New course proposal for “Street Art Graphics” digital archive project

The pegatinas writing assignment with Marina Llorente and the Weaving the Streets & People’s Archive project with John Collins have both gone so well that I’ve decided to develop a new course proposal that would offer students the opportunity to conduct research and write about street art stickers and ephemera related to street culture for the Street Art Graphics digital archive. One of the biggest game changers for the archive is that I’m trying to convince SLU to convert from ContentDM to Artstor Shared Shelf, a Web-based cataloguing and image management software system that would provide several improvements. In addition to higher quality image presentation, the Artstor cataloguing tool includes a vocabulary warehouse so that artists’ names, geographic locations, and subject headings are automatically linked to authority records from the Library of Congress and the Getty Art & Architecture Thesaurus, among others. Metadata schemas are highly customizable, as are different user roles for collaborative cataloguing. Artstor will also store and back up all of our source images for long-term, off-site preservation. Most important, however, is the fact that Shared Shelf allows users to publish content directly to the Web through Shared Shelf Commons, the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), Omeka, Google, and other outlets. This last feature is what is most exciting. Despite how well Artstor presents images, I have avoided using it up until now because content is available only to paid subscribers (not very democratic of them, is it?). With Shared Shelf Commons, however, we could share our digital content freely with everyone in keeping with St. Lawrence University’s open access policies.

Here is what I have so far for the course overview and the initial list of required readings. Now I have to put together the assignments and the weekly schedule and submit this puppy to the art & art history department for their approval. Fingers crossed in advanced!

Street Art Graphics & People’s Archive Course Overview

This course offers students the opportunity to conduct research and write about street art graphics for an online digital archive available on St. Lawrence University’s Richard F. Brush Art Gallery Web site (http://www.stlawu.edu/gallery/digitalcollections/streetartgraphics.php) and on Artstor Shared Shelf Commons, a free, open access international digital image library of arts and sciences (http://www.sscommons.org/openlibrary/welcome.html#1). The Street Art Graphics & People’s Archive is based primarily on contemporary street art stickers and ephemera related to street culture from countries around the world, including Canada, Egypt, England, France, Germany, Indonesia, Russia, Spain, Ukraine, and the United States. Topics addressed include animal rights, consumer capitalism, environment, football, gender and sexuality, labor, police brutality, political protests, racism, social justice, and surveillance, among others. The course enables students to use real world examples of street art culture to understand current global issues and to be part of writing history through citizen journalism. Incorporating critical thinking and visual/media literacies, students will learn how to annotate images, hone their writing skills, and contribute their work to a vibrant and unique digital image archive. A digital geo-mapping project at the end of the semester will further contextualize items in the archive.

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Selected Readings

Burkeman, DB, and Monica LoCascio. Stickers: From Punk Rock to Contemporary Art. New York: Rizzoli, 2010. Print.

Chaffee, Lyman G., Political Protest and Street Art: Popular Tools for Democratization in Hispanic Countries. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1993. Print. Chapter 1: pages 3-22; Chapter 3: pages 37-52.

Clough, Alice. Combating Urban Disengagement? Stickers as a Form of Street Art. London: University College London Department of Anthropology Working Paper 09/2011. Print.

Ferrante, Julia. ‘Street art’ provides context for understanding cities. 20 July 2011. Web.

Gregory, Lua, and Shana Higgins, eds. Information Literacy and Social Justice: Radical Professional Praxis. Sacramento, CA: Library Juice Press, 2013. Print.

Irvine, Martin. “The Work on the Street: Street Art and Visual Culture” in The Handbook of Visual Culture. London/New York: Berg. 2012. Print.

Leckie, Gloria J, Lisa M. Given, and John E. Buschman, eds. Critical Theory for Library and Information Science. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited. 2010. Print. (Chapters include “Transformative Library Pedagogy and Community-Based Libraries: A Freiran Perspective” by Martina Riedler and Mustafas Yunus Eryaman and “The Public Library as a Space for Democratic Empowerment: Henry Giroux, Radical Democracy, and Border Pedagogy” by Mustafas Yunus Eryaman.)

Morrone, Melissa, ed. Informed Agitation: Library and Information Skills in Social Justice Movements and Beyond. Sacramento: Library Juice Press, 2014. Print. (Chapters include “Whatcha Doin’ After the Demo? The Importance of Archiving Political Posters” by Vince Teetart; “To Spread the Revolution: Anarchist Archives and Libraries” by Jessica Moran; “Building an Archive from Below: Reflections from Interference Archive” by Molly Fair; “Librarian Is My Occupation: A History of the People’s Library of Occupy Wall Street” by Jaime Taylor and Zachary Loeb; and “Why Archive? and Other Important Questions Asked by Occupy Wall Street” by Sian Evans, Anna Perricci, and Amy Roberts.)

Pollock, Caitlin M. J., and Andrea Battleground. A Gallery for the Outlaw: Archiving the Art of the Iconoclast. Association of College and Research Libraries. 2013. Print.

Walker, Jill. Distributed Narrative: Telling Stories Across Networks. Bergen: University of Norway Department of Humanistic Informatics. 2004. Print.

Wallace, Margot. Writing for Museums. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. 2014. Print.

Zinn, Howard. “Secrecy, Archives, and the Public Interest.” The Zinn Reader: Writings on Disobedience and Democracy. New York City, NY: Seven Stories Press. 2011. Print.

2 Responses to “New course proposal for “Street Art Graphics” digital archive project”


  1. 1 Don Westwater February 28, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    I am putting together a presentation on divesting from fossil fuels and would like to include a slide of the sticker of the Shell Oil co. shell with the red slash through it. the presentation draws parallels to the pressure that the boycott on South Africa had in helping end apartheid. I reference Desmond Tutu’s call to divest of fossil fuels.
    Would you be willing to grant me permission to use this image in my presentaiton?
    I would credit Stickercity (or other?) as the source for the slide.
    Thank you,
    Don Westwater
    Carlisle, MA USA

  2. 2 Stickerkitty March 1, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    I sent you an email saying yes, please feel free to use this image!


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