June brings about the end of our academic year, and this year, classes literally ended on a high note.
Enter the students of ARTSTUDI 360: Master’s Project Design. In this class, graduate students have to “create and present two master’s theses involving the synthesis of aesthetics and technological concerns, in the service of human need and possibility.” Two graduate students found materials in Special Collections that helped them meet this worthy goal and they asked if they could show their classmates their discoveries.
The class visited Special Collections twice: on their first visit, they viewed a selection of books containing lullabies a student had selected for her thesis. As an added treat, the student arranged for a professional musician to come and perform some of the songs found in the books. Happily, we were treated to a mini-concert in our classroom.
When the class returned to Special Collections in early June, they were greeted by a small array of 19th century games another graduate student had selected for his masters project on gaming. The student’s project focused on modern gaming and how technology takes away some of the tactile element that people used to experience when they physically played games, and how people miss the experience of sitting around the table laughing and sharing. To underscore this point, the students played an abbreviated round of “A Tour through the British Colonies and Foreign Possessions” (circa 1854) using their own homemade paper totems. Watching this group of graduate students laugh and discuss the nuances of traditional gameplay was a wonderful way to conclude what had been a very vigorous year of academic instruction.
Sources cited in this article:
FELT PS1667 .L95 1905 Lullaby-land. http://searchworks.stanford.edu/view/1182865
RBC In process (8/1/06) A Tour Through the British Colonies. http://searchworks.stanford.edu/view/6506733