Alumni

Jasmine Blanks Jones

PhD Student, Education and African Studies
Jasmine Blanks Jones
Academic Institution: University of Pennsylvania Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Cohort Start Year: 2016
Research Topics: Arts in Health and Healing, Community/Civic Engagement
Population Served: Adolescents (12-20 years)

FOCUS
Jasmine Blanks Jones’s research focuses on how young people develop civic capabilities through arts practices that produce outcomes for improved well-being.

MORE ABOUT JASMINE
Jasmine L. Blanks Jones is pursuing a dual PhD in Education, Culture and Society, and in Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She received her Master’s in Public Policy from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, concentrating in Public and Nonprofit Leadership and Management. Jasmine conducted research in Social Policy and Democracy and Citizenship with the Center for School Change and in Public Achievement, respectively. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Music Education from Florida A&M University and taught public school music for nearly seven years in Maryland. In 2010, she founded B4 Youth Theatre, Inc. a 501c3 nonprofit organization that provides arts education programming for young people in Liberia, West Africa, using a community organizing model.

DISSERTATION GRANT AWARDEE — FEBRUARY 2019
Performance as Public Work: Youth as Civic Actors for Policy and Practice in Liberia

This performance ethnography considers the impact and interplay between youth’s cultural production and various policies or practices they identified as important for young people in service of Liberia’s greater well-being.  The youth in this study advocated for establishing a war crimes court in Liberia, performed national awareness dramas on gender mainstreaming policies, and their tireless Ebola outreach efforts extended from what they understood to be their responsibility as citizens and created a space for them to exercise the right to speech as they gained the attention of prominent global audiences. Youth civic actors in these instances used their performance skills and abilities to build networks, access resources from international organizations, and have their art performed and voices heard before larger and more diverse audiences.

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