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re:imagine/ATL: Podcast “Embrace the Mess” Equips Teachers During COVID-19 and Beyond


Over the past month, each one of us has had to embrace a new normal, new roles, and new ways to connect. Teachers’ and students’ daily lives have been significantly altered – every student became a homeschooler overnight, a safe place to escape abuse at home was no longer available, and dreams of a season championship securing college scholarships went out the window. Right now, many school communities are struggling to not only provide for the physical needs but for the mental wellness of their students and staff.

On Monday, April 13, Embrace the Mess, a podcast and workshop series produced by reimagine/ATL will be released as a free resource for educators and anyone working with youth. The podcast is designed to break down the fears and boundaries that prohibit vulnerability and creativity between educators and students. Embrace the Mess chronicles the journey of two Atlanta-based Teaching Artists, Paras Chaudhari, and Gavin Bernard, as they step into the classroom for the first time in years and become Listening Artists, working alongside students to turn life into art.

The podcast is a result of years of programming in some of the most challenging Title I schools in metro-Atlanta; a shared journey of the ups and downs, lessons learned and lives transformed. It is our hope that the podcast will ignite a movement, connecting Teaching Artists and the creative professional community directly to the classroom; as they learn alongside students, and share their stories of resilience through scripts, songs, and short films.

On Monday, April  20 at 5 pm EST, a free virtual workshop, Embrace the Mess: Vulnerable Storytelling with Teens will be held live. The workshop was scheduled to debut during this year’s SXSWedu conference in Austin, Texas but when The Alliance Youth Media Network heard it was canceled due to COVID-19, they offered to sponsor and co-host a virtual session so educators from around the world could participate.   

Many of us are striving for connection and community. The podcast and accompanying workshop invite you to be part of authentic, uncensored conversations, connecting you with students and other educators in a new way. Subscribe to “Embrace The Mess” on your preferred podcast platform and @etmpod on Instagram to join the community.


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