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location_on United States

Social-Emotional Learning Through Collaborative Art-Making

Children in refugee camps and conflict-affected communities learn to create their own murals, performances and digital art. We train local artists to lead programs that provide tools for learners to strengthen resilience, build healthy relationships and take control of their identities in order to develop positive self-concepts. Participants learn to achieve personal and collective goals.


HundrED has not validated this innovation

Anyone can submit their innovation to HundrED Open. All information on this page is provided by the innovator and has not been checked by HundrED. Innovation page has been created by Joel Bergner on June 11th, 2021






Target group
November 22nd, 2022
Our art program has created a lot of change in our community youth. They are better at adapting to their environment and they're becoming good leaders and advocates for positive social change.
Miriam Adaru, Artolution Teaching Artist and South Sudanese refugee in Uganda

About the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

We recognized that forcibly displaced children were facing stigma and a lack of structured educational, creative activities in their communities, and few spaces to form healthy relationships. Local artists had the talent and desire to lead such activities, but no resources to do so. We created Artolution to address these challenges by establishing arts-based programs infused with an SEL approach.

How does your innovation work in practice?

Artolution partners with organizations like UNICEF, Red Cross and local schools to implement arts programming with children and adolescents in vulnerable communities. We build local capacity by training and certifying locally-based refugee artists in our methodology. We hire them to facilitate sustainable, year-round arts programming, contributing to livelihoods. Learners collaborate on the design and creation of artistic productions in public spaces, such as murals, theatrical and dance performances, and sculptures made from trash. Workshops focus on building empathetic and healthy relationships, envisioning a hopeful future and addressing community challenges, such as mental health and gender-based violence. Youth also connect online with their peers across the world through our tech-based art program, Virtual Bridges. All activities focus on combatting stigma and strengthening self-efficacy by providing tools for participants to shape their own positive identities and narratives.

How has it been spreading?

We have scaled our model from 1 to 5 sustainable, locally-led programs in the past 2 years, including in refugee camps for the Rohingya in Bangladesh, Syrians in Jordan and South Sudanese in Uganda. We achieved this through strong partnerships with NGOs, UN agencies and CBOs. We trained over 70 local artists to run our programs that impacted 6000 youth in 2019. Our goal is to scale up our programs in the countries we serve and expand to three other countries over the next 3 years. We aim to train and hire an additional 60 teaching artists in order to impact 12,000 children annually. We will strengthen our M&E and invite independent researchers to measure our impacts and continue to improve our outcomes. Ultimately, our goal is to infuse arts in the global crisis response strategy.

If I want to try it, what should I do?

For those who run programs or schools for vulnerable youth, you may connect with Artolution's HQ team in NYC. Together, we will explore how our missions align and develop a work plan to address the specific needs of your community. After achieving project funding, we'll hire a local program manager and local artists. We'll also develop a strategy for the longterm sustainability of the program.

Spread of the innovation

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