During the 2016-17 Academic Year, I participated in a pilot program for embedding artists into the first-year writing classroom. Funded by an Institute-wide GT-FIRE grant for a total of $30,000, the pilot program enabled participating instructors to collaborate on a major assignment with a visiting artist through the GT Office of the Arts.
My first-year composition course, “Afterlives of Slavery,” worked with Katherine Helen Fisher, who specializes in choreography, video art, and film production. The goal of working with an “embedded artist” is to foster creativity and critical thinking in ways that enhance student learning about multimodal communication, especially thinking and communication about humanistic perspectives related to science and technology. The embedded artist program offers opportunities for students to expand and strengthen many aspects of their communication competence, particularly relating to how science and technology influence creative and reflective processes.
Below, you’ll find student work from our collaborative video project, “Atlanta’s Afterlives.” (With gratitude to the students for their permission to share their work.) Working in groups of five, students chose a site in Atlanta that engages the course theme in some way. Students visited Bulloch Hall plantation, the Stone Mountain Confederate Memorial, Oakland Cemetery, and the Smith Family Farm at the Atlanta History Center. Using their recorded footage and found footage, the students created short video art projects that articulated a claim, raised a question, or conveyed an emotion about their Atlanta site. Liz Holdsworth conducted a video editing workshop to introduce students to the possibilities of the medium, and Fisher offered feedback on in-progress videos. Finally, Fisher’s production company, Safety Third Productions, created a short compilation video showcasing the student work.
Here’s a link to the Assignment Sheet.
“Then and Now” (Oakland Cemetery)
Then and Now: Artist’s Statement
“Rewinding History” (The Smith Family Farm)
Rewinding History: Artist’s Statement
“Distorted and Understated” (Bulloch Hall Plantation)
Distorted and Understated: Artist’s Statement
“Look Again” (The Smith Family Farm)
Look Again: Artist’s Statement
“The Silent Truth of Stone Mountain” (Stone Mountain)
The Silent Truth of Stone Mountain: Artist’s Statement