Lesson Plans

Resources connected to "Dispatches" at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art

A playground seen from above in Sacramento County, California. The London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates that over 200 children were killed in drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia between 2004 and 2013. Image by Tomas van Houtryve. United States, 2014.

When He Quangui is too sick to walk, his wife carries him. They have a very close relationship, and according to a relative, are “still like two teenagers who just fell in love.” Photo by Sim Chi Yin. China, 2013.

Ipan is 16 months old and suffering his third seizure of the morning. His head is too large for his body and his legs are as thin as sticks. He arches his back, and his limbs stiffen. He cries out in pain. His mother, Fatimah, tries to comfort Ipan but there’s not much she can do. A dukun, or shaman, says his soul was invaded by the spirit of the monkey, bat, and octopus. On his advice, Fatimah and her husband Nursah changed the boy's name from Iqbal to Ipan and fed him tiny rice balls mixed with octopus. Image by Larry Price. Indonesia, 2016.

Brent Renaud on patrol with police in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods of Honduras. Image by Stephen Bailey. Honduras, 2015.

Baseball practice in Montgomery County, Maryland. The FAA issued 1,428 domestic drone permits between 2007 and early 2013. According to records obtained from the agency, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the U.S. Navy have applied for drone authorization in Montgomery County. Image by Tomas van Houtryve. United States, 2014.

A miner pours a pan of mercury into a smaller container at a gold processing facility. Image by Larry Price. Indonesia, 2016.

Residential homes surrounding a circular park are seen from above in Montgomery County, Maryland. Image by Tomas van Houtryve. United States, 2014.

Stephan Bose-O'Reilly, a pediatrician and environmental health expert, examines two-year-old Rifky Aldiansyah, who lives in the village of Cisitu, for symptoms of mercury poisoning. Rifky was in good health until his third month when he began losing motor control. Rifky's mother, right, who lived in Cisungsang, a nearby mining community, said her home there was surrounded by gold processing centers. Mercury poisoning is “a serious health problem” for children in Indonesia, Bose-O'Reilly says. Image by Larry Price. Indonesia, 2016.

A wedding in central Philadelphia. In December 2013, a U.S. drone reportedly struck a wedding in Radda, in central Yemen, killing twelve people and injuring fifteen.Image by Tomas van Houtryve. United States, 2014.

Dita is a victim of neurological and physical abnormalities that afflict people in parts of Sulawesi where small-scale gold mining is common. Her mother, Kustin, 43, says Dita was a normal little girl until she was about 3 years old. Then she began to have trouble walking, and suffered seizures. Doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong with Dita, and, her mother said, offered nothing to help her. When Dita was 7, her symptoms suddenly worsened. She lost control of her arms and legs. Her limbs contorted and became rigid. Her hands and fingers curled shut. She stopped talking. And still no one, Kustin says, knew what was wrong with her daughter. Doctors say these symptoms are associated with exposure to mercury. They suspect that she suffered mercury intoxication after she was born. She died in August. Image by Larry C. Price. Indonesia, 2016.

“Tent City” jail in Maricopa County, Arizona. Sheriff Joe Arpaio announced in 2013 that he planned to purchase two surveillance drones for the facility, which is already outfitted with perimeter stun fences, four watchtowers, and a facial-recognition system. Image by Tomas van Houtryve. United States, 2014.

A U.S. Border Patrol vehicle in San Diego County, California. U.S. Customs and Border Protection has been using Predator drones since 2005. A Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed in 2012 revealed that the Customs and Border Protection lent its fleet of drones to other government entities—including the DEA, the FBI, the Texas Rangers, and local sheriff’s departments—nearly 700 times between 2010 and 2012. Image by Tomas van Houtryve. United States, 2014.

A national war cemetery is seen from above in Philadelphia. In the nearby suburbs, the Horsham Air Guard Base is a drone command center for foreign strikes and surveillance. Image by Tomas van Houtryve. United States, 2014.

A fire truck and crew respond to a car fire in the Gila River Indian Community in Maricopa County, Arizona. U.S. drone operators are known to engage in “double-tap” strikes, in which consecutive rounds of missiles are fired on the same target, with the second round intended to kill those who respond to the first. The London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism documented at least five such strikes in Pakistan in 2012. Image by Tomas van Houtryve. United States, 2014.

Welcome educators! The goal of the resources and guiding questions below are to guide an investigation into how you and your students can explore arts and global news, while also meeting your curricular goals. This investigation will engage resources from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and the “Dispatches” exhibition at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA).

An image from "Blue Sky Days" from Tomas van Houtryve, who will be featured in "Dispatches"

About Pulitzer Center:

The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting is an innovative award-winning non-profit journalism organization dedicated to supporting in-depth engagement with underreported global affairs through our sponsorship of quality international journalism across all media platforms and a unique program of outreach and education to schools and universities.

About the “Dispatches” exhibition at SECCA:

Dispatches gathers and generates artistic responses to the news by 34 contemporary artists and photojournalists. The exhibition includes a survey of works from 2010 - present and launches a series of commissions, or "dispatches" on current events and the critical issues of our time.

Here are the goals of this investigation:
  1. Connect students to global news

  2. Facilitate an analysis of local connections to international reporting

  3. Apply arts and journalism techniques as part of classroom instruction

  4. Write and share a lesson plan that supports curricular goals, while also engaging global news and the themes from “Dispatches”


As you start to explore potential themes for your lesson, consider the following:
  1. What images, words, locations and stories come to mind when thinking of the following themes from “Dispatches”?

  2. Post-9-11 Realities

  3. Borders and Migrations

  4. Ecological Justice

  5. New Forms of Social Action

  6. The 2016 US Presidential Election.

  7. What of the themes above connect to the work I am doing in my classroom? How might the themes and content of this exhibition connect to my class?


  1. How could reporting support engagement with themes of “Dispatches”?

Explore Pulitzer Center reporting connected to the themes presented in "Dispatches"
  • Post-9-11 Realities

Blue Sky Days by Tomas van Houtryve

Fractured Lands by Scott Anderson and Paolo Pellegrin

Afghanistan’s War Wounded and War Widows of Afghanistan by Paula Bronstein


  • Borders and Migrations

Running the Gap by Jason Motlagh

Between Borders: American Migrant Crisis by The Renaud Bros.

Surviving Fortress Europe by Jeanne Carstensen and Jodi Hilton


  • Ecological Justice

Deadly Pollution: The World’s Most Toxic Places by Larry Price

Dying to Breathe by Sim Chi Yin

Malaysia: How “Biofuels” are Destroying the Little People of the Rainforest by James Whitlow Delano

Chinese Soft Power, Wikileaks and a Small Amazonian Country by James Whitlow Delano

Peru: Race in the Rainforest by Justin Catanoso


  • New Forms of Social Action

The Abominable Crime by Micah Fink, Gabrielle Weiss and Lisa Bagiotti
Mexico: Technology, Civic Participation and Accountability by Kara Andrade

Kuchus in Uganda by Daniella Zalcman

  • The 2016 US Presidential Election.

Iran Youth at the Ballot Box by Reese Erlich

Taiwan: A Changing Status Quo by Richard Bernstein

Cold War Fault Lines by Nick Schifrin and Zach Fannin


Create and share your lessons:  

Use the following steps to create a Lesson Builder account, explore reporting and create lesson plans.

  1. Go to www.pulitzercenter.org/builder

  2. Create an account.

  3. Click “Create a Lesson” and create a working title for your lesson.

  4. Click “Resources” to browse and and save Pulitzer Center reporting.

  5. Add student instructions and questions.

  6. When you have finished your lesson, click “Finish” to publish your lesson.

Here is an example of a lesson plan that has already been designed to extend a visit to Dispatches and connects to the project "Blue Sky Days" by Tomas van Houtryve.

Questions? Contact the education team at Pulitzer Center by emailing education@pulitzercenter.org.  

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