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SEA Change Lab is a cohort-based program aimed at growing social empowerment and leadership development through storytelling in arts, advocacy, and reimagination. We work with young people ages 18-25 with heritage roots from mainland Southeast Asia, including indigenous and ethnic groups from Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. We center, support and guide our young people’s experiences using an interdisciplinary cross-cultural, cross-generational approach.

Registration for Winter/Spring cohort is open to anyone in the United States that fits our criteria and is entirely online. 

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The SEA Change Lab program was my first experience participating in any sort of creative arts/advocacy cohort. I absolutely loved connecting with my members, checking in with one another, laughing, sharing, crying, etc. This is the first time I’ve been connected to a full SEA community since I moved to a PWC. I feel rejuvenated. I feel affirmed with a new sense of confidence to continue to take up space.

I loved doing the memory mapping, planning your passion, and the healing circle. The memory/ancestry mapping has inspired me to write a letter to Tais, because I do not know much about my grandma’s history and found out that I’m not the only one, because of a language barrier. Planning our passions helped me conceptualize how I can continue to realistically incorporate art into my life. Mental health is not something that is often talked about in the SEA community, and I’m glad that I had the space to discuss it with others.

There are so many things that I enjoyed about the program. [I] got to get back to my artistic/creative side and really capture what that looks like as a SEA. Being in community with other SEA creatives taught me so much about what it means to be an artist but also how our identities as SEA tie into that. I’ve never claimed any creative spaces because I never felt like what I create was of value, but SEA Change Lab showed me that I am needed in certain spaces and that there are still numerous conversations needed to be had about storytelling as a SEA. 

The SEAD Change Lab is an incredible asset to our burgeoning community of young Southeast Asian creatives. It was a powerful experience to be among so many artists that I relate to, some of whom I believe I will cultivate relationships with for a long time to come. I have a newfound sense of possibility with my art making, leadership, and advocacy drawn from my experiences.

WHO & WHERE

We're looking for up to 12 Changemakers who are able to work collectively and collaboratively using artistic mediums including but not limited to writing, visual arts, movement, digital art, music, and performance that will engage communities on Southeast Asian issues. Cohort members are welcome from all over the country, as all activities will take place online. The finished outcome will be in the form of a virtual community exhibition and digital+print zine publication. The program will be 100% virtual, with materials shipped to all participants.

COHORT STIPEND

$1,000 per participant at the end of program completion.

EXPECTATIONS

​All Changemakers will...

  • learn topics in arts, advocacy, and community issues that impact the Southeast Asian diaspora;

  • be provided with professional development tools and training.

  • be matched with a mentor;

  • create an original work responding to these key community issues: COVID19 Pandemic, Abolition, Anti-Asian Violence, Deportation, Healing Justice, Environmental Justice, and Southeast Asian Cultural Reimagination (Identity, Heritage, Histories);

  • work directly with community members;

  • join a supportive alumni network;

  • receive their stipend only if they fully participate and finish the program.

CHANGEMAKERS CRITERIA
  • Must be ages 18-25 years old

  • Must identify as having heritage or roots from Southeast Asia

  • Must be into creative arts

  • Must have strong interest in storytelling for change

  • Must be able to participate in weekly virtual planning meetings, trainings, and check-ins

  • Must meet minimum technical requirements in order to participate (stable internet, working phone, etc). If this is an accessibility issue, SEAD can provide financial support for need-based participants.

FINAL PROJECTS

We ask each student to apply what they've learned in a culminating creative final project. Here are a few from the most recent program. Click to read the artist statement.

  • What are the classes about?
    The classes are a fun, engaging, and student-centered environment with intensive content catered to adult learners. Curriculum is broken into weekly themed topics (geography, history, social etiquette, etc) with a balance of basics in grammar lectures, reading, writing, listening comprehension and speech practice as well as in-class exercises and light homework. To apply what students learn, there is a culminating creative final project that students are required to complete; which will be worked on throughout the course. On the last day of class, all language cohorts come together to present their final community projects.
  • When and where are the classes held?
    Spring 2024 language workshops run for 8 consecutive weeks, usually on Saturday mornings from 10:00 AM – 1:30 PM US Central Time. Starting date TBD. All workshops are held 100% virtually to include students from across the country. Classes are taught via Zoom livestream platform, Google Drive, Google Classroom, and other tech tools. **Spring 2024 registration period TBD
  • How will I get my class materials?
    All registered students will receive their coursebook and materials by mail and will need to access Google Drive and Classrooms in order to get their materials electronically. Please note that registered students will need to have stable internet access, an appropriate study area for yourself to learn without distractions (as much as possible), and other technology requirements in order to take the online class successfully.
  • How much are the classes?
    Registration fee will be $450 per student. For those unable to pay the full fee, there is a sliding scale between $250 – $425 based on two requirements: 1) You identify as having Southeast Asian heritage and/or are BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, Person of Color) and 2) You are low income (individual annual salary is less than $40,000). For those who qualify, you may pay any amount within the sliding scale range. No one will be turned away if they are unable to pay, so please reach out to us if you need financial support. Fee includes 8 weeks of teacher’s time, class instruction, coursebook, technology, Zoom software, materials, etc. A processing fee will be charged at the time of payment. Limited scholarships are available for anyone who is unable to financially pay for the class. There are also scholarships for those who cannot afford the fee.
  • Who are your teachers?
    All of our teachers come from various levels of teaching backgrounds and are made up of teams with native speakers who are fluent in the language and have a wealth of teaching, facilitation, and community experience. Hmong Teachers Team: Yer Her, Koobmeej Lee Lao Teachers Team: Stacey Phengvath Khmer Teachers Team: Sotheary Duong, Bunchung (Liam) Ly Vietnamese Teachers Team: Hung Nguyen, Joan Dao, Tri Vo
  • What level of language fluency do I need in order to take the class?
    We accept all levels of language learners. The difficulty of the course is determined by our collective student registration and their abilities.
  • What do I need to have ready for the class?
    Bring an open and patient mindset, pencil, notebook, and a working laptop and internet. Review the student tech requirements here. And don’t forget grace. Classes will be intensive, but they’re engaging and fun and you are part of a lasting and supportive cohort community.
  • How many hours a week should I expect to study?
    In addition to 3.5 hours of class time, students should expect to study up to 8-10 hours per week (this includes homework exercises, etc).
  • What is the age range for the class? Can youth take it, too?
    The curriculum and content is geared towards adult learners who are at least 17 years old or older. If youth are under the age of 17 and would like to take the class, we will allow it as long as a parent/guardian gives permission and an adult family member (who is 17+) is able to take the class with them. Please inquire with us at hi@theseadproject.org.
  • Are there in-person classes available?
    We will continue to only teach virtually to focus our efforts in making this resource accessible nationally. But who knows? We frequently check our organizational capacity to see if we can resume in-person classes.
  • I’ve decided I can’t take the class anymore. What is the refund policy?
    For the integrity of our program and to respect our teachers’ time, energy, and resources, registration is non-refundable after the registration deadline (less any online transaction fees). If you find you can’t continue the class for any reason, we welcome you to speak to us about retaking the class again for free.
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