Barnaby Lab is a year-long study of the novel Barnaby Rudge, by Charles Dickens. The project is directed by Jacqueline Jean Barrios—a public school teacher and graduate student of literature and urbanism at UCLA—and supported by seniors of the USC NAI program who are enrolled in Ms. Barrios’s AP Literature class.
In partnership with the Dickens Project and with the help of volunteers in fields such as literary study, urban research, visual design, and the performing arts, Barnaby Lab hosts intensives, classroom swaps, field trips, and guest workshops throughout the year, creating a unique interdisciplinary learning experience based on the novel. The Lab culminates with a public festival and production, wherein students present their knowledge of the novel through a series of projects and a theatrical adaptation of the book, to be performed for their community.
As part of its collaboration with the Dickens Project, NAI’s seniors are invited to pen essays for a competition to attend the annual Dickens Universe conference, hosted at UC Santa Cruz. Essay winners earn an all-expenses paid spot at the Dickens Universe for a communal investigation of Dickens’s novel in an immersive, college-like environment.
This Dickens Universe scholarship is product of the NAI-Dickens Project collaboration, which works to energize the scholarship of literature within communities, and to address the wider implications of such work when considering the equity of, access to, and future of education in the humanities.