Geographies of Care and Responsibility

Project team CoPIs: Gregory Benoit, Maria Olivares, Eli Tucker-Raymond, Beth Warren-Boston University; Brian Gravel–Tufts University Sarah Erich, Hector Nieves – Graduate Research Assistants


  • Dr. Rayna Briceno – Who’s Got Morale
  • Ann Rosebery – Independent
  • Community Academy – Boston Public Schools
  • Leventhal Map Center – Boston Public Library

Our project investigates how restorative geographies of care and responsibility can be designed and cultivated in an alternative public high school serving students who have not thrived in traditional school settings and who are coping with ongoing or past histories of trauma. More broadly, this participatory design research project contributes to the field’s understanding of how to design, develop, sustain, and advocate for models of alternative education that center young people’s learning as the re-making of social, intellectual, emotional, and ethical relations across boundaries of disciplines and life, nature and culture, school and community, youth and adults. The four-year project focuses on pathways of learning in and across three settings at the school–health and wellness class, STEAM block, and a community garden–that extend into youth teaching opportunities with children at a local elementary school. A multi-stakeholder collaborative design council pursues research questions that focus on: relations of care and responsibility developed in the focal settings, how school community members grow and adapt those relations in and across settings within and outside of the school, and how the ongoing collaborative re-designing of resources for relation-building contributes to the development and disciplinary learning of students.

2021-2026 Lyle Spencer Award #005