Personal Geographics: Mapping Self Identity

Merrill Shatzman; Associate Professor of the Practice
Department of Art, Art History and Visual Studies

Project Description:

P1030480Merrill Shatzman explored the combination of digital and traditional art making methods in her course, “Personal Geographics: Mapping Self Identity”, taught in Spring 2010.  Students in the course learned about the concepts of layering and manipulating visual material and the similarities between digital and more traditional printing making methods as they used maps, visual symbols, typography, design and drawing in producing works that explored self reflection, family and historical mapping, and oral history interviews for prints and an artist book.

Merrill’s goals for the course were to further develop skills in Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign to use in development and teaching of the course and to produce videos and tutorials that could be used for reference and reinforcement of skills by students.  The videos and tutorials were essential to the course, since no tutorial or textbook materials are available dealing with this type of hybrid digital work.

Maria Isabel Arroyo, Digital Durham map
Maria Isabel Arroyo, Digital Durham map

The CIT, through the Strategic Grant, provided support to development of the course including consulting, materials, and student assistance for creation of the video tutorials.

“Through the excitement and learning experiences generated by the different assignments, students challenged themselves by delving into visual and technical processes, which in most cases were new to them.  Their willingness and enthusiasm for taking changes in learning these new concepts and processes, and in creating different types of images outside or their personal comfort zone exceeded my expectations for this class.”

“Although students’ knowledge base of Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator was broad and varied, all of the students took advantage of the silkscreen video tutorials, using them as support material for both image preparation and in exposing and printing their silkscreen images. Through survey results questioning the success of the videos as support materials for the class … it was clear that students used this resource heavily, especially during silkscreen printing.   As many of the students were visual learners and had access to computers through their own machines or ones found in the studio, they could easily access these materials.  It was helpful for them to see the process as it was being explained, as they found each of the steps clear, and reinforced by the textual descriptions found on the videos.  The videos provided a “refresher” for the students, as they often did their projects several weeks after the class demonstration.”

Shatzman plans to continue using the video tutorials in future courses including “Printmaking: Silkscreen”, “Bookmaking: Text as Image” and “Digital Printmaking”, all being taught in 2010-2011.  In addition, while planning and teaching the course, she learned about factors of technology use that impacted student workload that will help streamline the assignments and to offer more student work periods, development of technology prerequisites for the course and approaches to demonstrating techniques and technologies to the students.

Project start date: 5/22/2008
Funding awarded: $1,800