Conversation for Deepening Engagement: Media Arts Workshop and the Night at the MuseumWorkshop
Joseph Ugoretz, Macaulay Honors College, USA
“I always used to wonder how some people spent hours in a museum, while I would casually just walk by glancing at each artwork for less than five seconds. Now, I’m pretty sure I will be that person that spends hours at a museum looking at a painting and trying to figure out what it is about.”
For undergraduates beginning their college career and for all novice learners, some of the most vital skills are the ability to look closely and connect clear, specific observations to perceptive analysis and deep understanding of meaning. But this kind of observation and close looking requires a level of focused engagement and investment of time that is often difficult to achieve.
At Macaulay Honors College at the City University of New York, we have developed a a pair of large-scale events, Macaulay Night at the Brooklyn Museum and the Media Arts Workshops, which introduce all our first-year students to these skills and promote this level of engagement. Inspired by and the conversational techniques pioneered by Drs. Beth Harris and Steven Zucker of Smarthistory at Khan Academy, and in partnership with them, we use a museum experience, digital tools and basic new media approaches to offer all our incoming students a hands-on encounter (often their first) with visual art and their own analytical abilities.
This workshop will demonstrate for participants how an event like this can be staged at any scale, for large or small groups of students or even independent learners. Participants will have the opportunity to experiment with the techniques themselves (including conversational interactions and basic video editing), to map out implementations in their own contexts and to plan procedures for collecting data and assessment. The workshop is suitable for museum educators, college faculty or high school teachers, administrators and instructional technologists.