The first-ever Hip Hop Education Summit at the University of Wisconsin-Madison will highlight the 12th annual “Passing the Mic” festival this weekend.
The education summit will feature educators and artists who are part of a growing movement to incorporate hip-hop broadly into educational curricula, said Willie Ney, executive director of UW-Madison’s First Wave hip-hop and urban arts learning community.
The schedule for “Passing the Mic,” Oct. 20-22 at the Overture Center for the Arts, also includes a hip-hop arts showcase hosted by Toni Blackman & First Wave; First Wave poets on “Hip Hop Education in the Classroom, the Community and Beyond” hosted by Gloria Ladson-Billings; and performances by Blackman, Senegalese rapper Xuman, and the 10th cohort of First Wave.
The Hip Hop Education Summit at the Overture Center on Saturday, with attendance capped at 150, is sold out. But other events are free and open to the public. Ney said organizers expect more than 1,000 to attend over the weekend.
Appearances by Jeff Chang, author of “We Gon’ Be Alright," at the Madison Central Library, 201 W. Mifflin St.; and Brian Mooney, author of “Breakbeat Pedagogy” and Chris Emdin, author of “For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood,” A Room of One’s Own, 215 W. Gorham St., are offered in partnership with the Wisconsin Book Festival.
A full list of events is here.
Hip-hop education is “not teaching breakdancing or deejaying,” said Ney. “We’re taking students’ culture and history and making it a centerpiece of their educational experience.” It’s a way to reach out to students who feel marginalized and “talk to their realities,” he said.
Hip-hop can be incorporated into many subject areas, Ney said. English, literature, art and creative writing, certainly. But also science, math and technology — a special focus of Emdin, an adviser to the U.S. State Department.
The educational seminar grew out of “Hip Hop in the Heartland,” a week-long summer teaching training institute offered by UW-Madison’s Office of Multicultural Arts Initiatives (OMAI) in partnership with Urban Word, New York City.
UW-Madison was a pioneer in bringing hip-hop in to the classroom, but that's now a practice at a number of schools, Ney said. “We have really strong partnerships across the region and the country.”