Research Agenda–Engaging with Art: Identity, Community, & Opportunity

Engaging with Art: Identity, Community, and Opportunity
Team Ziggy Stardust is comprised of Wesley Akers, Susannah Simmons, and La Dawna Minnis, based upon a common curiosity for and appreciation of public art. After initially connecting on social media, we soon found that although we have different professional backgrounds and are in different ILT tracks our common passion for creative endeavors united our efforts. Each one of our diverse research topics shares a common thread of designing, creating, or engaging with art; moreover, the impact on individual and community identity, civic engagement, and future economic opportunities.

bowie sheet music

Q#1: How is community identity impacted through designing/creating/engaging with music in public spaces?

Background

The “A” Center for Engaged Spirituality has been evolving and reinventing itself for the past 116 years. Its roots in Christianity have expanded to meet the needs of broader beliefs and  accommodate those looking for a more inclusive spiritual community. At “A” Center, music is being used as a tool to take people to places that exist beyond words. The World Music Program Director organizes stellar live music to promote connection and higher awareness every week at “A” Center. Hence the question, “How does community identity occur through designing/creating/engaging with music in community groups?”

Problem/Opportunity

The words church and religion detour many people from such community places like “A” Center. How is “A” Center promoting community identity by engaging members through music, which indirectly increases membership, affords financial stability, and influence the larger community? Creating new possibilities for members to design, create, and engage with music could contribute to growing community identity, increasing civic engagement, and developing future economic opportunities.

Participants  

Participants will include musicians, members of the congregation, and any social media connections made in this process.

Data Collection:

Interviews will be conducted with, videos taken, and surveys will be given to

  • Members of the congregation
  • Musicians

about their beliefs around

  • “A” Center community identity, engagement, ownership, and pride
  • their economic future in Capitol Hill
  • music
  • tools for designing, creating, and engaging with music

Impacts

Positive impacts of exploring “A” Center’s engagement through music could broaden awareness of the music program, higher attendance, and more financial stability. Negative impacts could include that focusing on the music only will detract from other programs at “A” Center as well as potentially distracting members from worship through surveys, videos, and pictures during musical performances.

Q#2: How does learning occur through designing, creating, or engaging with public art in schools?

Background

Graffiti can be seen all over a subsect of the larger Denver community in Colorado, including School “A”, being used to vandalize buildings and to identify gang territory.  In the spring, School “A” sixth graders participate in a 9 week instructional unit focusing on the impact of graffiti art and vandalism on communities.  At the end of the unit, students create a blueprint for a graffiti mural they believe would have a positive impact on their community and/or school and justifying it with an written artist’s statement.  

Problem/Opportunity

Stigmas attached to graffiti vandalism limit it’s use as a learning tool for fostering identity as a school community and negatively impacts school ownership and pride.  Additionally, graffiti stigmas limit possible future economic opportunities for students in Denver area.  Teaching about public art and graffiti presents an opportunity for students to develop positive individual and school identity and increase sense of ownership in their life and community.  

Participants

School “A” students, faculty, and staff will participate by sharing their beliefs about the impacts of designing, creating, and engaging with public art.

Data Collection

Interviews will be conducted with and surveys will be given to

  • 7th and 8th grade students who have completed the graffiti unit in sixth grade
  • 6th graders who will take the graffiti unit in the spring
  • School “A” faculty and staff

about their beliefs around

  • school community identity, engagement, ownership, and pride
  • their economic future in this Denver subsect
  • public art
  • graffiti art and vandalism
  • tools for designing, creating, and engaging with art

Impacts

Ideally positive impacts will emerge around learning how to create public art that encourages positive school identity development, engagement, ownership, and pride.  Negative impacts could present themselves because graffiti is illegal in most cases.  As students learn more about graffiti, there is also a concern that the amount of illegal graffiti vandalism will increase.

Q#3: How is individual identity impacted through designing/creating/engaging with art in online spaces?

Background

Designing/creating/engaging with art has a big impact on developing individual identity and . Through the use of new technologies, designing/creating/engaging art is happening online more frequently.  New technologies also allow for collaborative production of designed online spaces and artworks.

Problem/Opportunity

Low accessibility to traditional cultural institutions limits opportunities for citizens in rural and underserved areas for designing/creating/engaging. Creating new opportunities for designing/creating/engaging in the arts through shared online spaces could minimize this lack of opportunity.

Participants

The participants in this study will include members of online affinity spaces that feature activities for designing/creating/engaging with art.

Data Collection

Interviews will be conducted with and surveys will be given to

  • members of online affinity spaces

about their beliefs around

  • how designing/creating/engaging in the arts has impacted their individual identity, sense of community, and economic opportunities
  • what tools are commonly used in their processes

Impacts

Inclusion of data collection from online affinity spaces will allow for a more diverse demographic in data collection and potentially yield a wide breadth of responses. While the diversity of response could be helpful, it may also be difficult to identify trends and themes. In addition, due to the anonymity of online spaces there may be a portion of responses that are incomplete or off-topic.

Greetings ILT 6720!

I am so glad to be taking Research in ILT with all of you. My e-learning background began with corporate training in telecommunications at Viaero wireless. From there I moved into instructional design, which prepared me for my next ID role in healthcare at The Breakaway Group. Both places had very straight-forward simulations and I found myself wanting to be a bit more creative in my work. This led to the decision to resign in order to pursue my ILT masters full time.

Diva Tri

As you can see in the above picture (last on the left), I am part of a triathlon team. On August 9, I competed in my first women’s triathlon. The Diva’s triathlon was in Longmont, Colorado and we had an absolute blast. My larger team consists of about 50 women and I am inspired by all of them. Janet, who is holding the bottle of wine, won her heat for 60+. It hope to still be that active when I am her age.

In my last class with Remi, Digital Storytelling, I spoke about my triathlon team. There was a huge learning curve when I first joined the team and this is true for all new experiences. In Digital Storytelling, there was a big learning curve, but after the first couple weeks, a pattern began to emerge. It was a great deal of work, but I was passionate about my theme for the course. My theme of grief carried me through the course and I can see how Remi is now priming our interests to pull us through our Active Research course.

My advice for first time learners with Remi would be to follow the schedule and trust that Remi knows what he’s doing. My previous class with Remi did not fully make sense until it was complete. There is a method to his madness and yes, he will demand a great of work, but I feel it is worth it. With my own advice in mind, I am really digging deep to find what interests will pull me through this course. I keep tweaking and honing my 15 preliminary research questions and statements.

  1. Where is Denver, Colorado’s water sourcing from and who monitors water rights?
  2. How are GMO crops affecting surrounding wildlife?
  3. Who is responsible for implementing more nature in modern architecture?
  4. What happens in the daily life of homeless women that stay at Universal Unitarian church once a month?
  5. Research how excessive materialism affects people today.
  6. How is racism still existing in today’s culture?
  7. What funding and agendas do the presidential candidates truly have?
  8. Learning how to belong in a group through effective communication.
  9. Design play for different tribes to mingle.
  10. How is social media affecting the lives of children/young adults in small towns across America?
  11. What decisions have been made in Englewood’s city planning?
  12. Research leadership in healthcare.
  13. Why is there so much participation in triathlons?
  14. Why are small towns drying up across America?
  15. Setting the stage for modern day agriculture and food demands on the planet.

My biggest concern is that I will not choose the right topic and this course will be much harder without an enthusiastic pull. I am also nervous about groups and guilds. What if no one has similar interests? Maybe I need to follow my own advice once again and trust that the right research topics will emerge though Remi’s deliberate research ideas exercise.

(Research Photo Credit: istockphoto.com/DrAfter123)