Culture Matters K-12 Residencies Program

2022-2023 Highlights

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 groundbreaking 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

2022-2023 Highlights:

In 2023, the Multidisciplinary Performance Artist, Danielle Daniels taught a Culture Matters K-12 Residency at Cityview Elementary located in the Bryn Mawr neighborhood of North Minneapolis. The school serves Pre-K to FIfth Grades students. In 2022, she conducted a residency at the Menlo Park High School located within the Eastside Neighborhood Services Program complex located in Northeast Minneapolis. Menlo Park High is one of the Minneapolis Public School’s 13 Alternative High Schools designed for students with special needs. This was our first residency in such a school. Our goal is to host our residencies free of charge in the remaining 12 such schools and other K-12 schools throughout the Twin CIties metropolitan area over the next three years.


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 wider 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.