Worcester’s premier college-preparatory co-ed day school serving students from Central MA and MetroWest, Pre-K–Grade 12

Global Studies in Action: A Blog

Photo by student Michael B.Discover the many ways that Bancroft students are engaging with the world and developing their awareness of cultures both near and far.

Photograph by student Michael B.



A Photojournalistic Refugee Story

from Mark Taylor, US English Teacher

Alyssa taking photos

“I just traveled again. That's what I do on Fridays. I travel,” said Bancroft junior Michael B., as he climbed into the back seat of his classmate’s car and once again felt the rush from his fieldwork. Michael and senior Alyssa S. have been involved in an independent study course this semester during which the two of them have worked with Photography teacher Bob Dec to understand the method and the art of famous U.S. photojournalists of the past. They are now conducting their own photojournalism project based on a central tenet of the genre in which they have immersed themselves: telling a true story about an underreported or misunderstood population within society.

Michael and Alyssa chose as their subjects several resettled refugee families here in Worcester. On Fridays throughout December, I traveled with Alyssa and Michael, along with Meg Gallo and Mustafa Alnaimi of Worcester’s Refugee and Immigrant Assistance Center (RIAC), to interview and photograph families from Bhutan, Congo, Burma, and Syria who are making a life for themselves here in Worcester. 

Learning how to properly greet people with “Namaste,” asking questions about short-term and long-term goals and dreams, enjoying Turkish coffee, or listening to their teacher resuscitate his very basic and colloquial Arabic from the ‘90s... all these and more are moments from the field as Michael and Alyssa collect material on their subjects.

Even though all three of us have extensive travel experience in our past, we have still been amazed at the rich array of cultural exposure we have been afforded through these local experiences.

Michael and Alyssa’s independent study project is in keeping with Bancroft’s Global Studies initiative and the work that our Upper School students have been doing this year to engage with and become more aware of the issues that face refugees locally, domestically, and globally.

Mark and Michael at subjects' homeMichael & Alyssa at RIAC Office
Posted by on Friday January, 8, 2016 at 05:06PM

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