Ethnographic Mapping & Exhibit Curation
You are a part of a global effort to increase access to education and empower students through “open pedagogy.” Open pedagogy is a “free access” educational practice that places you – the student – at the center of your own learning process in a more engaging, collaborative learning environment. The ultimate purpose of this effort is to achieve greater social justice in our community in which the work can be freely shared with the broader community. This is a renewable assignment that is designed to enable you to become an agent of change in your community through the framework of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). For this work, you will integrate the disciplines of Anthropology to achieve SDG #11: Sustainable Cities and Communities SDG #3: Good Health and Well-Being;
Through the three parts of this assignment, the goal is to explore what makes “cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”. Currently, more than half the world’s population lives in urban environments. Yet, while cities may generate economic growth and innovation, they also can generate pollution and other kinds of imbalances.
Often, environmental, health and social issues intersect with one another, provoking the recognition of our shared humanity and our shared interests. You will probably want to begin your work on this assignment by observing what kind of social cohesion is actually happening in our own communities and what everyday people are doing to demonstrate resilience and inclusivity. Some examples may include art, murals, posturing and performative activities like skateboarding, busking, singing, parkour, dancing, protesting, etc.
Through these observations, what do you think needs to happen in order to create urban spaces that benefit the people who live in them? What variables would we need to change in order for more people to experience economic prosperity? What kinds of physical and social landscapes would we need to create in order to sustain an environment that nurtures everyone who lives there? For example, what kinds of public space, architecture, and cultural/artistic representations and performances can be recognized for their diversity and marginalized voices? What still needs to be built, repaired and imagined?
This active learning practice is designed to improve your academic skills, increase community connections, and improve social justice for our community.
The following assignment is scaffolded to include three sections: 1) ethnographic mapping 2) a paper on sustainability 3) a class curated, virtual exhibit and individual reflection on visitor feedback.
Part 1: Ethnographic Mapping
For this assignment, we will all contribute to a shared Google Earth Map where everyone will be responsible for documenting life in our communities by uploading descriptions, photos and videos that will help us to collectively understand and answer the above questions. You will need to upload a total of 3 photographs and/or pictures with accompanying video interviews (that you will conduct) that explore issues of economic, social and environmental sustainability within our communities.
You may start by exploring the specifics of what a healthy and productive, urban ecosystem would look like such as having good air quality, fresh water supply, and reduced pollution; however, you should also think about how this basic infrastructure impacts your community’s social and economic health and well-being. Here are some questions to consider, but please do not limit yourself to these alone. I’m sure there are many more questions that you could engage in.
Part 2: Paper on Sustainability
After all materials are uploaded, please take a look at the map we’ve collectively created and write a 5-7 page reflection on what you have learned based on our collective gaze at sustainability. In addition to analyzing our ethnographic map, you should also include materials from our class readings and discussions. Finally, please include a statistical chart that shows your interpretation of the issues through a counting of how many times you understand that specific issues came up. You can design the codes/themes within the chart however you want as long as you are interacting with the data we have collected (table, pie chart, graph, etc.). Your reflection should describe and explain your statistical portrait on urban sustainability within our shared communities.
Part 3: Class Curated Virtual Exhibit
Now that we have created an ethnographic map of our community, our edge city, and you have each analyzed and interpreted our collective understandings of how sustainability works here, we are going to curate a virtual