The Rohingya Artolution: Teaching Locally Led Community-based Public Art Educators in the Largest Refugee Camp in History

Community-based public art education in emergencies is an emerging transdisciplinary field that exists at the crossroads of art education and education in emergencies. The Rohingya refugee camp is the largest refugee camp in the history of the world, on the border of Myanmar in Southern Bangladesh. As a response to the 2017 Rohingya refugee influx crisis, the international NGO Artolution started the first locally led collaborative public art education program in the refugee camps by selecting and educating individuals fleeing the Rohingya genocide.

My research examines the learning that occurred throughout three years of teaching artist education programs with 14 Rohingya refugee and Bangladeshi women and men, through their journey to lead independent art education programs. This research employs a performance-based ethnographic data collection methodology, with qualitative interviews, focus groups, and narratives collected from the teaching artists and participating learners over three phases of data collection that took place from 2018-2019 i collaboration with UNHCR, UNICEF, IFRC, et al.

The findings of the study suggest that the Rohingya Artolution teaching artist team is a living model for building a durable approach for emergency responses and humanizing a resilient future where history is defined by the voices that establish their own roles and identities in the world. The findings were presented through interweaving personal narratives and testimonials of the displaced and host teaching artists with supporting thinkers and commentary, in order to accurately link the stories of their learning and experiences by tracking the evolving teaching artist education process of cultivating creativity, curiosity, and expression in crisis-affected populations, and what that means for the future of their communities.

Resource Info

Resource Type



Published by

Teachers College, Columbia University

Authored by

Max Levi Frieder


Community Participation
Culture and the Arts

Geographic Focus