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Continuing Education at PAFA

Pre-College: The Art of Surviving the Apocalypse: Imagining Diverse Futures

with Li Sumpter


The apocalypse is not just an end, but the beginning of something new. This course will explore apocalypse myths of birth, death and rebirth that imagine different futures and new realities. Focusing on the visions of the future shaped by the African Diaspora, we will explore mythic and media landscapes of the black imagination with Dr. Li Sumpter.

How does media culture inform our perspective on the world and shape reality? Can art really imitate life? This 5-week course for teens covers key concepts of world building and contemporary myth-making known to black culture across the African Diaspora. Students will examine connections between speculative fiction and historic headlines revealing patterns of apocalypse that permeate the black experience and all of human existence. Assignments focus on visual and media literacy, testing students’ ability to recognize and re-imagine archetypes and aesthetics of afrofuturism and apocalypse for their own story worlds. Course assignments/projects include: weekly media diary/dream journal, character cards (like tarot cards), and a short story.


Students may take this course in combination with “The Art of Surviving the Apocalypse: Contemporary Myths + New Media” to earn 1.0 college credit, or this course can stand alone as a no-credit course.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the key building blocks of mythmaking and story design
  • Identify the major archetypes and defining aesthetics of apocalypse in classic film and contemporary media
  • Recognize various ways themes of apocalypse can be visually interpreted and expressed through different cultural perspectives and aesthetic lenses 
  • Gain a deeper understanding of the connection between reality and fiction, media stories and the mythic imagination by keeping a weekly media diary/dream journal.
  • Create your own characters and story worlds inspired by course content

Teacher Information: 

Dr. Li Sumpter is a mythologist, educator and social practice artist. She earned her Ph.D in Mythology from Pacifica, M.A. in Arts and Humanities Education from NYU, and she is currently Creative Director at MythMedia Studios. Learn more here:

Parent/Guardian must fill out Student Information & Release Form BEFORE first day of class. 


  • Session 1: Nov 10 - Dec 8th, 2020
    for 5 weeks from 4:00 - 5:30 pm

    Will run


    only 5 seats left

Online Class

For more info, call us at (215) 972-7632

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