Sunday, January 10, 2010

Group Community Service Project and Presentation

In the various literatures we are studying from across the world and across historical periods, we see that art has a public purpose. It is generally educational, often political, and sometimes both. If art has a complex purpose, then our study of it must include an examination of artistic motivation. During the semester, each student will form a group with three other classmates to design and carry out a service project in the community. The project should demonstrate the group’s in-depth understanding of the course material and objectives. The project’s focus must arise from the group’s shared interest in a particular theme, issue, text, or film from the course.

Subject Area: Begin with a point or idea that relates to any course reading, class assignment, or discussion that the group would like to explore in a way that was not covered in class. How does the idea or topic relate to a need in any community of which you are a member? How might you translate this interest and identified need into a form of community service through art? What motivates your choices of group formation and for crafting your particular project? How will your project use art and education to achieve its purpose?

Format: Your project may assume one of two forms: (1) design and carry out an original project, or (2) engage with an organized service program either at JMU or in Harrisonburg or Rockingham County. Consider: Does a service option exist in the JMU or surrounding community? (See the service links on this blog for some examples.) If a service does not exist to meet the need you identify, then what service could you design to do so? Because you are free to design your own project, your choice of available project formats is nearly limitless.

Project Purpose: The project is designed to help students to better understand the artists and the art that we have studied by considering these questions: What social conditions motivate these artists to create works to benefit the community? How do they choose their subjects, media, and audiences? How do these artists define “art”? How might the creative lessons you learn from the artists we study—artists whose creations benefit the community—inform your own community involvement?

Timing: All groups must submit a project proposal (see above), and projects must receive my approval to proceed. I am happy to consult during and beyond the proposal stage with groups on both original and university/community-sponsored projects. Please consult with me if you have any doubts or questions regarding an appropriate project topic, scope, or approach. After submission of and approval of a project proposal, the group will complete the project during the semester. The group will make a presentation to the class at the end of the semester in which you will describe (and, if applicable, display) your project. The presentation will outline the project’s goals, methodology, outcome, and lessons learned.

Evaluation: Projects should above all benefit the community, but projects and presentations should be well planned, relevant, well researched, creative, and intellectually productive.

Required Elements

#1: The Proposal (due February 24, 2010): Your project proposal must be typed and include the following elements:
A. The names of all group members
B. The nature of the proposed project: its scope, timeline, research involved, type and amount of work required to complete the project, plan of each group member’s responsibilities toward the project, expected lessons learned
C. Is the project an original creation or does the group plan to join an established service organization? Explain the reasoning behind the group’s choice. If you plan to join an established organization, then you should have already have their approval to participate in their work, and a clear understanding of exactly what each group member will do.
D. The community, as the group defines it, that will benefit from this project
E. The project’s purpose
F. The element from the course from which the project idea derived

#2: The Project (consider these when crafting the group’s proposal): Your project must include the following elements:
A. Educational (and/or political) purpose
B. Artistic format
C. Public benefit: that is, the project must benefit the community. If you organize a showing, reading, or performance, you must invite the rest of the class to attend.
D. Specific audience: who will benefit from your group’s work?
E. Collaboration: this course acknowledges the importance of community. Can you work both as part of a community (group cohesion) and for the community?
F. Each group member must log ten (10) hours or more toward completion of this project.

#3: The Presentation (during our exam meeting; see course schedule): The presentation is your opportunity to report to the class on your project. Your presentation must include the following elements:
A. Presentations will be 10 minutes each
B. Audio-visual (e.g., music, film, art display or creation, overhead slides, etc.)
C. Evidence of research (provide bibliography)
D. An excerpt, summary, or sample of/from your project

Due Date: Your project must be completed in time for you to craft a well-planned presentation on it to deliver during your scheduled presentation time. You will sign up for presentation times after the midterm. There are no make-ups for missed presentation dates or times for any reason.

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