Introducing PIE Lab!

PIE Lab is a training for Artist Educators to cultivate more humanizing creative practices.  

For PIE, “humanizing creative practices” are processes of collaborative creating that center connection, curiosity and reflection. They are practices that respect the full humanity of the artist, community and audience, and that nurture authentic voice and community leadership.  PIE Lab models this experience for Artist Educators in its design, while imparting concrete tools and practices that can be applied in their work.

This year’s PIE Lab kicks off October 17-19!

the primary goals of pie lab are to:

  • Provide support for Artist Educators to develop collaborative creative practices

  • Provide insight and tools to develop collaborative projects

  • Make art projects more relevant to community members’ and artists’ lives

  • Connect Artist Educators to their personal purpose as a facilitator, exploring why they work in community.

  • Create deep relationships between Artist Educators that will support them throughout their careers.

this year-long training consists of:

3 Day Intensive

The intensive introduces artists to PIE’s approach to creating.  We help participants articulate their purpose as Artist Educators within the context of their community. From there, they identify the skills necessary (in themselves and with their communities) in order to fulfill that purpose. Artists learn best practices for nurturing agency and leadership. With the support of PIE staff and dynamic guest facilitators, they create project frameworks and self-defined metrics by which they can measure progress towards their stated purpose and goals.

Quarterly Meetups

Throughout the year, artists will reconvene at networking events such as book clubs, local and national conferences, and project planning parties. These gatherings allow further professional development opportunities and cultivate a supportive community of peers with whom artists can troubleshoot challenges and share successes.

Observations & Documentation

Every artist will have the opportunity to be observed by PIE staff and trainers at least once during the year. The observation includes an audio and/or video recording and transcript.  Artists will then undergo one-on-one meetings to reflect on these recordings. This reflection will help artists understand what is working or not working and adjust their instructional practices accordingly.


Participation in PIE Lab is  $300 for an individual. Scholarships are available, and you can apply within the application. We do not want cost to be an obstacle for anyone; we are happy to work with you to make PIE Lab affordable.

Apply for this year’s pie lab by october 1, 2018

Questions? Email

Lunch Special! Work with PIE Artists to make media about school lunch

People in Education is looking for classrooms, schools and organizations to partner with our artists-in-residence, starting October 2018.

The Artist in Residence  (AIR) program partners with artists, school communities and students to make media that uncovers stories at the heart of the schooling experience. Over four months, we explore a complex education issue, resulting in a collaborative, digital media project.

This year, we’re looking to change how we make; instead of creating projects on varying topics, we want to focus all our media projects around a central theme: school lunch. This new model will allow us to get multiple angles on one part of schooling and show how complex it really is.

Often in policy and reform conversations about schooling we flatten the complexities of the issues, attempting to make them easier to comprehend or measure. From there, we develop flat solutions that fail to address what is truly at the core of the education crisis.

Click here to see some of our past collaborative media projects.

Why school lunch?

In seven years of working with young people in Detroit classrooms, there is always one topic students are hungry to discuss: lunch. When it comes up, the stories pour out:  “One time, I had brown alfredo sauce?” or “A bread and cheese sandwich? It ain’t even grilled sis!” And it's hard to talk about anything else because A) the stories are hilarious and B) the feelings run so deep.

We want to make media that speaks to these questions:

1. What are young people really eating?

Detroit is known for being revolutionary in its school food programs. We want to hear how young people feel about school lunch in Detroit and what they’re actually eating. Just because it's served doesn't mean it’s eaten.  

2. What else is going on in the lunchroom?

Lunchroom politics can be a hot topic, rich with social dynamics and institutional rules. We want to see what young people think about things like the design, multi-functionality, interpersonal interactions, expectations from adults about noise and seating (just to name a few) in their cafeterias.

3. What is the importance and impact of student choice at lunch?

There are lots of assumptions about the food choices young people make. More often than not, adults question their ability to make healthy choices. We want to know how students understand the choices they make around food.

What we’re looking for in a partner:

Educators, schools and organizations who--

  1. Work with young people on art, technology, health, food and/or issues in social justice.

  2. Can work with a consistent group of students over the course of the four-month program.

  3. Are open to a collaborative creating process between themselves, their students and PIE artists-in-residence.

How to become an AIR partner:

If you’re interested becoming an AIR partner, complete this form by September 17 to tell us a bit more about yourself and your work. The form will take about ten minutes to fill, and we’ll follow up later in September with more details.

Call for 2018 Teaching Artists

People in Education is hiring Teaching Artists to facilitate digital media projects in classrooms across Metro Detroit, starting October 2018. 

Our Artist in Residence (AIR) Program is a four-month residency for digital media makers interested in developing social practice works with a focus on humanizing schooling. These works will contribute to PIE’s mission to shift the conversation about education toward the idea of humane schools. This year’s focus for media projects will be school lunch.

The application deadline is September 19, 2018 with a start date of October 09, 2018.

Why school lunch?

In seven years of working with young people in Detroit classrooms, there is always one topic students are hungry to talk about: lunch. We’ve dabbled in investigating lunch before, among other topics. But this year we’re changing how we make by creating several media projects around a central theme. Often in policy and reform conversations we flatten the complexities of the issues and thus develop flat solutions that fail to address the heart of the education crisis. This new model allows us to get multiple angles on one subject and show how complex schooling is.  We have decided school lunch is the best place to start!

About the Teaching Artist position

Artists will work with PIE for four months to develop and implement a Media Project. Our projects investigate a complex community issue through a collaborative media-making and design process. Projects require a month of preparation and three months of work in the community. The AIR Project Coordinator will be available to answer any questions and support artists with their proposals for projects. See past media projects here

This is a part-time, contract position with the expectation of approximately 140 hours of work (averaging 10 hours a week while working in the community) over the period of October 2018 through January 2019. Included in this time frame is an artist social practice training October 17 - 19, during the day. Teaching Artists will be compensated with a $3,000 stipend for their participation in this four-month project.

Specific Responsibilities

The PIE Teaching Artist will:

  • Build a strong, collaborative partnership with assigned community partners

  • Develop in-depth knowledge of practices for the development of ethical agency, critical thinking and creative problem-solving

  • Facilitate a Media Project and guide partners in:

    • Developing skills in digital media production

    • Investigating “Big Questions” which identify and deconstruct systemic problems that impact their lives and their communities

    • Designing solutions for those systemic problems based on research

    • Increasing partners’ mastery of classroom curriculum in general

  • Implement PIE documentation and evaluation procedures, which include:

    • Weekly lesson planning

    • Program evaluations before, during, and after the Major Media Project

  • Participate in Bi-weekly staff meetings


The ideal candidate will have:

  • Demonstrated commitment to social justice values.

  • Mastery of at least one media arts practice (video production, audio production, graphic design, or web design)

  • Experience working as an educator in K-12 schools and/or youth leader/facilitator in a community organization.

  • Familiarity with theories and practices of popular education.

  • Familiarity with arts-infused education practices.

  • Proficiency with Google applications (Google Drive, Calendar, etc.).

  • Experience working collaboratively with a diverse staff.

  • Excellent interpersonal, written, and communication skills; strong public speaking skills.

  • Excellent self-management and time-management skills.

  • Ability/desire to work flexible hours, including occasional evenings and weekends, and willingness to travel occasionally.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Demonstrated commitment to authentic youth leadership.

  • Thorough and creative lesson-planning, paired with the ability to improvise in the classroom.

How to Apply

To apply, please send the following to with your name and “PIE Teaching Artist Application” in the subject line:

  • Cover letter

  • Resume

  • Three work samples such as art projects, curricula, articles or essays or reports, links to videos of work or workshops you have led, etc. Work samples that demonstrate your skills as an artists and/or educator.

  • Three professional references including names, emails, and telephone numbers.

Download a PDF of the Call for Artists here. 

We strongly encourage people of color, women, LGBTQ, and disabled candidates to apply.

Apply by July 18th for the 2018 Rida Institute!


People in Education is now accepting applications for the Rida Institute, a year-long training that prepares educators to facilitate humanizing classrooms.  

We believe that in order to transform our school system, educators must begin by transforming our own practices and design our classrooms to nurture leadership in our students. 

The primary goals of the Rida Institute are to:

  • Connect teachers to their personal purpose in education, exploring why they teach.

  • Increase the resilience of educators, lowering rates of teacher burnout.

  • Provide insight on practices to create more compassionate classrooms.

  • Increase the relevance of classroom content to students’ and teachers’ lives.

  • Create deep relationships that will support educators throughout their career.

Apply here for the 2018 Rida Institute. The deadline is July 18th.

We do not want cost to be an obstacle for anyone; we are happy to work with you to make the Institute affordable. The cost for the year-long Institute for individuals is a sliding scale, from $500 to $50. The cost to participate as a representative of an institution is $500. Meals will be provided on all three days of the Rida Institute Retreat and at other events throughout the year.

The application is where you can enter the amount you decide upon.

Questions? Email

The Rida Framework

The Rida Framework is the primary planning and evaluation tool that PIE uses to humanize schooling, inspired by the educational theories of Paolo Freire, Jeff Duncan-Andrade, and James and Grace Lee Boggs. Freire, a Brazilian educator and theorist, believed that cycles of critical reflection and action were key to any transformative learning process. From this approach, users of the Rida Framework articulate practices (action) that will result in desired/outlined outcomes within their classrooms, which they will document and evaluate via predetermined metrics (reflection).