BHSEC Film, Media, and Digital Arts Lab
A Space for Audio-Visual Experimentation, Expression, and Argumentation
The BHSEC Digital Media Lab is a center for experimentation in non-fiction media making and the digital humanities through data visualization projects, video essays, videographic criticism, podcasts, audio and video documentary, oral histories, and online exhibitions. As an online presence and a physical resource center at BHSEC Queens, the lab serves students and faculty at BHSEC Queens and throughout the Bard Early College network. At the BHSEC Digital Media Lab, students produce and share digital media work related to their social sciences, humanities and film courses, and faculty share digital media techniques used in the classroom and train in digital humanities tools through workshops with Early College faculty and visiting experts.
The BHSEC Digital Media Lab makes students into producers rather than simply consumers of media and technology. It incorporates media arts into our humanities curriculum in order to encourage students to evaluate and organize ideas in ways that may be more comfortable for them than traditional writing. Our goals are to support students’ craft and voice; to equip students with digital literacy skills that will enhance their educational experiences by learning visual storytelling and digital humanities tools; and to offer a digital space to archive student work and to store curricular material for our social sciences, literature, and humanities courses. The BHSEC Digital Media Lab also hosts workshops on using media making and digital humanities tools in humanities courses.
We will design a website that archives the visual media work our students have completed in their classes (both film and humanities courses). This site will connect with a dedicated VIMEO channel that will archive student and faculty work at the lab. For example, Zohra Saed’s classes emphasize collaborative work such as presentations using google docs, google slides, and wordpress. Suzanne Schulz’s students have produced documentaries and podcasts using iMovie and Premiere. The goal here is to showcase student work and offer faculty alternative methods to teach in a way that is inclusive of all voices in the classroom. We will employ collaborative work and teach close-reading skills and constellating reading skills (using digital annotation tools and others that discuss how other reading material, historical experiences correspond with the text to contextualize the reading material within the world).
The Digital Media Center has a specific list of things we need to make it a place to make things, a place to learn visual communication, and in this way learn through building. We need to raise about $20,000 more to stock up on the audio and video recording material and in programs for full stable lab (not counting the laptops we were granted this year). The lab will offer one public program every semester (A PD session for teachers or a visiting film or media maker, a festival organizer, a film or media scholar). It will also have (in the same space or in an adjacent room) a screening-reading space (currently Room 733) that is suitably dark, has good speakers, and a dedicated desktop, bolted to a teacher’s desk. This space also has three large storage closets that can store our video libraries and video and audio equipment. We are in the process of installing a bulletin board to post employment and internship opportunities in media, journalism, and the digital arts. We are also in the process of contacting the Bard College Film & Electronic Arts Department and the Experimental Humanities program about creating a bridge from Bard Early Colleges to Bard College and schedule annual student field trips.
Personas of People who would Benefit from a Digital Media Arts Center Lab:
SanSan is a First Year student at BHSEC Queens. She is interested in filmmaking and documentary. She is Burmese American and has taken a trip to Burma to record Burmese street food culture. SanSan has been trained in editing through an internship at New York Hall of Science and has material that she has collaborated on at the NY Hall of Science youtube channel. For her college applications, SanSan wants to produce a short documentary about her Burma trip to showcase her work, and she needs Suzanne Schulz/Zohra Saed support in creating a digital portfolio to send to colleges as an example of her independent work. SanSan needs a Digital Media Arts Center to support the editing and production of this documentary and house her digital portfolio to make her college application, to the sciences, more attractive and to show how well-rounded she is as a student. SanSan needs editing programs, a space to edit her footage, and faculty members to turn to for support.
A Humanities professor is having trouble reaching all of his students to close-read Dante’s The Inferno in his First Year Seminar class. He can address both problems by employing digital humanities pedagogical strategies. To practice social reading in the classroom, this Humanities professor can use Annotator or Hypothes.is and by bringing laptop carts to the classroom to show close reading skills. In small groups, his students can practice annotation experiments together. But our Humanities professor is a self-proclaimed Luddite. He hears all the digital this digital that talk and all it does is make him nervous. How can manage this by himself when he still writes notes in his books in pencil? The Digital Media Arts Lab (Center) offers workshops where faculty can share strategies and use the space to keep each other up to speed. Our link to teaching strategies and archive of lessons gathered from other faculty members who also employ digital humanities strategies, scripts, lesson plans, will be available on the website. And for Professional Development, we would request professionals to train faculty.
We will raise it from Bard College, from the PTA, and from external sources.
We will be presenting to the Dean and Principal come mid-April. We will be required to introduce this new lab to faculty and formulate an announcement during advisory to reach students.
Ultimately, we will fundraise to have a dedicated video editing laptop cart, cameras, and tripods, which we would house in the space.