Due: May 6, 5 p.m.
Length: 750-1,000 words
Images: At least 4 (the more the better if they are good)
This is part of the portfolio that you will turn in at the end of the semester. It also includes your changemaker profile/conversation map and abandoned building drone video.
The objective of this assignment is for you to synthesize and reposition your thinking about civic media, which up until now we have considered as mostly single-authored and text/video/audio based and intended for private viewing/reading/listening (other than, perhaps, a documentary – although they are mostly privately viewed.)
But Murals in Philadelphia present a form of civic media that expands our thinking about the subject. These are visual, collaboratively produced and publicly displayed pieces of media.
Remember the diagram from the beginning of the semester.
Your assignment is to write an essay – it could be first person or a more formal kind of “research” essay – that makes an argument for the murals you looked as being examples of “civic media.” Obviously to do that you will need to sketch out what civic media is and then place the murals into that framework.
“Civic media” is a new idea and is still being defined. (We are one of the handful of departments in the country that require a class called “civic media.” Others include MIT and USC.) So the concept is still being defined. One way to consider this is … how is the concept of “civic media” different from “mass media”? Where do murals fit in?
Useful concepts to consider
• Place (geography)
• Process (collaborative, community-oriented)
• Technology (a wall)
• Authorship (who creates these?)
• Purpose (Why do these murals exist? What kinds of problems do they address?)
You will likely have to do some research to get some ideas and familiarize yourself with the process of creating a mural. Here are some resources:
• Philadelphia Murals and the Stories They Tell – This book is available at the library (I think) and is also on the second floor of Bronstein (near Chris’s desk). Please don’t take it out of the building. It includes a lot of background on some of the murals we saw).
• “On Philly’s Walls, Murals Painted with Brotherly Love,” on NPR’s All Things Considered
• Carolyn Cannuscio, Eva Bugos, Shari Hersh, David A. Asch, and Eve E. Weiss, Using Art to Amplify Youth Voices PDF: Using Art to Amplify
This is a really brief article that takes you through the thinking on the last mural we saw on the tour – the houses painted to bring awareness to youth homelessness.