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Rutgers gets $60K from taxpayers for hip hop activism conference

The taxpayer-funded National Endowment for the Arts doled out the money to expand an annual conference

Rutgers University can grow its annual hip hop conference thanks to $60,000 from the taxpayer-funded National Endowment for the Arts.

“The National Endowment for the Arts…has awarded Rutgers–New Brunswick Graduate School of Education a grant to expand its Hip Hop Youth Research and Activism Conference,” the public New Jersey university announced in a news release. The annual program “brings high school and college students together in a program blending art, activism and social justice.”

The conference will be held in May, according to campus newspaper The Daily Targum.

The money will be used for “travel and accommodations for the participants and mentors as well as research activities and project management.”

The conference appears to only be open to non-white students.

The news release stated:

The project will examine the collaborative design processes of the youth leaders of the Hip Hop Youth Research and Activism Conference, which is led by youth of color between ages 14 and 21. It will bring together students from diverse cultural and geographic backgrounds for a series of student-led workshops and discussions focused on art, community-building, youth culture and advocacy for marginalized populations.

The conference director, Lauren Kelly, said the conference will build on previous research on the importance of hip hop music and activism for “marginalized populations.”

The hip hop program “adds to existing scholarship on youth critical literacies by investigating the role of hip hop-based arts education in facilitating youth community-building, agency and activism,” according to the education professor.

It will also further the research on “how youth artist-activists develop collective imaginings of their social futures through leadership and participation in this community.”

Hip hop education is a passion for Professor Kelly.

She developed high school courses on the subject and she currently “provides professional development for teachers developing Hip Hop pedagogies in K-12 and college teaching across the United States,” according to her bio.

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IMAGE: LaurenLeighKelly.com

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