Brooke Bryan Co-leads Trans-disciplinary Oral History & Digital Humanities Initiative
Antioch College is proud to announce that Brooke Bryan, instructor of cooperative education, is co-directing a new Oral History in the Liberal Arts (OHLA) project. The project was recently awarded a significant three-year grant by the Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA) Expanding Collaboration Initiative, which is supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Bryan is co-directing the project with Dr. Ric Sheffield, legal studies and sociology professor at Kenyon College. With a steering committee of 10 GLCA faculty and instructional staff, they will provide faculty resources like micro-grants and training opportunities to GLCA-affiliated institutions. Their mission is to support and inspire innovative, community-engaged undergraduate teaching through oral history and digital storytelling, using open source tools that visualize, sync and provide search mechanisms for online collections of audio and video narrative.
“Integrating tools from the digital humanities into undergraduate research and collaborative projects brings immediacy, relevance and a real audience for student work,” Bryan said. “It’s an exciting and meaningful way to engage the themes of our curriculum.”
Bryan said framing oral history as a turn-key qualitative research method allows instructors to activate key aspects of critical thinking and integrative learning, through an emphasis on ethical practice, development of careful questions, and careful interpretation and sharing of people’s stories.
“It’s a tactical approach to broad liberal arts learning,” she said.
The OHLA steering committee first gathered in 2014 as a response to calls for more participatory and experiential ways of learning on the small, teaching-focused campuses of GLCA. Along with future OHLA-affiliated faculty, they will curate best practices, technology stacks and theory for faculty seeking replicable “high impact” models for “undergraduate research, scholarly and creative activities” (URSCA).
Greg Wegner, GLCA’s Director of Program Development, said OHLA represents “an extraordinary convergence of vision and experience” that will bring the practice of oral history to GLCA member colleges.
“The combined strengths of this team exhibit a strong potential for creating a signature program of lasting impact that will provide opportunities for faculty professional development,” he said, “and offer students an important avenue for experiential education in a liberal arts context.”
About the Great Lakes Colleges Association
Founded in 1962, the GLCA is a non-profit organization governed by 13 selective liberal arts colleges in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Its purpose is to strengthen and extend education in the tradition of the liberal arts and sciences. GLCA often works conjointly with similar associations of liberal arts colleges to enhance the strength and vitality of member institutions. In addition to Antioch, the members of GLCA are Albion, Allegheny, DePauw, Denison, Earlham, Hope, Kalamazoo, Kenyon, Oberlin, Ohio Wesleyan, Wabash and Wooster.
Each year, the Antioch community welcomes back alumni for Reunion. This past Reunion, Co-op student at WYSO, Mari Smith, captured alumni and student’s tales of Co-op in a podcast for The Antioch Word. The Antioch Word is a monthly podcast that was started by a Co-op student in her time at WYSO and continues to be a project for each new student Co-oping at WYSO.
To learn more about WYSO, its connection to Antioch College, or the Antioch Word, check out this site.
For her first co-op, Hannah returned to her home state of Texas, where she became a data collector for the Research and Development Corporation (RAND) within the City Parks Alliance (CPA) group. Hannah was able to put her skills to work aiding in the collection of data contributing to the National Study of Neighborhood Parks. “The National Study of Neighborhood Parks is a four-year long study funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, aiming to better understand how local neighborhood parks contribute to physical activity and assess park management practices and programming.” Dallas is one of the twenty-seven cities selected to participate in the study. Hannah was provided the exciting opportunity to travel to Los Angeles for a three-day training on SOPARC, a system for observing play and recreation in communities. She then ventured out to a couple parks in the area to practice what she learned, and then returned to Texas to implement. With tablet in hand, Hannah ventured out into the Dallas community parks to begin her collection. Her days included taking pictures of the park grounds, logging the number of park users daily, noting characteristics of the park, and providing general insights on the overall atmosphere of the park. She was also tasked with administering surveys to park goers, a task that even allowed her to practice her Spanish speaking skills!
Photo Credit: Hannah Riley ’19
At the end of May, Karen Velasquez and Charlotte Blair ’16 attended the Latin American Studies Association (LASA) Conference in New York City. While at the conference, Karen and Charlotte copresented a research project based on fieldwork on cultural/linguistic diversity in Mexico City. Their research focused on mapping methodologies to help create an atlas of Mexico City, similar to Rebecca Solnit’s atlas Infinite City.
Eight of ten GLCA professors and scholars involved in the Mapping Megalopolis Grant attended. The research was a collaborative effort between six GLCA schools covering disciplines in humanities and social sciences. The project hopes to catch the complexity and expansiveness of the megapolis and is based on themes of order/disorder. The goal is to use digital mapping tools such as MapMe and StoryMaps as well as finding artistic ways to render these themes through maps.
Other members in attendance presented on the following diverse themes: Carlos Slim’s urban development projects; notions of insecurity and security among people living in working class gated communities; landmarks of Mexico City seen through the eyes of characters in famous Mexican novels; and Korean language and culture in Mexico City seeing the city through the lens of immigrants in Mexico City.
The conference allowed for great networking opportunities. Most notably, Charlotte was able to connect with GLCA members to develop her fieldwork research and senior thesis into a chapter to be included in the final publication of the Mapping the Mexico City Megalopolis Atlas and Essay Collection!
For over 70 years, the Yellow Springs (YS) community has shared a connection with Japan and its heritage. Last spring, after her visit to Japan for coop development, Beth Bridgeman returned with the idea to rejuvenate the relationship between Antioch College and its Japanese partners. After a year of hard work and planning between Beth and members of the YS Arts Council, the idea came to fruition in the form of Ohayo Ohio A Japanese Symposium. Spanning ten days (April 30 May 9, 2016), thirty events were made available for students and YS community members to take part in, consisting of four gallery exhibits, nine lectures, fourteen workshops, anime film screenings, and even a cosplay parade!
The symposium was made possible thanks to the generosity of the Yellow Springs Community Foundation grant, the Lloyd Family Faculty Fellowship fund, Antioch alum Tim Barrett, and participant’s workshop fees and donations.
850+ individuals took part in the various events. Mami Adachi, renowned Kimono artist, and her sister, Riko Mukai traveled all the way from Kyoto, Japan to lead workshops, and papermaker alum Tim Barrett traveled from Iowa, where he directs the Iowa Center for the Book. Other workshops were taught by the various artists and professors within the Greater Miami Valley possessing Japanese expertise. It truly was a community endeavor!
“In a time of increased nationalism in both Japan and the United States, we wanted to celebrate the rich history and connection between Yellow Springs and Japan and to provide a venue to increase cultural awareness, appreciation and understanding. We hope that this can lay the groundwork for future such community engagement collaborations”, said Beth.
For her first co-op experience, Lauren Vitas ’19 ventured to the beautiful west coast city of San Francisco, California. There she joined the wonderful team at Children’s After School Arts (CASA) as a teacher’s aide. CASA is a non-profit, creative after school program dedicated to “guiding San Francisco’s youth toward open expression, expansive hearts and questioning minds.” Working primarily with second grade students, Lauren assisted with homework, implemented restorative practices to diffuse arguments, and even joined in on the recess fun of playing freeze tag, four square or pretend. Through this involvement with the students, Lauren was able to develop trust with the students and gain a better understanding of how to best be a mentor. Lauren was further able to combine her love of art and youth interaction, through the planning and execution of a musical, written and directed by the founder of CASA (who also happens to be an Antioch alum). Another of Lauren’s projects involved interviewing fifth graders playing lead roles in the musical and putting together their biographies for the programs. She also provided theatre and music lessons for the students. “This experience is bringing me closer to my educational goals as it’s showing me what it is really like working with and teaching students, how a nonprofit can be run and what it takes to put on an original musical with over 200 students,” Lauren remarks.