The Center for Documentary Research and Practice invited people to a screening and panel discussion of the documentary film, “I Learn America,” on Monday, October 16th, at 6:30 pm in Woodburn Hall 101. The guest speaker, documentary filmmaker Jean-Michel Dissard, introduced the film. IU faculty members Bernard Fraga (Political Science, CRRES, Latino Studies) and Ellen Wu (History, American Studies, Asian American Studies, CRRES) were respondents to the film, followed by questions and comments from the audience.
In “I Learn America,” Jean-Michel Dissard interviews first-generation immigrants of different backgrounds about their experiences in a New York high school. The students discuss the challenges of adapting to American culture while navigating the struggles and successes of being a teenager and a student. Mr. Dissard has created a successful workshop for schools using the film as a starting point, which he has presented around the country and around the world. This was his first visit to Indiana. You can learn more about the film and the workshops at his website, www.ilearnamerica.com.
With support from the Mac Arthur Foundation, Jean-Michel Dissard directed and produced "I LEARN AMERICA," a documentary that follows five recently arrived young immigrants – with various legal statuses – over a personally tumultuous year in an American high school. Building on the needs and creativity of local and national allies, Jean-Michel launched the I LEARN AMERICA project to connect the stories in the film to students around the country and to amplify the voice of the young immigrants in our classrooms. Through personal storytelling and exchange of shared experiences, in-school screenings, cultural events, workshops and less formal youth-led activities in carefully chosen cities, the project sparks “home-grown” discussions to increase understanding and “welcoming” for young immigrants.
This event was funded by the 2017 Themester, “Diversity-Difference-Otherness,” Indiana Humanities, the IU School of Education, INSPIRE, and the Center for Documentary Research and Practice.