Part of the Thesis 2 Collaborative Project, is originating a curriculum for a City Studio Press: Artists as Journalists class to be offered in Fall 2011. The course is the first of its kind in the City Studio Program. The City Studio Press: Artists as Journalists class will provide students with the basic skills to develop a critical understanding of communication, media, broadcasting and digital culture through the lens of art. Using the city of San Francisco as a studio, students will begin to contextualize the practice of journalism within a larger social and cultural framework.
A large component of the new course will be devoted to producing and reporting live streaming news programming from SOMArts Cultural Center. In preparation for our roles as instructors who are inaugurating City Studio Press, Sally Widdowson and myself (Kim Silva) are participating in a video program offered through Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC). BAVC’s public access television, SF Commons, is expanding a unique news system that will broadcast community-produced news, performances exhibitions and neighborhood events from local art and cultural centers. SOMArts, is one of three Neighborhood News Network (N3) sites, training individuals in the community as video broadcasters. The training consists of a series of workshops that is preparing us to assist in producing and reporting live broadcasts from SOMArts Cultural Center. For Sally and I in particular, this is the only formal training we receive before teaching students in fall.
In addition to BAVC training, I attended an intensive public practice practicum at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, California organized by Suzanne Lacy and Sara Daleiden. As part of a series of events offered to encourage discourse among L.A. cultural practitioners, the conference highlighted the unique position of Otis’ public practice graduate program; the only educational program in the Southern California region dedicated exclusively to providing artists with advanced skills for working in the public sphere, focusing both on collaborative and individual art production. Educational theorist Christopher Robbins served as the main presenter throughout the weekend, guiding intense conversations between artists and educators on the philosophical underpinnings of critical pedagogy in relationship to public practice in art. My participation enabled me to bring the expertise of those working in the Otis program to my Thesis 2 Collaborative Project cohort and City Studio. Among the many points discussed the following have had the strongest impact on myself, as an educational planner:
- Schools do not have the power that popular culture already does
- Kids are legitimate cultural producers. Help them recognize ways they are doing it already.
- Importance of generational articulation. It shapes the future and how others receive them
- Creation of Media Literacy Curriculum: how they experience life and how their experience is conveyed in media
The BAVC training I am receiving and my participation in the critical pedagogy conference at OTIS have provided me with the skills needed to develop the curriculum for the City Studio Press: Artists as Journalists class and in fall of this year Sally Widdowson and I will have an opportunity to put our knowledge and skills to the test with the first City Studio Press class.