back to news Sept. 12, 2017

English Course Focuses on Black Artists’ Literate Lives

A group of Black visual artists in the Columbus area — including painters, photographers, mixed media artists and filmmakers — are helping students in an English course learn firsthand about community-based research.

Taught by Sherita V. Roundtree, PhD candidate in English, the course focuses on what students can learn from Black artists’ literate lives, including the creative processes that inform their art. As part of the course, Language, Identity and Culture in the U.S. Experience – Literacy Narratives of Black Columbus Visual Artists, students will interview artists for their literacy narratives, opening up discussions that could include stories that shaped the artist’s past, issues of race and culture, and what literacy’s relationship is to their art.

“We want to explore how all of these things are interconnected with each other,” Roundtree said, “and the possibilities are endless in terms of what students will find out. Along the way they’ll discover how to ask the right questions to facilitate conversations, and later, how to analyze their research data. It’s a hands-on research process for our students, and the artists are all really excited to be involved.”

The 14 undergraduate students in the class — none of whom are English majors — divide and form three teams to conduct videotaped interviews with the local visual artists. “At the end of the course, each team will create an iMovie that showcases what they uncovered in their research,” Roundtree said. Students will share their iMovie presentations with the artists and other audience members during the course’s culminating event, a Community Sharing Night on Dec. 5.

The course (English-2367.01s) is offered each autumn semester with a different focus and counts as a second-year writing course.

A group of Black visual artists are helping students learn firsthand about community-based research #ASCDaily

(Pictured are students, left to right, Taraji Hillard, Sravya Iyyuni, Kidest Beyene, TaShayla Thomas and Gabriella Seidler)