelling. The aim is to affirm the ways participants express themselves in this linguistic medium.
In Spring 2018, Press Press will start a new program hiring youth as artists and writers working on publications in the space with support from our team.