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Yo-Yo Ma Visits HGSE with Silk Road Project

Grammy-award winning cellist and composer Yo-Yo Ma met with Harvard Graduate School of Education faculty last week to discuss education initiatives under his Silk Road Project -- a nonprofit arts and educational organization with a vision of creating global connections by uniting artists and audiences around the world.

Ma is currently investigating an experiential education program as part of the Silk Road Project. He and his colleagues came to the Ed School to seek out the expertise of faculty and discuss how to implement a potential new program in New York City.

"Several members of the HGSE faculty, including me, had a preview of the professional development workshop that the Silk Road team plans to bring to New York City public school teachers," said Harvard Graduate School of Education Dean Kathleen McCartney, who welcomed Ma and Silk Road Project members at a formal dinner. "Using indigo as a theme, they seek ways to use the arts within a broader curriculum framework. The discussion between the Silk Road team and our faculty began an important conversation for both sides that will continue."

Professors Howard Gardner and Bob Schwartz, Lecturers Steve Seidel and Veronica Boix Mansilla, and Assistant Professor Meira Levinson met with Ma and the Silk Road Project to discuss curriculum and teacher development, pedagogy, and education standards.

"The conversations were important opportunities for them to clarify and think through critical issues facing the project," Seidel said. "It felt like a very productive exploration of big questions related to the creation of innovative partnerships between arts organizations and schools. Their new project in New York City is ambitious and imaginative, and therefore challenging. I was very excited to join in their planning and design process."