Join us June 25-27, 2021 for Blue Planet’s 4th Summer Global Education Institute

A Cabinet of Curiosities

Global Education, Material Culture, and the Arts

This year’s Summer Institute, to be held at the historic Armory Art Center in West Palm Beach, Florida, builds on the successful Art-i-Facts Multicultural Digital Museum project that enthusiastic global educators are leading this Spring. Elementary, middle, and high school teachers from Palm Beach County, Florida are partnered with teachers from nine other countries, and together, they’re guiding their students in the creation of unique exhibits for a brand-new digital museum.

The museum will be filled with cultural artifacts from each country–the material culture of the places our teachers and students live. All the artifacts will tell a story–or several stories–about the lives of the students who live there.

During the Summer Institute, you’ll learn more about material culture and how to make it a part of an exciting international collaboration. You’ll take part in hands-on workshops and take home the resources that will let you replicate those experiences with your own students. You’ll hear engaging theme talks on integrating the arts and mythologies into global education.

You’ll also get to walk through a real-life version of the digital Art-i-Facts exhibits. And you’ll be able to meet and learn with other globally minded educators, both in person and on-screen from other parts of the world.

Where: Armory Art Center, 811 Park Place, West Palm Beach, Florida 33401

When: Friday, June 25, 5-8 pm; Saturday, June 26, 10 am – 4 pm; Sunday, June 27, 10 am – 4 pm

Tuition: $149 includes all sessions, materials, and take-home resources, plus wine-and-cheese reception on Friday and continental breakfast on Saturday and Sunday


Please Note: At this early date, we’re continuing to bring on board presenters who will delight you with hands-on workshops and inspiring theme talks. Check back often for additions to the Institute program!


The 2021 Summer Institute is made possible through the generosity of the Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation and the Armory Art Center.



Institute Schedule

Friday, June 25

3:00-4:30 Art-i-Facts Teacher Session

Pre-institute session only for new and continuing teachers in the Art-i-Facts Digital Museum initiative. We’ll review the Art-i-Facts curriculum and you’ll receive hard copies of your new planner, curriculum guide, and other materials that will make your Fall 2021 collaborations simple and excellent!

5:00 pm Check-in, Welcome Reception

Join your fellow global educators for wine and snacks to kick off an incredible weekend.

Introduction to the Weekend:

Dr. Susan Gay Wemette and Cora Bresciano, Co-Executive Directors, Blue Planet Global Education

6:00-8:00  Creativity Workshop: “Your Own Cabinet of Curiosities”

Cora Bresciano, Dr. Susan Gay Wemette, Blue Planet Global Education

In centuries past, collectors and explorers often housed a lifetime of finds and wonders in a unique cabinet of curiosities. Every object represented a journey, a discovery, an adventure. Every artifact told a story, filled with peril and exhilaration.

In this personal creativity workshop, you’ll use the concept of the cabinet of curiosities to explore your own life and experiences. Through reflection and art-making, you’ll begin to curate your own cabinet as you gain clarity on what brings you joy, purpose, and fulfillment.


Saturday, June 26

10:00 am Check-in and Continental Breakfast

Grab a bagel and get ready for a day of inspiration and education!

10:30-11:00 Theme Talk: Material Culture

Dr. Sandra Norman, Florida Atlantic University

11:00-11:30 Panel Discussion: “Getting International in the International Baccalaureate”

Ashley Monastra, G-Star School of the Arts, Palm Springs, Florida, USA

Marwa Elqabany, Kafr El Gemal Official Language School, Egypt

American teachers in International Baccalaureate (IB) programs and their international partners share their experiences and best practices in creating successful–and fun!–global collaborations.

11:30-11:40 Break

11:40-1:00 Workshop: “Art-i-Facts as Identity: How What We Have Reflects Who We Are”

Dr. Susan Gay Wemette, Blue Planet Global Education

How do personal objects reflect who we are? When you signed up for the Institute, we asked you to bring three small objects that are reflective of your identity. In this workshop, we’ll use them as an experiment in material culture.

1:00-2:00 Lunch on Your Own

Bring your lunch and enjoy it indoors or outside in the tented courtyard. Or treat yourself to one of the many nearby restaurants; we’ve provided a list at the end of this program. As you finish eating, feel free to stroll through the Armory galleries and enjoy the art they offer.

2:00-3:30 Art Workshops

We’re planning two fun and fascinating workshops for you, filled with activities you can use as you lead your students through your next international collaboration! You’ll work with one artist today and the other tomorrow.

3:30-3:40 Break

3:40-4:10 Theme Talk: “Breadcrumbs of Culture: Myths as Cultural Artifacts”

Cora Bresciano, Blue Planet Global Education

To understand—and to try and change—the world around us, we humans have always made up fantastical stories, otherwise known as myths. Though many are extremely old, these myths continue to spring up in novels, movies, art, and pop culture, all over the world. Why is that? What can our mythologies teach others about our culture? How can we use them in a global education project? And what can they teach us about our common humanity and our place in this awesome, confusing world?

4:10-4:30 Reflection and Closing

Learn creative ways to look back on your day and extract meaning and significance from your experiences–then take those creative exercises away with you, to use with your own students.

Sunday, June 27

10:00 am Welcome and Check-in

Have a bite to eat and get excited for another day of learning, inspiration, and creativity.

10:30-11:00 Theme Talk: Digital Museums

Dr. Candace Cunningham, Florida Atlantic University

11:00-11:30 Theme Talk: “Developing Student Creativity Through Virtual International Collaborations”

Dr. Susan Wemette, Blue Planet Global Education

11:30-1:00 Art Workshops

Today we’ll switch: you’ll get to enjoy whichever workshop you didn’t take yesterday. Have fun and be creative while gathering tips for incorporating art into a global project.

1:00-2:00 Lunch on Your Own

Once again, enjoy your lunch indoors or out, or dine at a nearby eatery.

2:00-3:30 Workshop: “Curiosities Still to Come: Revisiting Your Cabinet and Crafting Your Future”

Dr. Susan Gay Wemette and Cora Bresciano, Blue Planet Global Education

In this follow-up to Friday’s cabinet-of-curiosities workshop, you’ll expand upon the artifacts and experiences you curated in order to chart a course toward the adventures of your future.

3:30-4:00 Reflection and Closing

Get meta again with a creative reflection that you can transfer to your own classroom. Look back on what you’ve learned this weekend and look forward to bringing the benefits–and fun!–of global education to your students in the fall.


Cora Bresciano

Cora is the co-founder and co-executive director of Blue Planet Global Education. Recently, she also spent two years as a Visiting Instructor in Florida Atlantic University’s English Department, teaching myth and magical realism in fiction along with creative writing and first-year writing. She speaks on her work in the US and abroad, most recently in Lisbon, Portugal at the Modern Language Association International Symposium. Cora is currently completing her PhD in Comparative Studies at FAU, where her research focuses on the agency of myth and absence in the politics and literature of Spain’s 20th and 21st centuries. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from FAU, where she received the Frank and Courtney Brogan Award in Fiction, and a BS in Music Education from Hofstra University in New York. She is a citizen of both the US and the EU, making her home in South Florida with a breathtaking view of the sunset and a thousand books.

Dr. Candace Cunningham

Candace is an Assistant Professor in the History Department of Florida Atlantic University. Previously, she was a visiting assistant professor at Stetson University, where she taught public history courses and worked with local organizations to create digital humanities projects using undergraduate research. Before that, she taught in the University of South Carolina’s (USC) Opportunity Scholars Program. USC is also where she earned her M.A. and Ph.D., won the Robert H. Wienefeld Essay Prize, and was a Fellow in the Grace Jordan McFadden Professors Program. She is passionate about community collaborations and has worked on several public history projects including Columbia SC 63, the USC Center for Civil Rights History and Research, and Historic Columbia. Her research is on the 20th century African American experience with a special emphasis on civil rights, education, gender, and the South. She has presented her research at numerous conferences, including the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, the History of Education Society, and Southern Labor Studies. She is currently working on a manuscript about African American teachers who were in the long civil rights movement.

Ashley Monastra

Ashley is a teacher of Digital Animation and International Baccalaureate (IB) Visual Art at GStar School of the Arts for Film, Animation, and Performing Arts in Palm Beach County. A graduate of Ringling College of Art and Design, she has also worked as a 3D animator in the fields of feature film, public television, and advertising. In addition, in past semesters Ashley has lent her talents as a teaching artist to Blue Planet, connecting Florida students with their peers around the world in creative art-based collaborations.

Dr. Sandra Norman

Sandy teaches in the History Department at Florida Atlantic University. Her Ph.D. in American Civilization is from Brown University, where her major field was history of science and technology and her secondary fields were material culture and museum studies. She has worked in museums in England and the United States, and she helped design the museum on Spanish Wells, in the Bahamas, for the country’s Quincentennial. She regularly teaches classes in Material Culture Studies, Public History, the History of Science, and the History of Technology. Through her company Research Atlantica, she has worked with museums and communities throughout South Florida.

Dr. Susan Gay Wemette

Susan is the co-founder and co-executive director of Blue Planet Global Education. She is an arts educator with twenty-five years’ experience in theater, arts integration, and global education. She holds a BFA in theater, an MFA in Acting, and a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction (focus on arts education). Susan has taught as an adjunct faculty member at Lynn University and Florida Atlantic University. From 2002-2009, she served as the director of education for a regional theater company, where she created collaborative drama and writing programs with students in South Florida and their peers in Rwanda, South Africa, and Kosovo. She also created drama and writing programs for the young women at the Transitions Home for Teen Mothers, residents of The Lord’s Place Homeless Shelter, and children with severe disabilities at Royal Palm School. Susan served as the Arts Integration Project Manager (2012-2014) for the School District of Palm Beach County’s $1.2 million Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination (AEMDD) grant from the U.S. Department of Education, which focused on enhancing student achievement through arts integration, supporting teachers with high-quality professional development in order to sustain their integrated practice, and developing a model that can be replicated in other school districts.

As a program evaluator, she has consulted with the Palm Beach County Cultural Council, Arts4Learning/Miami, The Crossroads Institute of New Orleans, The Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, The Center for Creative Education, FAU University Galleries, and Theatre Lab at Florida Atlantic University. Susan also served as consulting investigator on the School District of Palm Beach County’s AEMDD federal arts integration grant (2014-2019).