A signature event for the Writing and Communication Program, Student View once again featured outstanding student work from English 1101 and 1102, as well as various Literature, Media, and Communication courses. For the first time ever, the exhibit was hosted in the Stephen C. Hall Building, home of the Writing and Communication Program, opening with a reception on Thursday, April 14th. Another first, the event also featured two faculty development panels on Friday, April 15th. The exhibit was made possible by generous funding and support from the Writing and Communication Program and Director Dr. Rebecca E. Burnett, and the Georgia Tech Office of the Arts and Director Madison Cario. Additional support for the event was provided by Dr. Andy Frazee and Dr. Monica Miller of the WCP, Jocelyn Thomas of LMC, David Tate of Area 4 Facilities, and WCP Interns Sarah Heywood, Lilli Long, and Albert Lee. This year’s Arts Initiatives Committee, which organizes the event, included Brittain Fellows Dr. Caitlin Kelly and Dr. Michael James Griffin III as Co-Chairs, as well as Dr. Sarah Higinbotham, Dr. Anna Ioanes, Dr. Valerie B. Johnson, and Dr. Caroline Young.
Not only does Student View serve as a venue for celebrating creative and exceptional work of Georgia Tech students but also it asks us to think about what qualifies as art and when we are creating art. Many of the assignments that students are responding to in the artifacts that are featured in the exhibit are not consciously created as art; said another way, the assignments these students were responding to these projects did not task students with making art specifically but rather with making an argument (about a text, an issue, or an idea). What they created prompts us to think about the relationship between art and communication, which can be seen in the more than 30 artifacts representing the work of more than 50 students and the classes of 11 LMC faculty members. The artifacts included book art, films, podcasts, paintings and collages, photography, posters, a board game, and a poetry collection.
The panels that took place on Friday following the exhibit’s opening reception provided an opportunity for those in attendance to think about art in the classroom as well as across the Georgia Tech community. The first panel, “Integrating the Arts Across Georgia Tech,” featured Brittain Fellows Dr. Lauren Neefe and Dr. Anna Ioanes who have done large-scale collaborative projects in their classrooms. Dr. Neefe, along with her collaborators Virginia Howell, Education Curator at the Robert C. Williams Paper Museum, and Alison Valk, GT Librarian, shared their work on a project entitled “Pulp, Print, Post” in which students made and displayed broadsides for readings of Romantic poetry. Dr. Ioanes and her collaborator, Atlanta artist and GT Artist-In-Residence Mario Petrirena, shared work her students had done with collage. The takeaway? Get students thinking about their relationship to creativity. Approach people about collaborations. Make art visible. Work together.
The second panel, “The Arts in the Writing and Communication Program” focused on individual assignments Brittain Fellows Dr. Michael James Griffin III, Dr. Caroline Young, and Dr. Monica Miller have used in their classes. Dr. Griffin looks for in class activities and summative assignments that fuel creativity, and shared assignments that employ remixing, virtual museum spaces, and the pairing of texts and images in comics and posters. Dr. Caroline Young discussed what she calls a “multisensory approach to teaching Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons.” Using “composition as creative investigation,” Dr. Young demonstrated how her class uses art to help students find patterns in texts and carry out close readings. Dr. Monica Miller wrapped up the session with a presentation on how the way that maker culture informs her pedagogy. As she explained, maker culture is about finding ways to learn: about innovation through play. Thus, you are likely to see her students learning the concept of affordances by using play dough! The takeaway from this panel? Art is about creativity, problem-sovling, and innovation–and creativity, problem-solving, and innovation are critical to effective communication.
I hope you, like us, are looking forward to Student View 2017!