Picturing Peace Exhibit

Picturing Peace Exhibit

The Picturing Peace Project will be exhibited at KidsPlay Children's Museum from December 13, 2019 to January 31, 2020 

The exhibition features photos and texts by fifth-grade children from Belfast, Northern Ireland, Southern California, and Waterbury CT depicting their concept of Peace.

The History and Goals of the Picturing Peace Project:

Picturing Peace is an arts program that has been conducted in 21 elementary school classrooms in the U.S. and Northern Ireland. Our goal is the development of peace-loving students and emerging peace-building citizens. While conceived in the School of the Arts at the University of California, Irvine as a healing response to 9/11, the program has evolved into a community-oriented and intensive vocabulary and visual pedagogic approach. From its inception, Picturing Peace has used the family of synonyms associated with peace, such as unity, harmony, and care to focus students’ attention on photography of the concept in a variety of social and physical settings. Primary school children proved to be the most engaged emotionally in the program, old enough to recognize the importance of peace in getting along with peers and young enough to embrace turning thoughts into pictures.

In 2003, Picturing Peace was invited to Northern Ireland to assist in community building after the Good Friday Accord. The photographs produced by 4th grade children and exhibited with the support of the Lord Mayor in Belfast City Hall were viewed and celebrated by Catholic and Protestant families who spoke and interacted together, many for the first time.

From 2005-2010, the program was implemented in Wisconsin primary school classrooms. As our pedagogy and research evolved it became apparent that the students were capable of making sophisticated conceptual leaps from words to pictures. Recent research in vocabulary learning has emphasized the use of families of words such as peace synonyms and the benefits in reading comprehension to students when text and illustrations are integrated.

Picturing Peace has now happily arrived at KidsPlay. As you view the photographs, please notice how children translate words into pictures and how they express the feelings and values associated with peace as moral ideas. Their pictures suggest how people should act if they are to keep the peace. While pictures are said to be worth a thousand words, consider also that these young photographers visualize the same peace words in many different ways.


Robert J. Beck received his Ph. D. from the Committee on Human Development, University of Chicago (1965). He has held appointments as Visiting Professor, School of Geography, Clark University, Professeur Agrégé, Université de Montréal, École d’Architecture, Principal Investigator in a study of youth music ensembles at the School of Music, Yale University, and is Professor Emeritus in the School of Education and the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology at the University of California, Irvine. He has published a book, several book chapters and 30 articles in environmental and educational psychology. Selected publications can be found at www.lawrence.edu/fast/beckr/. Beck’s research focus concerns the use of educational dialogue in multiple settings: mother-child; peer-to-peer; university tutorials; and electronic and face-to-face discussions in a liberal arts college “Great Books” program. He researched the effects of singing on the immune system in adult and college choral groups. He is the recipient of two Preparing Tomorrow's Teachers to Use Technology (PT3) grants studying computer-supported collaborative learning in pre-service teachers. From 2001-2019 he and his wife Dr. Jill Beck have conducted Picturing Peace, a literacy and photography-based socio-emotional educational program for developing peaceful classrooms in the U.S. and Northern Ireland.

Jill Beck, Ph.D. is President Emerita of Lawrence University, where she served as president from 2004-2013. A native of Worcester, Massachusetts, she received her B.A. in philosophy from Clark University, M.A. in history and music from McGill University, and Ph.D. in theatre from the City University of New York. A recognized authority on arts education, she was a scholar and a practitioner of dance and choreography and has written extensively in the fields of dance history, theory, repertory, and technique and has directed ballet and modern dance repertory internationally. After serving on the faculties of the City College of the City University of New York (1978-1993) and The Juilliard School (1985-1995), she became dean of the School of the Arts at the University of California, Irvine (1995 to 2003), where she was the driving force behind the establishment of two innovative programs for furthering the impact of the arts - the Center for Learning Through the Arts, an interdisciplinary center for research focused on learning across disciplines, and ArtsBridge America. She continues to be active in professional organizations and is co-author of the article, “The Banyan Tree Spirits: Using Photography to Commune with the Natural World,” in the International Journal of Religion and Spirituality. She is a recipient of the Disney Corporation's Jack Linquist Award for Innovation, given in recognition of ArtsBridge America's creative approach to social problems; the American Red Cross Association's Clara Barton Award for humanitarian service in the arts; and the University of California, Irvine, Medal, the university's highest honor, for "visionary leadership in building community." Dr. Beck is married to Robert J. Beck, Ph.D., professor emeritus of education at UCI, where he taught research and evaluation methods in the university's doctoral program in education. 


Payment Types Accepted - Cash, Check, and all major credit cards

Languages at KidsPlay - English, Spanish and Sign Language

KidsPlay Children's Museum, Inc. is a 501(C) (3) not-for-profit organization


Important Announcement!

In support of social-distancing, the Museum is closed until April 1.

Please check our social media and website for updates and for ideas for fun hands-on playful learning activities at home.