Date of Award

Spring 2017

Document Type

Restricted Thesis

Terms of Use

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Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Educational Studies Department, Sociology & Anthropology Department

First Advisor

Farha Ghannam

Second Advisor

Roseann Liu


This thesis examines two existing case study summer programs for refugee children in the United States. Both programs recognize art intervention as a means though which to “curate” support for students’ multinational identities and offer “safe spaces” that encourage vulnerability. These programs have identified the necessity of encouragement of vulnerability as a way in which to meet the specific needs of refugee youth. Individuals posed with the responsibility of curating these “safe spaces” are the art educators themselves. Through interviews with teaching artists, program directors and volunteers employed by the two case study programs, this thesis offers insight into the emotional labor intrinsic in working with students who have experienced trauma. Understanding the ways in which American culture dismisses professions that involve emotional labor as well as the current Presidential Administration’s negative and false portrayal of the experiences of refugees further add to the stress of these educators’ already complex roles.