During my time in Detroit, I taught photography and art and activism classes at Wayne State University. I see teaching as an exercise in community organizing—a way to listen to the needs and interests of my students, and then facilitate connections and collaborations between students and the school's surrounding community. I taught Digital Imaging I and Digital Imaging II in the College of Fine and Performing Arts at Wayne State, where students learned Adobe Creative Suite, and fine art photography printing methods. I integrated a substantial service learning component into the coursework—for their final project, I paired students with community organizations and non-profits across the city to collaborate on an image or video projects based on each organization’s needs. The syllabus can be viewed here.
I was also appointed by the department chair to teach Art and Activism. During the first part of the semester, the students and I organized a public series of conversations and panels with locally-rooted politically engaged artists. For all students, I underscored this series with a thorough historical survey of socially engaged and activism-based art, and critiques on documentary strategies. Throughout the class, we developed a set of art and activism ethics specific to Detroit. The second part of the semester provided opportunities for students to develop artistic interventions in their own environments. During the second half of the semester, each student was paired with a local artist who was working politcially. Students collaborated with artists on projects ranging from walking tours about Detroit’s black history, to working with local school children to create a Day of the Dead ofrenda, to oral history projects and mapping water shutoffs and tax foreclosures on a city-wide level.
The syllabus for Art and Activism can be viewed here.
Select audio from the Art and Activism Lecture Series can be heard here.