Encouraging undergraduates to think creatively while promoting cross-curricular learning is among Arts Across the Curriculum's top priorities. In addition to piloting several AAC courses, the initiative has also supported special programming and projects that allow undergraduates to broaden their perspective of the arts while gaining hands-on experience in an array of disciplines. Read below to learn how AAC has helped expand student engagement with the arts.
HunterArts Web App (Spring 2012)
A team of undergraduates developed a HunterArts web application for their final project in Web Patterns, a course taught by Associate Professor Ricardo Miranda in the Department of Film & Media Studies. Students Jessica Diaz, David dos Santos and Anthony Debono designed and developed the web app, which can be used with a computer or smart phone to map the diverse arts events and institutions at or near Hunter in surrounding Manhattan.
Students interested in attending an art exhibit or a music, theater or dance performance, for example, can use the app to find what's happening where by searching individual institutions or larger categories, including Art Galleries/Museums, Theater/Music/Dance, Film/Media/Spoken Word, Societies/Institutes, and Hunter Cultural Partners. Links to FREE resources and events help students on a budget engage with the arts both on and off campus.
Students will soon be able to download this FREE web app to their cell phones by clicking on the HunterArts icon.
Emancipating History Colloquium (Spring 2012)
Students from Assistant English Prof. Janet Neary's Slave Narratives course and Assistant Geography Prof. Traci Warkentin's Cultural Geography course commemorated the upcoming 150-year anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation (January 1st, 1863) by participating in a colloquium that used scholarship and original artworks to reflect on the politics of memory and cultural landmarks.
Students created original artworks to respond to the question of how slavery should be memorialized in New York, presenting their ideas both individually and as a class alongside talks by Alan Rice (Professor of American Cultural Studies, University of Lancashire, and author of Creating Memorials, Building Identities: The Politics of Memory in the Black Atlantic) and Lisa Merrill (Department of Speech Communication, Rhetoric & Performance Studies, Hofstra University, and author of When Romeo was a Woman: Charlotte Cushman and Her Cirlce of Female Spectators).
Students also wrote papers forwarding arguments about how slavery should be memorialized, addressing issues of commemoration with international scholars and fostering conversations across the disciplines of English, history, art, and geography.
Support for Emancipating History was also provided by the Presidential Initiative for Student Engagement.
Book of the Semester: Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives (Spring 2012)
Hunter sponsored a cross-departmental reading of Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives, a book of short fiction by best-selling author and neuroscientist David Eagleman. Through a series of vignettes speculating on what "life" may be like after death, the collection offers a commentary on the limited nature of perception and humankind's relatively small place in the cosmos.
Hunter purchased and distributed copies of the book in a range of departments - including Chemistry, Sociology, Theatre and Religion - where professors connected the text to concepts explored in their courses.
The reading culminated in a visit by Eagleman for a special program moderated by Distinguished Lecturer Mark Bly (Theatre), a member of the AAC Faculty Committee who has used Eagleman's work for playwriting exercises. After the program, Eagleman fielded questions from students and signed copies of Sum.
AAC created a study guide to supplement the reading, an online resource that included creative and analytical prompts, an exploration of Sum's major themes and allusions, as well as links to articles and other outside material related to the book.
Mushroom hunting (Spring 2012)
Students from Hunter's Art, Biology and Anthropology departments participated in a wild mushroom hunt in Central Park, part of a series of public programs for Notations: The Cage Effect Today, a contemporary art exhibition that paid tribute to composer-artist and mycologist John Cage.
"Wildman" Steve Brill lead Hunter undergraduates and others on an expedition of foraging and cooking edible and medicinal plants. Participants learned about edible and poisonous flora, including wisteria, violets, sassafras, and poison ivy. Mr. Brill was able to speak scientifically about the plants and their effect on the body while touching on culinary subjects, history of the plants' uses, and Native American folklore.
Meet the artist: Chantal Akerman (Spring 2012)
Chantal Akerman, the Michael & Irene Ross Distinguished Visiting Professor of Film and Video and Jewish Studies at the City College of New York, met with students from various disciplines - film, women's studies, French, art and creative writing - to discuss her creative process and show excerpts of her films.
This event was organized by Prof. Ivone Margulies (Film and Media), an Akerman scholar and author of Nothing Happens: Chantal Akerman's Hyperrealist Everyday, who led the discussion with Prof. Joe McElhaney (Film and Media).
The Art and Film departments also collaborated on a screening of The Captive, a film based on Marcel Proust's La Prisonnière, followed by a question-and-answer session with Margulies and AAC Faculty Committee member Constance DeJong (Art). Akerman also spent some time reviewing the artwork of MFA students from the Integrated Media Arts and Arts departments.