In 2018, Shared_Studios collaborated with Johns Hopkins University to bring together students in Baltimore, Beirut, and Gaza through virtual-exchange “hackathons.” Students form teams through the Portal and work as one unit to solve a problem related to public health.
In partnership with Narrative 4, Shared_Studios has launched Portals in schools in Floyd County, Kentucky; Tampico, Mexico; and in the Bronx, New York. Narrative 4 uses story exchange to build empathy, shatter stereotypes, and break down barriers between young people. These Portals connect regularly with one another to expose students to young people from diverse backgrounds, and to help those students build confidence in their public speaking, communication ability, and in themselves.
Andover Public Schools brings the Inflatable_Portal to different schools within the district, allowing for students of all ages to connect to Portal sites around the world. Students develop familiarity and understanding of communities from Erbil, Iraq to Kigali, Rwanda, and engage directly with people they would never otherwise encounter.
After the earthquake in Oaxaca, Mexico, in February 2018, students at Marymount School worked with engineers and students in Mexico City to design earthquake resistant structures out of popsicle sticks. Students were able to collaborate across distance and culture and see the real-world impact of their STEM classes.
Portals connected students from Harvard Divinity School to aid workers and residents of refugee and displaced communities around the world. Participants spoke about the role and impact of distance education and how new startups led by former refugees are being used to tackle problems created by new humanitarian crises.
Portals regularly connect students and dancers at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs to performers in Kigali, Rwanda to collaborate, and explore the intersection between dance, addiction, and mental health. Alongside performance, participants discussed their own experience with dance and mental health, and probed the concept of performance as a means of therapy.