Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Why Detroit?

(a mission statement in-progress for my Detroit trip with students... your feedback is welcome, please go check out our Ning! Address below)

Hey there,

So, as I'm on AIM with one of my Detroit project super-stars, emailing someone about our lodging, and working on updating the Ning we started, I'm feeling the tangible taste of this adventure. Backing up a bit, this is a trip that I conceived in my head before I ever taught at BK. I have attended the Allied Media Conference in Detroit for a few years now, and also the first ever conference, then called the Bowling Green Zine Conference, in 1999 on the campus of BGSU, in Ohio. I have self-published my own writing for nearly 11 years through "zines", or independently published mini-magazines of poetry, personal essays and imagery (usually collaged and photocopied, distributed by independent distributors and by me). I found my voice through this publishing and still cherish the connections I made with other writers and artists across the world. I have a strong bias in the power of self-made media to transform the lives of youth -- I lived this transformation and became a conscious activist and teacher because of it.

This conference is a phenomenal place where activists meet up, share their work, and build communities of folks working on media production from a grassroots, social-justice angle. In Detroit in particular, they're looking to build an alternate economy that does not rely on the floundering auto industry, but is rooted in technology and the future. Teaching youth media-making skills allows them to find their own voices, and broadcast their thoughts. Whether by radio show, song, poem, photograph, film, music video, zine, art installation, graf piece... giving my students the tools to be able to make their creativity into a product will benefit their lives after high school, that can help connect them to a career that they love and can prosper in -- this is my goal. To help them understand that media-making is empowering AND can take them places.

Broadcasting is just the beginning, though. Having an exchange of thoughts and ideas that is constant, way past the conference this summer, that becomes a part of the school culture, and their writing process. Connecting with our incredibly inspiring art teacher to have this continue as an online component of a literary/art mag, making this project a truly student-run production, and Detroit an annual trip. Integrating this into my classroom, making technology and media-making a part of what I teach -- changing the shape of the ELA classroom to really focus on what communication looks like now. These are some larger goals we're working on.

Check out our fledgling site -- which will begin its chrysalis this week as the students begin to work on it...

And also check the Allied Media Conference -- we're SOOO looking forward to the opportunity to be in Detroit.

Wish us luck!


Liz Kolb, Ph.D. said...

Looking forward to your visit and hearing from the students! Do you follow Mobile Active at all? They do some awesome things with cell phones and activism>


Kerri Thelen said...

Lauren, I am currently in the Secondary MAC program at UofM. I am looking forward to meeting you and your students on Friday. I am excited to see to potetial of technology in the classroom. Technology was not a part of my vision of being a teacher, but I think the possibilites are endless.

larah said...

Hi Lauren, I look forward to meeting you and your students when you visit the MAC program at UM. I'm in secondary Ed English also. Can't wait to hear your advice. Thanks, Lara