Tracing the Enduring Effects of Community Arts Programs

Project Overview

Tracing the Enduring Effects of Community Arts Program (TEECAPS) is a project led by the University of California, Irvine, in collaboration with Deakin University, the University of Kentucky and The New School. The main aim of the project is to explore the long-term effects of participating in out-of-school (OST) arts education programs serving young people from marginalised communities.

The project will examine the life experiences of people who have participated in OST arts programs at least 10 years ago to determine how they perceive their participation affected their lives over the long-term. In interviews, participants will share their personal accounts of their experiences and their reflections on how they feel their involvement influenced their lives.

The analysis of these interviews will work as a potential shaping force of OST programs on identity formation as we look at how participation in non-formal arts educations impacts life trajectories. The project will also shed light on the capacity of creative communities to positively impact the life experiences of marginalised young people.


Program leaders, policy makers, researchers and funders will be able to use the findings from this project in the support, design, implementation, improvement, and extension of OST arts programs.

Project team

Professor Julian Sefton-Green (Deakin University)

Professor Julian Sefton-Green is Professor of New Media Education at Deakin University. He has worked as an independent scholar and has held positions at the Department of Media and Communication, London School of Economics and Political Science and at the University of Oslo - working on projects exploring learning and learner identity across formal and informal domains. He has researched and written widely on many aspects of media education, new technologies, creativity, digital cultures and informal learning.

Dr Pariece Nelligan (Deakin University)

Dr Pariece Nelligan is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Deakin University. She previously worked as a Senior Researcher in the not-for-profit sector in the field of youth employment, training and transitions. She is a co- author of the book The Creativity Hoax: Precarious Work in the Gig Economy (Anthem Press, 2018) which examines the formation and realisation of creative ambitions and careers for poor and minoritised young people.

Dr Vera Michalchik (University of California, Irvine)

Dr Vera Michalchik co-directs the Connected Learning Lab and is a senior research scientist in the Department of Informatics at the University of California, Irvine. She is trained as a learning scientist at the intersection of psychology and anthropology, and has held research and evaluation positions at Stanford University, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and SRI International, where she led the informal learning research practice.

Professor Daniela Kruel DiGiacomo (University of Kentucky)

Professor Daniela Kruel DiGiacomo is an Assistant Professor of Library and Information Science in the School of Information Science at the University of Kentucky (UK). As a learning scientist trained in the sociocultural tradition, her scholarship is guided by a commitment to community-based and youth-centred research that is both justice-conferring and humanising. Prior to pursuing her PhD, Daniela worked in secondary teaching, school administration, political asylum advocacy, and social work.

Dr Sam Mejias (The New School)

Dr Sam Mejias is Associate Professor of Social Justice and Community Engagement at Parsons School of Design, the New School, and a Research Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Dr Mejias has worked in OST education programs for 20 years, including in New York City at Arts Connection and Global Kids. He currently co-leads the Parsons Scholars Program, a college preparatory program for New York public school students from low-income backgrounds who are interested in art and design.

Project timeline

June 2021-May 2024