A Future-Oriented Democratic Revival (Volume 2, Issue 1)
A Future-Oriented Democratic Revival (Volume 2, Issue 1)
The first issue of Public: A Journal of Imagining America has issued a call for proposals and is accepting submissions for Vol.1 No.1—Linked Fates & Futures: Communities & Campuses as Equitable Partners?—now through February 15, 2013.
More details can be found here.
The first issue of Public is rooted in the 2012 Imagining America conference, an occasion to reflect critically on the shared predicaments of democratically-oriented cultural work in higher education and cultural and community-based organizations; to articulate languages and practices of public scholarship and creative practice; and to develop and strengthen cross-sectoral networks committed to moving such work forward. What makes for effective and sustainable partnerships between higher education and cultural and community organizations? Who is involved in teaching, learning, and curriculum design? Where and for whom are programs designed, and what is their long-term impact? How might resources be pooled and shared more effectively? How might scholarly research and investigative capacities be channeled to respond to the needs of community organizations and independent artists and scholars, and reciprocally, how might community-based expertise be integrated more deliberately in colleges and universities? We welcome ideas and experiences integrating the arts, humanities, and design drawn from academic, cultural, and community contexts.
Public is the e-journal of Imagining American: Artists and Scholars in Public Life. It promotes public and engaged forms of scholarship and practice across arts, humanities, and design, including texts, literature, video, photography, performance, sound, historical representation, and interactive media. It focuses on ways that such expressions are integrated with other forms of knowledge to animate and deepen engagement with civic life. The journal encourages public discussion and resource sharing through innovative uses of online and new media, including an interactive interface in addition to a growing archive. We are committed to interdisciplinarity and multi-vocality – that is, a focus on cross-sector contexts such as the arts in economic development, humanities and social justice, design and environmental stewardship, and the presentation of more than one perspective on subjects and projects.
By Gregg Gregg Kaufman, ADP Campus Coordinator and Instructor in Dept. of Government & Sociology, Georgia College
Georgia College, like many universities, offers a variety of engaged learning opportunities. The 2012 Engaged Learning Quilt project served to visually “stitch together” endeavors that reflect student and professors’ applied scholarship in community settings. The three, four-by-four foot fabric quilts hang in the new Center for Engaged Learning at Georgia College (GC) house adjacent to campus and the corresponding digital quilt provides a portal to a variety of engaged learning programs.
The Engaged Scholars Quilt reflects Georgia College Academic Affairs’ civic engagement and community-based scholarship endeavors. The digital quilt replicates three fabric quilts that hang in the new center for Engaged Learning at Georgia College. Many people contributed to the quilt project including Autumn Day, Senior Art Major, Professor Michael Murphy, Art Deparment, Mark Misinco, GC Web Site Department and last, but not least, Terri Taylor, the incredibly gifted quilter who created the fabric quilts.
You can view the digital quilt here. Hover over the various quilt panels to learn more about the organization or initiative or click a patch to visit its website.
The quilt not only represents particular GC American Democracy Project work but partnerships and alliances with academic affairs initiatives across the campus, including:
By Cecilia M. Orphan, National Manager, American Democracy Project
Many of you will remember documentary filmmaker Claire Andrade-Watkins who was a Featured Speaker at last year’s American Democracy Project National Meeting in Providence. Claire’s documentary “Some Kind of Funny Porto Rican?”: A Cape Verdean American Story is the popular and critically acclaimed depiction of the Cape Verdeans in Fox Point, Providence and the first in a trilogy of documentaries about the Cape Verdean community. The documentary first aired on WSBE in May and July 2010. Those who participated in Claire’s session at the ADP Meeting found her documentary to be both thought provoking and inspiring. Please see below for a description of Claire’s talk.
Lessons Learned from Displacement: The Role of Documentary and “First Voice” Narrative in Rebuilding and Reconstituting a Community
The discussion focuses on communities displaced by urban renewal and gentrification. The presentation includes documentary clips, and begins with “Hi, Neighbor,” an imagined conversation between a little Cape Verdean girl and John N. Brown who were neighbors in the Fox Point section of Providence, Rhode Island. Told over photographs of her neighborhood, home and family, she wonders why John N. Brown still had his house and she didn’t.
Claire’s documentary brings much needed attention to this often forgotten group of people. This story is about the tragedy and scandal of urban renewal and gentrification that displaced generations of immigrants from the Cape Verde islands from their community in the Fox Point section of Providence, Rhode Island. Some Kind of Funny Porto Rican chronicles the history of the community up to the point of the destruction and displacement caused by urban renewal. Since the 2006 world premiere of SKFPR at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MA, the documentary has enjoyed a remarkable journey connecting audiences around the globe with the universal themes of immigration and displacement.
As part of her work with the documentary, she has launched an online fundraising initiative for completion funds for Atlantic Portals. A Kickstarter project was launched on Monday, March 21 to raise the post-production funds to complete ATLANTIC PORTALS. Kickstarter a new online fundraising tool for artists that directs people to the project page where donations can be made to the project. The goal of this fundraising initiative is to complete ATLANTIC PORTALS in time for the fall 2011 RI PBS/WSBE TV 36 line up and the October 2011 Cape Verde/world premiere at the Cape Verde International Film Festival on the island of Sal, Cape Verde.
To make a donation to the Cape Verdean project, please visit this website. All contributions through Kickstarter go to the 501c3 fiscal agent for ATLANTIC PORTALS and are tax-deductible. This is a 45-day campaign so please consider making a donation today!
If Claire’s work inspires you, I hope you will consider making a donation. I also encourage many of you to consider showing her documentary to students on campus. It can be used to frame a discussion about social justice, gentrification, and the importance of honoring diversity in a democracy.
Please see below for additional information about Claire and her inspiring work.
By Claire Andrade-Watkins, President, SPIA Media Productions, Inc.
We are excited to bring the project for these documentaries to this level: one broadcast, one in the can and ready for post-production and the third coming close behind with the successful completion of Atlantic Portals.
This journey from “Some Kind of Funny Porto Rican?” to this point has been almost ten years, and I want to thank the dedicated group of friends, colleagues, supporters who have been there since day one, and to my wonderful friends/media professionals (editors, graphics, web, post-production, sound design) from across the country who have been working together on the series since the beginning-largely on a volunteer basis or at a dramatically reduced fee as well as generously pulling in their extended network of friends and colleagues. We are at this moment today because of you all.
P.S. the KICKSTARTER goal MUST be reached within 45 days!! Make your donation today!
For more information about Some Kind of Funny Porto Ricans, please visit this website.
By Chad M. Kahl, Illinois State University
Milner Library hosted the Thoughts on Democracy: Reinterpreting Norman Rockwell’s Four Freedoms Posters Exhibit from February 12 to May 7, 2010. The exhibit consists of over eighty graphic works created by contemporary artists and designers that responded to The Wolfsonian’s invitation to express ideals at the core of American democracy. Each artist was asked to consider Norman Rockwell’s visually moving paintings from 1943 that conveyed the meaning of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “Four Freedoms” speech to Congress and the American people – Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want and Freedom from Fear.
This exhibit was organized and made possible by The Wolfsonian-Florida International University, Miami Beach, Florida. It is sponsored by Funding Arts Network in partnership with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; American Express; Continental Airlines; and The Miami Herald. The exhibit received funding from Illinois State University’s American Democracy Project and The Friends of Milner Library.
The Exhibit co-coordinators, Chad Kahl and Dr. Janet Paterson, were inspired to bring it to campus after they viewed a selection of the Thoughts on Democracy posters at last year’s American Democracy Project National Meeting in Baltimore, MD.
An opening reception featured the entire exhibit, as well as forties-era food and drink.
The Exhibit also featured three speakers:
Dr. Robert C. Bradley
“The Impact of Fear on Contemporary Political Dialogue”
February 18, 2010
Dr. Ross Kennedy
“A Manifesto of Power and Ideals: FDR’S Four Freedoms Speech in Historical Perspective”
March 3, 2010
Dr. Melissa Johnson
“Norman Rockwell: The Life and Reception of the Four Freedoms, 1943-2010: Making Sense of the Times April 6, 2010″
The exhibit also attracted the attention of teachers at the Jefferson Park Elementary School, in the El Paso-Gridley School District. Third grade students had recently written essays on two of their favorite Four Freedoms. These essays were reviewed by cadets in ISU’s ROTC Redbird Battalion as part of the “Cadets Helping Kids” program. The project has been coordinated by Mrs. Mary Sadoun, CDT Sean Thomas, and Mrs. JoAnn Briggs. You can read more about it in articles from the Vidette and The Pantagraph.
This is the second story in a two-part feature about an innovative theater arts program taking place at the University of Minnesota, Duluth (UMD). Please visit this link to read the first story.
By William E. Payne, University of Minnesota, Duluth
The masked storytelling project involving the University of Minnesota Duluth and the Grant/Nettleton Elementary Schools completed its work with a post-project reflection session. The UMD faculty, students, and community partners involved with the project gathered during finals week to evaluate what worked, what didn’t work, and to strategize for next year.
Shane Johnson, Family Liaison of Grant Community School, was very positive about the achieved outcomes of the project;
From my perspective, the outcomes for the children were experiencing and creating a story about social justice with college students. The larger outcome is that our children formed a relationship with a person in college – someone besides their teacher or someone directly from the school. Many of our children do not know such people and it is a real life opportunity to work with the college students. I would not want to change our focus on stories about social justice and using mask theater to express those stories.
Shane goes on to suggest how the project could be improved in the future;
I wonder if your students would be willing to teach our students some of the techniques of masked theater. Maybe our children could perform with your students. Something to think about…
This is a great idea. After experiencing the project this year, it became clear to me that the actors needed to spend more time earlier in the semester with the elementary school children. I plan to add a 4-6 hour service-learning requirement during the first half of the semester, most of which will take place before our first performance for the children.
I also want to build the relationship between the young person writing the story and the college student adapting that story into a scenario for performance. I am also hopeful that we can host the Grant/Nettleton students on the UMD campus for a mask workshop.
The potential and value for a creative, project-based relationship between these elementary school students and the UMD college students was a surprise to me. Having experienced it, and heard Shane Johnson speak about the impact it had on her students, it makes sense. I also see the value this relationship has for my students. Senior BFA Acting student Emily Crom wrote in her journal:
I didn’t realize how important what we were doing was to these kids. It was amazing to introduce an art form to these kids and I loved the stories they wrote. Imagination is so important, and keeping it alive for these children was a very rewarding experience.
All of the actors in the Masks class are asked to reflect on their experiences with the elementary schools through a journal. One of the last questions I posed to them was “In what ways has this process changed the way you see your role in a community? The role of the artist in primary education?” Here is the answer of Junior Kaio Kealahapauole;
It has shown me that I have a role in the community and primary education. It has also shown me how important the imagination is in the lives of children and our own. It has shown me that I can have a positive effect if I so choose-that I have the power to inspire and that the smallest child could have an equal if not greater effect on me. I truly hope that there are more theatre programs out there working with kids to help them expand their imagination through reading, writing, and performing. I hope UMD is not the only one.
Brenda Butterfield, Associate Professor of Psychology for the Group Dynamics, course writes:
The line between theater and psychology is blurred at best and more often altogether nonexistent – it seemed like a natural connection waiting to happen. The theater students would explore and develop skills in improvised performance while the psychology students would have the opportunity to work as a group by helping children write stories about bullying and other social issues based on the personal experiences of the children. The learning objectives for the psychology students focused on applying the knowledge learned about group dynamics in the course to create an effective group experience and accomplish their goals. Once the goal was accomplished, the psychology students and the children were to hand the stories off to the theater students who would then perform the stories at a school wide performance. The thirteen stories created were focused on the theme of social justice/bullying, were unique in voice and style, and were very entertaining.
While both Bill and I have ample experience collaborating with community partners to make effective service-learning experiences happen, it was our first time collaborating across departments and colleges within our institution. While anticipated issues arose none were too big to overcome.
The themes of collaboration and service-learning were strong enough to overcome many of the barriers both within the institution and between the institution and the community. It was an exciting first time venture that met the objectives for undergraduate students, school children, community program staff and instructors as well. It also proved to be a project ripe with promise for future endeavors.
Anyone interested in more details about the project, or other ways to modify it for your theatre/psychology/elementary school programs, please feel free to email us.
“Degrees of Difficulty. Does Finishing College Have to Be So Hard?”
NEW HAVEN – A police officer, a single mother who waitresses 35 hours a week, an aspiring aviation mechanic, a sales assistant, and an Iraq war veteran. All have one thing in common: they are struggling to complete college. And there are millions like them. Policy makers want more college students to graduate; but fewer than half end up getting a degree. Students tell the truth about the steep challenges they face in the revealing documentary series, “Degrees of Difficulty.”
The seven-part video series begins Monday, May 24th at students2.usatoday.com. The videos will be available on USATODAY.com and on select sites in the Gannett Co., Inc. online network. Purple States TV produced the series in collaboration with DCTV and the Seattle-based social marketing firm Banyan Branch, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Three trailers for the series – “Fighting for a Degree,” “Working for a Degree,” and “Parents as Students” – are showing now at students2.usatoday.com. The trailers feature the five students from the series, and include clips from auditions by other nontraditional students facing similar challenges. Video and audio clips are available to the media, and the students are available for interviews. An online chat with the featured students will take place at USATODAY.com on Wednesday, May 26th.
As the series shows, most college students do not fit the traditional image: going straight to college from high school, living in a dorm, and graduating with a four-year degree four years later. The ‘nontraditional’ student is the new normal. For 75% of today’s students, the path through college is anything but a straight line.
The five students featured in the documentary series were chosen from almost 200 who responded to a casting call in February. Eager to be heard, they posted their personal stories online; 78 uploaded audition videos. An online vote selected one cast member. The other eight finalists were chosen by the producers, and were given a video camera to film their own stories.
Five of the nine finalists were selected to make the trip to Washington, where they were filmed as they took their stories and concerns to policymakers. These five earned $500 and are featured in the series: Dennis Medina, a Boston police officer and a student at Bunker Hill Community College; Brandon Krapf, an Iraq war veteran now at American University and in the US Army Reserves; Charneé Ball, a US Navy veteran at Valencia Community College in Orlando; Shane Burrows, who works full-time while attending Sierra Community College in California and Kathryn McCormick, a single parent, also enrolled at Valencia Community College.
These nontraditional students were absorbed in juggling responsibilities 24/7 when they heard about the opportunity to share their stories. As the five powerful portraits reveal, each student faces seemingly insurmountable barriers to getting a degree:
In their self-filmed stories, the students reveal how they manage to (in Dennis words) “juggle and struggle” to keep their dreams alive. Telling their stories in person to a Washington policymaker – and to each other! – gives each of the students a glimpse of what the future may hold, for themselves and students like them.
Leaders of both parties say they are committed to increasing the number of US college graduates. As the Obama administration begins to implement direct student lending and other college support legislation that passed with health care reform, “Degrees of Difficulty” brings to life the real-world struggles and hopes of nontraditional students, and asks: “does it have to be so hard?”
Purple States® (www.purplestates.tv) is a media company that distills and dramatizes what’s at stake for the public in policy decisions. Using both professionally filmed and self-filmed video, Purple States tells the story of diverse groups of ordinary citizens who bring their own personal experiences to their front-line coverage of politics and policymaking.
Banyan Branch (BanyanBranch.com) is a new media marketing consulting group based in Seattle, WA. The cofounders Alex Garcia and Dave Hanley have been pioneering new media strategies since the late 1990s. Their diverse experiences have brought the new media touch to a wide variety of industries including entertainment, high tech, and nonproﬁt sectors.
DCTV, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit media arts organization, believes that expanding public access to the electronic media arts invigorates our nation’s democracy. DCTV pursues its mission through hundreds of free or low-cost production courses, access to broadcast-quality production equipment, and creation and presentation of exceptional documentary and non-fiction films.
Kodak is proud to support this series and Purple States’ Take America to College project with the donation of Zi8 Pocket Video Cameras used by the student team to capture and share their personal stories.
USA TODAY was founded in 1982 with a mission to serve as a forum for better understanding and unity to help make the USA truly one nation. Through its flagship newspaper and popular Web site, USA TODAY engages the national conversation and connects readers online through social media applications. USA TODAY, the nation’s number one newspaper in print circulation with a total average daily print circulation of more than 1.8 million, and USATODAY.com, an award-winning newspaper Web site which launched in 1995, reach a combined 6.1 million readers daily. The USA TODAY news and information brand also includes: USA TODAY Education, USA TODAY Mobile, and USA TODAY Sports Weekly. USA TODAY is owned by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI).
Purple States TV
“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” –Henry David Thoreau
By Chelsee Bente, Edited by Cecilia Orphan
In 1955 Our Lady Sorrows, a Catholic run nursing home located in East Jerusalem, was built to primarily serve Palestinians of all faiths. In this home, a staff of 18 cares for 50 poor and disabled elders and provides them with the bare necessities at their advanced age. Almost fifty years following it’s opening, a security barrier was erected to separate Israel from Palestine along the West Bank and Our Lady Sorrows happened to be located on the Israeli side of the border. Due to the proximity of the wall Our Lady Sorrows lies within a military zone disrupting the livelihoods of the staff and residents of the home. This Way Up directed by Georgi Lazarevski, a Point of View Documentary showcases the division as the nursing home lies on one side of the wall and the residents and staff’s family, homes and loved ones reside on the other side.
The intention of constructing the 420-foot wall in 2002 was to prevent suicide bombers from entering into Israel. The effects it has had on the nursing home is something we saw in a previous century with the Berlin Wall that prevents free travel from one side to another. For the residents this disrupts their livelihoods, as their Palestinian relatives are unable to visit them without severe risk. For example, one resident that is showcased in the documentary feels guilt because she is anxious to see her only son, yet fears the risk of him being caught by Israeli soldiers when crossing the wall. The staff also has no choice but to sneak over portions of the uncompleted wall to care for their residents.
For most, individuals would ideally want to spend the remaining years of their life in peace and surrounded by loved ones. And for these residents who are stuck in the middle of an unending conflict, it is near impossible to secure these enjoyments.
This Way Up premiered August 25, 2009.
To view the trailer, TV schedule, reading list, discussion guide and more go to: http://www.pbs.org/pov/thiswayup/.