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July 10-14, 2023

Burlington, Vermont

Making Things We Care About

At the Project Design Lab you will collaborate with a teaching artist to design a project that uses creative engagement – making things we care about – to strengthen students engagement with your curriculum or school initiative and their well-being.


Teams are encouraged, but not required, and can be from the same or mixed grades and content areas. 


Participation in the Project Design Lab includes a seven-day teaching artist residency in your school next year to help implement your project. 

​Creative engagement can bridge differences, build collective agency, imagine new approaches, inspire joyfulness, and reflect individual and community identity.

How do I know when I belong?

Sample curriculum alignment:

Vermont history; point of view; perspective; rights vs. responsibilities; memoirs; civil rights and racial justice.


Explore integrating personal and social identities, examining prejudices and biases, cultural competency, and understanding the perspectives of and empathizing with others.

Strengthen students' connections to each other and  their community.

How do we move from reaction to relationship?

Sample curriculum alignment:

Conscious Discipline; Second Step; American Revolution; global citizenship; westward expansion; Vermont history; communication.


Explore communicating effectively, cultural competency, teamwork and collaborative problem-solving, resolving conflicts constructively, and standing up for the rights of others.

Strengthen students' social awareness and relationship skills.

How do we respond to what the Earth is saying?

Sample curriculum alignment:

Global citizenship; Forest School; the watershed; connections between science and civics; Earth science; weather hazards and patterns.

Explore current world trends, creative ways to make a difference, eco-citizenship, empowering students to be agents of change, harmony with nature, and evaluating impacts.


Strengthen students' environmental consciousness, sense of agency and commitment.


2023 Essential Questions
When you register for the Project Design Lab your team will select one of these essential questions to guide your project design:

Check out examples of projects developed at the Project Design Lab:

Project Snapshots


What To Expect


DESIGN a high-engagement creative project with a teaching artist that strengthens your students' well-being.


CUSTOMIZE your project to integrate with your curriculum. 

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Through photography, pop art and theather, Peoples Academy students explored their role in making their community sustainable.

More Project Snapshots

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Through sculpture and flag making, Stowe Elementary students explored how their words and actions impact others.

More Project Snapshots

ALIGN your project to support school initiatives, such as Portrait of a Graduate

BUILD a project that activates community partnerships. 

LEARN alongside leaders in creative engagementproject-based learning and community engagement.  

NURTURE your own well-being; re-connect with your creative self; and have fun—guaranteed.

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"This is a game changer."


"This has been the best professional development in my 27-year teaching career."


How Does It Work?

1.  Register: FEB-JUN

Teams comprise two or more teachers, staff, or administrators, and may be from the same school or different schools in your district. Individuals can also register. Select your essential question when you register.

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2.  Plan at the Project Design Lab: JUL 10-14

You will work with a teaching artist and leaders in creative engagement to design a project to support your curriculum or school initiative and strengthen the well-being of you and your students.


3.   Implement Your Project: SEP-MAY

You, or you and your team, will co-lead with a teaching artist the implementation of your project during a seven-day teaching artist residency. Residencies may be concentrated over seven-days or integrated to energize a longer curriculum arc or school initiative.

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4.  Celebrate Your Project

Your project's culminating event will be a public celebration of your students' learning and creative work.

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Visit the FAQ page for more info:

Tuition & Fees   Daily Schedule   Teaching Artist Selection  | Lodging & Meals

Visit the Project Snapshots page for examples of projects developed at the Project Design Lab.

2023 Project Design Lab

July 10-14 / 9:00am - 4:00pm

University of Vermont / Burlington

Tuition is $2,000 per person for three graduate credits or $1,750 per person for 40 hours re-certification creditsTuition includes a private air-conditioned dorm room with centrally located individual bath at the University of Vermont, plus breakfast and lunch. Everyone is on their own for dinner in Burlington. 

The Teaching Artist fee is $4,500 for a seven-day residency.

Your school is eligible to APPLY FOR FUNDING from the Vermont Arts Council to support the teaching artist residency fee. We can help you apply.  


You can attend as an individual, or with a team. Teams are encouraged. Teams can be composed of classroom teachers, councilors, paras, special educators, staff, or administrators. Teams can be from the same grades and content areas, or mixed. Teams may include educators from different schools in the district if you want to design a multi-school residencyFor examples of teams, visit Project Snapshots.


Visit the PDL FAQ page for answers to questions about team participation, tuition & fees, lodging & meals, daily schedule, teaching artist selection, and more.


See examples of previous projects created at the Project Design Lab here


Contact Community Engagement Lab Executive Director:

Paul Gambill (email), (802) 595-0087

Accrediting Institution

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We invite you to let us know about specific accommodations you may need to participate in the Project Design Lab. We will make every effort to honor your request. 


Contact: Paul Gambill (email) or (802) 595-0087

How Doe It Work
Registration Optons
  2023 Faculty

ERIC BOOTH (he/him)

Eric is widely referred to as one of the nation’s best teachers of creativity, and the father of the teaching artist profession. He is CEL's co-founder and Engagement Director. In 2015 he was awarded the nation's highest honor for an arts educator (the Arts Education Leadership Award by Americans For The Arts), and was named one of the 25 most important people in the U.S. arts. In arts learning, he has taught at Juilliard (13 years), Stanford University, NYU, Tanglewood and Lincoln Center Institute (35 years), and The Kennedy Center (12 years). He is the founder and co-designer of the International Teaching Artist Conferences, the recipient of the first honorary doctorate in teaching artistry (New England Conservatory), and was the keynote speaker at UNESCO's first world arts education conference.  Eric's website

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As the Community Engagement Lab's Creative Education Director, Susan brings with her years of experience helping educators enact student-centered pedagogies in Vermont. In addition to her work with CEL, she serves as the program lead and teaches courses in UVM's Educational Technology Online sequence, and co-directs UVM's Learning Lab, a network for educators to engage in action research with their students. Through her work as a district-wide technology integration coach and ten year experience as a professional development coordinator at the Tarrant Institute of Innovative Education at UVM, Susan designs professional development experiences that model best practices in teaching and assessment. She worked at Harwood Union High School as the English department chair as well as the Library Media Specialist. In 2007, she won the Milken Educator Award for Vermont.

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Ashley is a teaching artist, dance educator and choreographer whose work investigates how movement creates a more aware, engaged, and connected community. She has received multiple grants for her work in public schools and community sites and is a Juried Teaching Artist through the Vermont Arts Council. Projects include teacher trainings, school residencies, dance in libraries, restorative justice and correctional facilities programs as well as community-inspired and inclusive original productions. She received her Ed.M from Harvard Graduate School of Education and teaches at the Dance Factory in Springfield, Vermont. Ashley's website

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Erin is a grateful settler on the indigenous lands of the Sokoki Abenaki in Southern Vermont. Born and raised in Hawai’i, Erin Maile is supported and nourished by her Hawaiian ancestry, culture and continued mentorship from her elders. As an educator, trainer and community artist/activator, she has developed kinesthetic, multigenerational curriculums that facilitate group inclusion, connection, co-authorship and empathy. Erin’s background in dance, theater and architecture has made the crafting of temporal spaces and community arts engagement at the core of much of her work. Erin's website

PDL Faculty
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EMILY ROSS (she/her)

Emily is an elementary educator who has taught in Vermont schools for the last nine years.  Ross worked as a third grade generalist teacher at the St. Johnsbury School.  For the last five years she has worked at Newbury Elementary School, specializing in fifth and sixth grade Humanities.  She is also a member of the school's Forest School Committee. Ross has a passion for arts integration and project based learning.  She has participated in the Project Design Lab three times as a teacher.  In her time at the PDL, she has developed projects pairing weather hazards with multidisciplinary art, Vermont history with poetry and music composition, and outdoor learning with cyanotype.  

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GOWRI SAVOOR (she/her)

Gowri is a visual-teaching artist, whose practice includes sculpture, illustration, and writing. Born in England, she moved to the US in 2007. Savoor has been a practicing teaching artist for over 20 years, with experience in arts integration and community building. Gowri is the instigator of A River of Light, a movement committed to bringing art to the community through participatory art events, installations, and lantern parades. She is also the co-founder of Teaching Artists Connect, an organization providing creative and inspiring professional development workshops for teaching artists and educators in North Carolina and beyond. Gowri's website.

  Lead Sponsor  

National Endowment for the Arts logo
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