Our research is committed to understanding and nurturing the potentials in all human beings, inclusive of race, ethnicity, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, ability, class and ethnicity. We acknowledge the pernicious presence of institutionalized racism and systemic oppression and commit ourselves to the learning and action needed to dismantle them in our workplace, work, and daily lives.

Much of our research intentionally questions historically prejudiced assumptions about the developmental capacities and experiences of children, youth, and adults. Our collaborations with practitioners and learners span cultural contexts, socio-economic settings, and communities around the globe. As researchers, we strive to actively interrogate our own positionality in our work, critically examining our beliefs, identities, subjectivity, and methods.

We strive to blend a commitment to high standards of rigor with a deep cultural humility. Our resulting work often points to new theories, practices, and systems that can address historic and structural oppression of human potentials.

We are committed to sharing our research in ways that are accessible and actionable via a range of professional development offerings that support educators in adapting Project Zero’s work to meet the core needs of their own diverse contexts. A scholarship fund provides access for those educators who work with students from historically marginalized groups or students from families with very low income.

Project Zero actively embraces and seeks diversity in its staff. The nature of our research demands our researchers bring a range of disciplines, backgrounds, viewpoints and lived experiences to the workplace. Investigating human potentials requires a research community that reflects diversity in its various dimensions – including race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, socio-economic status, culture, nationality, language, ability, age, and domain expertise. As a community of learners, we actively engage in ongoing opportunities to deepen our understanding of diversity, inclusion, equity, and belonging.

What We Are Doing

Project Zero has become more explicit in confronting issues of injustice, racism, and inequities in who we are and how we work.  In recent years, several fronts have emerged as sustained areas of focus:

  • Project design: Supporting researchers and projects to hone questions to reflect contemporary issues of injustice; develop positionality statements; critically assess methods to ensure equity and access; and create project work processes that support inclusion and belonging.
  • Researcher recruitment: Working with the Human Resources office at HGSE to revise job descriptions and expand how they are disseminated in order to reach a more diverse pool of candidates; welcoming visiting scholars and researchers from diverse contexts and backgrounds; and fundraising for BIPOC doctoral students and post-doctoral researchers at Project Zero.
  • Staff development: Providing internal funding to staff members to attend non-Harvard events and access external resources for their development; continuing to convene regular internal groups that include leaders at all levels to engage in learning about and applying topics of diversity, identities, equity, anti-racist pedagogy, inclusion, and justice in their work and lives. 
  • Creating access: Offering scholarships to educators working in historically marginalized and under-resourced communities in order to make PZ professional development opportunities more accessible. Since 2018, over 2,000 educators have received financial support from the generous support of donations and the Saul Zaentz Project Zero Professional Development Fund to engage in PZ workshops, conferences, and online courses.

We recognize that these are initial steps. Given the magnitude of the challenge of bringing about a more just world, we have much more to do to ensure that our work plays its part in explicitly addressing and dismantling systems of oppression, injustice, and racism. We acknowledge that we will not get it right every time, and that our missteps are a necessary part of our learning process. Our actions to create and sustain a strong and effective equity stance in our work, workplace, and world will evolve as our understanding deepens, and we expect to update this statement to reflect that work and learning.