Harvard and Project Zero Logos

On July 1, 2023, we stepped into new roles as Co-Directors of Project Zero. Our tenure begins with enormous appreciation for the previous Directors of PZ - most recently, Daniel Wilson who so ably led our organization through periods of growth and innovation as well as the challenges of a global pandemic. PZ is at this moment a healthy and thriving organization, in no small part due to Daniel’s steady leadership.

We take the helm together with excitement, positive energy, and a good dose of humility and respect for an organization and body of impactful work that so many people have helped to build over so many years. At the same time, we recognize that there is ongoing and important work that needs our collective attention - especially with regards to examining our values, culture, practices, and priorities. It is in this spirit that we are constructing an initial vision for our tenure.

In essence, we aim to support work that preserves important aspects of PZ’s rich 55-year history while also enriching and reinvigorating our community with new people, perspectives, and ideas.

More specifically,

  1. We aim to build on and maintain powerful longstanding strands of research at PZ including work on the arts, creativity, visible thinking and learning, teaching for understanding, ethics and good work, and educating for a globalized world. Investigating how to further spread and adapt these foundational PZ ideas and frameworks is a crucial aspect of this aspiration.
  2. We aim to diversify the organization and to re-examine how we do our research and with and for whom. We hope to continue to build out PZ’s ongoing diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging efforts with the ultimate goal of integrating PZ’s existing expertise with some of the justice-oriented scholarship and practices that have been taking root at our home institution, the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and beyond. As part of this aspiration, we commit to support emerging scholars who can contribute relevant expertise, including their lived experiences.
  3. We aim to preserve PZ’s longstanding emphasis on collaborating with practitioners. In our research projects and outreach activities, PZ has consistently honored the expertise of teachers and other educators and has committed to designing resources, tools, and learning opportunities that are directly responsive to their needs. We aim to support efforts to amplify the collaborative and participatory spirit of PZ’s research and outreach activities, including partnering directly with youth.
  4. We aim to leverage our relative nimbleness as an organization to do new, cutting edge, socially relevant work. While we are housed at a university, our work is entirely reliant on grants and gifts, which means that - in order to survive - we have to do work that is timely and relevant. We are excited by the emphasis of emerging Project Zero initiatives that speak to timely topics including climate change, digital well-being, migration, and political polarization. PZ has proved over the years to be highly adaptable as a research organization, and we think it is vital that PZ continues to be responsive to the needs and challenges of the times in which we live.
  5. Coming out of the pandemic, we aim to re-energize PZ as a vibrant, globally-engaged, intellectual community that serves as a hub of research and practice. As part of this aspiration, we aim to hold space on Appian Way and beyond for thought-provoking and generative dialogue among both scholars and practitioners.

We are excited to embark on this work and look forward to being in conversation with the educators, students, collaborators, and other thought partners who inspire us and motivate us to do the work that we do.

Our best,
Liz Dawes Duraisingh & Carrie James