Anna West & Sue Weinstein

The Lesson Plan: Building Youth Spoken Word Culture

Anna West

Anna West is a doctoral student in the English Department at LSU, where she concentrates in the area of critical youth studies, poetry, and performance. She was the founding director of WordPlay Writing Project in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and the former director of Young Chicago Authors, winner of the 2010 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award.  She is the co-founder of Louder Than a Bomb, the acclaimed Chicago teen poetry slam festival and subject of an award-winning documentary film of the same name.  In 2011, Anna brought together poets and educators in Massachusetts to form Mass LEAP, a literary education and performance collective. Anna holds a B.A. in creative writing from Columbia College Chicago and a M.Ed. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education where she was the recipient of the 2011 Arts in Education Faculty Recognition-Intellectual Contribution Award.  She has published in Harvard Educational Review and presented her work at various conferences and speakers series including, “Getting Real” at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, “Dangerous Women” at the Jane Addams Hull House, and on Chicago and Boston Public Radio programs, among others.

Sue Weinstein

Sue Weinstein came to LSU in 2004 after completing her PhD in English at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She currently serves as Associate Chair of English and is the departmental advisor for the English secondary education concentration (Geaux Teach English). She teaches courses in English education, ethnographic research methods, literacy studies, social contexts of poetry, and hip-hop studies.

Professor Weinstein’s scholarship focuses on teenaged writers. She has been researching the field of youth spoken word poetry since 2006 and has published broadly on that work. She was awarded LSU’s Brij Mohan Distinguished Faculty Award for work related to social justice because of her ongoing work with Baton Rouge’s WordPlay Teen Writing Project. In addition, WordPlay awarded her its first annual Excellence in Service award in 2010. Currently, she sits on the board of directors of Forward Arts, the non-profit organization that houses WordPlay.

Prior to the PhD, Professor Weinstein taught high school English in Chicago, IL and Cochabamba, Bolivia.

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