Culture Matters K-12 Residencies Program

Our literary arts education residency program brings writers into the classroom. This innovative, culturally responsive program has supported the academic engagement of nearly 15,000 Twin Cities’ students, by using African American literature as a springboard for teaching reading and writing.

Our ground breaking literary arts education residencies bring Black artists and writers into Twin Cities Metro classrooms to use Black literature as a vehicle for cultivating literary minds by introducing school partners to culturally responsive arts-based approaches to classroom instruction, teacher training, curriculum development, family and community engagement.

Is your school interested in working with Givens literary teaching artists? Please contact us at with your request.

"A culturally responsive approach involves teachers using their students' culture as an important source of the students' education."
– Dr. Alfred Tatum, Assistant Professor in the Department of Literacy Education at Northern Illinois University and author of Teaching Reading to Black Adolescent Males

2018-2019 Highlight:

Most recently, the Multidisciplinary Performance Artist, Beverly Cottman taught at Peter Hobart Elementary School in St. Louis Park and the Literary Artist, Danielle Daniels taught at Sonnesyn Elementary school in New Hope; over 300 students were served during the ten week K-12 Residency program.


1.      Black Teaching Writers/Artists: Modeling culturally responsive instructional methods for teachers and diversifying the instructional experience of students.

2.     Innovative Classroom Instruction Methods: Using literary arts such as storytelling, creative writing, spoken word, hip-hop, fiction, poetry, memoir, and journalism.

3.     Inclusive Curricula: Increasing access to classic and contemporary Black literature.

4.     Family and Community Engagement: Creating student-centered educational products and performances that serve as a platform for family and community involvement and support.


According to researcher Geneva Gay (2000), culturally responsive teaching:

  • Acknowledges students' cultural heritage as it affects their dispositions, attitudes, and approaches to learning, and recognizes that it contains content worthy to be included in the curriculum.

  • Builds meaning between students' home and schools experiences as well as between "school stuff" and the students' lived realities.

  • Uses a wide variety of instructional strategies.

  • Teaches an appreciation of the students' own cultural heritage as well as that of others.

  • Incorporates multicultural information, resources, and materials in all subjects and skills routinely taught in schools.

Literary Artist and Storyteller, Nothando Zulu, with elementary school students.

Literary Artist and Storyteller, Nothando Zulu, with elementary school students.