Visualizing a Year Like No Other: A Michigan Teen Photo Project

Visualizing a Year Like No Other: A Michigan Teen Photo Project will engage youth (ages 13-19) in a series of interactive activities which will help them to:

  • build new relationships and friendships with a diverse group of teens from across Michigan
  • amplify youth voices in order to share their perspective, opinions and ideas with others on what is going well in their lives, and what could be better.
  • learn photography skills and take photos of what they are experiencing in their lives under the impacts of the pandemic in our state and communities.
  • share and talk about their experiences with other teens and supportive adults about the ways that the pandemic has and is impacting our daily lives.

Youth who participate in the project will be guided by experienced staff members and student interns from the Michigan State University Extension's Children and Youth Institute and the MSU Broad Art Museum.  Staff will lead and facilitate small groups of youth (8-10 youth per group) who will meet weekly February 1 - March 22, 2021 using the online Zoom meeting platform. During our weekly Zoom meetings, youth participants will learn basic photography skills and form relationships with other teens from across Michigan.  Access to a digital camera is not required, youth will be able to participate in the project successfully using the camera on a smartphone.

In between our weekly Zoom meetings, participants will take photos to document things in their life that are going well, and things that could be better, under the impact of the novel coronavirus.  During Zoom meetings, staff will facilitate group conversations where youth participants will share their photos and talk about things that are happening in their lives and their community. 

We believe that looking carefully at art and thinking about how and why it was made can help us to see the world in new ways. It challenges us to realize that we may not all experience the world in the same way. With help from our instructors, participants will make exciting new discoveries by viewing art and exploring ideas in their own artwork! Our curriculum is structured to emphasize the value of exploration and inquiry. 

At the conclusion of the program, participants' work will be showcased in the MSU Broad Art Lab galleries from May 15 - August 14, 2021. This exhibition will serve to expand on the experiences and voices as a way to educate others and advocate for positive changes in our communities and our state.  

Participants will need to have internet access in order to participate in the project.  Video conferencing in the Zoom meetings can be accessed via a computer, tablet, or smartphone with a camera and microphone.  For those without high speed internet access that would allow for participating in a video conference on Zoom, a call in phone option will also be available in order to participate.

Parents/guardians of minors must fill out permission forms as part of the online registration process.

Participation is free and open to Michigan youth ages 13-19. Register by January 24, 2021.


Michigan State University is committed to providing equal opportunity for participation in all programs, services and activities. Accommodations for persons with disabilities may be requested by contacting the event contact two weeks prior to the start of the event. Requests received after this date will be honored whenever possible.

Contact Information

For information please contact Jackie Martin at