Take Me to the River

The individual projects are gathering and tracing a way, tributaries spilling into a river, a watershed of democratic activity!


As promised, I am passing along our end-of-the-semester checklist. It is offered to help you complete your work. The primary impulse behind the elements checklist below is to help you keep moving toward “completion.” The checklist is also establishing a baseline of elements for the collective/shared project we are doing on Democracy + Culture.

Please complete all of the elements by Wednesday May 3rd and send to Mark and Kerrin no later than 8 AM. Post the materials on your process blog, send as email attachments, or make arrangements to give me a thumb drive. If you are creating your own project site, or modifying your process blog into the project site, then complete all of these elements on your site by Wednesday morning

If you need more time, please let me know as soon as you are able.

Project Elements Checklist

Each project will have the following elements: Title, Tagline, Introduction/Abstract, List of Primary or Secondary Sources, Further Reading, Bio and Image.

The draft models in the portfolio part of the home page of Democracy + Culture will help you visualize one way these elements will work. Of course you are welcome to organize these elements in the way you believe work best, and please see these elements as a minimum as there may be other elements you may want to include

  • Title Make it count. Call it a project, such as “the politics and popular culture project,” or give it a title of its own, such as “Tattfolio: Memoirs of a Living Canvas”
  • Tagline Pin the tail on the donkey. Express exactly what you know you are doing. Give the reader a reason to read on.

The tagline may be the first sentence a reader encounters in the project space you create, the abstract, or it can be a mission statement for the project. If you have a separate site/blog, please use the Word Press tagline feature so that the title and tagline give someone who comes to your site an orientation

  • Introduction or Abstract Do it well. This is the elaboration of the title and tagline. It is a paragraph that will include your purpose Here are two examples from project sites I asked you to look at earlier in the course and that are listed on our Open Space of Democracy Practice list

The Mojave Project is an experimental transmedia documentary and curatorial project led by Kim Stringfellow exploring the physical, geological and cultural landscape of the Mojave Desert. The Mojave Project reconsiders and establishes multiple ways in which to interpret this unique and complex landscape, through association and connection of seemingly unrelated sites, themes, and subjects thus creating a speculative and immersive experience for its audience.

Cultural Agents is an interface between academic learning and civic engagement. The Initiative promotes the divergent thinking of arts and humanities in the service of solutions to real life problems.

Also have a look at another model, the introduction to the recently published Issue 8.3 of Art Practical, Art can’t do anything if we don’t

  • List of Primary and Secondary Resources Embed your work in the cultural conversation from which it arises. It is important that you include a list of resources, a works cited, bibliography.

This information need not be cluttered. What you need is author (if there is one) or authors, the source (italics for books and films, quotations for articles, book chapters, poems). One convention we can use is to dispense with the “” when using links to a web-based text. Like what we are doing on the Readings page of the Open Space of Democracy web site.

  • Further Reading Give the reader places to go. Include a list of relevant reading or web sites or archives or projects. You can do this as a list at the end of what you are writing; or you can use the “blogroll” or “links” section of your separate site. The idea here is to connect your reader with the people/resources/materials for further work in this area.
  • Bio Statement and image for the “Who We Are” page A one sentence bio—or, if you can’t do one, no more than two! Include a “headshot image” that we can include with your bios.

These will appear on the Who we Are page. Our class project is one form of democratic engagement. And we want to expand our audience. For this reason, think about the bio and the image as a “professional” statement of you, and of us. Of course if you choose not include your face send along an image/avatar that fits with your project.

Take Me to the River Monday is reading day. Or talking day. Or working day. Make an appointment if you would like. I will be in the office between 9-3. Share any drafts of the project or elements above with me and/or our project coordinator Kerrin. I’m looking forward to our final examination time block on Thursday between 1-3. No need to prepare for that session. I just need you to bring your body and your mind.