Igniting Social Change Through a Screen (Preview)

Writer’s Block inK was started in 2003 in New London, Connecticut, as a non-profit organization to support youth in writing and performing as tools to address personal and social challenges on the community stage.

Photo courtesy of Writer’s Block inK

By Kolton Harris, Vice President of the Board, Writer’s Block inK

At Writer’s Block, we seek to ignite social change through the arts, letting young people lead and create. At the core, Writer’s Block is about sculpting and creating full-scale productions in theater, including hip-hop musicals, and we have continued to evolve to provide space for various art forms. Writer’s Block inK empowers young voices with the power of pen and prose, reinforcing teamwork, accountability, and responsibility; igniting social change on the page and stage. My relationship to Writer’s Block is a testament to the youth-led model—I attended Writer’s Block inK as a kid, volunteered, worked as Executive Director, and currently serve on the Board to advise on strategic vision and to build capacity to sustain our work.

The Writer’s Block team has worked, like many others, to transition our programming from in-person, communal activities to a rewarding virtual environment, and the success that we have achieved has been largely thanks to the commitment, creativity, and leadership of our students, who embraced this world of online creation, while continuing to share their artistry and ideas in a time when recent social and political upheaval highlights the importance of them sharing their voices with our local community and the world.

When sharing narrative and decision making power, all of us at Writer’s Block benefit. Maintaining that shared power through a global pandemic has offered the organization a chance to try new approaches and take risks. I’m excited to share our organization’s story, in the hopes that our longstanding model can provide lessons learned for challenging the ways things can be, as a team…









From Design Museum Magazine Issue 016