34 Chicago Groups Form Hive Network to Engage Kids in Innovative Learning; New Funding Supports Expansion
November 29, 2012 | Press Release | Digital Media & Learning, Technology in the Public Interest
HIVE Chicago press release
Steve Drey, Northwestern University

In an innovative partnership to help Chicago youth develop the skills and creative confidence needed to thrive in our digital economy, 34 local organizations are participating in the Chicago Hive Learning Network. This creative collaboration is set to expand as a result of $2.2 million in new support announced today by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in partnership with the Burberry Foundation, which also adds its digital expertise.  The new funding will enable the Hive to develop additional learning opportunities for Chicago teens in libraries, museums, schools, and arts venues in neighborhoods across the city. 

Organizations in the Hive work to engage youth in learning that is based on their interests and helps them develop necessary 21st century skills.  The ability to think creatively is now established as one of the most critical skills a young person can have in order to thrive in the workplace and society today and in the future. Yet, despite growing consensus around the need to cultivate the next generation of creative thinkers, formal education systems have been insufficiently focused on this challenge.  Increasingly, critical learning will take place both in and out of school, and will draw more directly on relevant and exciting content and experiences that harness the best of what digital tools, design thinking, and real world mentors have to offer. 

The Chicago Hive Learning Network is intended to demonstrate the value and support the full spectrum of learning experiences in a young person’s life, from the classroom to museums, libraries, and online communities.

Grants of $1.7 million and $500,000 from the MacArthur and Burberry foundations respectively are managed by a special fund created for Hive activities at The Chicago Community Trust.

Examples of current and future Hive Learning Network initiatives include –

  • Now is the Time, an initiative of the Chicago Public Library, Facing History and Ourselves, and Steppenwolf Theater will bring young people together for conversations, readings, theatre pieces, and exhibits focused on ending misunderstanding and violence.
  • The YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago, Free Spirit Media, Art Institute of Chicago, Yollocalli, Digital Youth Network, and YOUmedia at the Chicago Public Library are collaborating to establish a committee of youth leaders, “Hive ambassadors,” to integrate youth voice and leadership into all Hive activities, culminating in a Hive Chicago youth summit.
  • Development of the next generation of Burberry Create, a signature program of the Burberry Foundation that draws on the company’s culture of creativity, design and innovation to offer relevant and exciting learning opportunities.   
  • Led by Northwestern University, FUSE will engage youth in science, technology, engineering, and math through hands-on exploratory challenges.

“To be successful today and in the workforce of the future, young people must be prepared to learn continually, collaborate to solve ever-changing problems, and quickly understand huge amounts of information,” said MacArthur President Robert Gallucci.  “The Chicago Hive Learning Network is intended to demonstrate the value and support the full spectrum of learning experiences in a young person’s life, from the classroom to museums, libraries, and online communities.”

“As we open our flagship store on Michigan Avenue, we are delighted to announce this partnership with MacArthur and our continued commitment to investing in programs that build the creative confidence the next generation needs to flourish," said Angela Ahrendts, Burberry Chief Executive Officer and Burberry Foundation Trustee.  “As a global brand that prides itself on exhibiting creativity in every aspect of its business, the Burberry Foundation is dedicated to investing in the creative development of young people in Chicago and around the world.” 

Christopher Bailey, Burberry Chief Creative Officer and Burberry Foundation Trustee said, “The core skills that allow design, creativity, and digital expression to flourish at Burberry are the very skills young people need to succeed personally and professionally. The Burberry Foundation is committed to help inspire and equip the next generation of creative thinkers to navigate the world they are inheriting, and this partnership is a perfect example of that.”

Download a full list of the Chicago Hive Learning Network participating organizations.
Learn more about the Chicago Hive Learning Network.

About the Hive
The Hive concept was launched in New York City in 2007 as a project of the Social Science Research Council, with support from MacArthur’s digital media and learning initiative. The New York Hive is hosted by the Mozilla Foundation. The Chicago Hive Learning Network began to take shape in 2009 and is hosted by DePaul University. Other Hive locations are in development.

About the Burberry Foundation
Since 2008, the Burberry Foundation has directly and indirectly inspired well over 50,000 young people globally via investments in 20 innovative youth charities on four continents, as well as via Burberry Create, a signature program of the Burberry Foundation which seeks to use the power of Burberry, including its assets and its people, to give greater expression and form to the critical importance of creative thinking in business, life and youth development. 

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