This coming Monday, Monica and I are spending the day at the Tribeca Film Institute Interactive Day.
Summarising their Media Release (who wants to click on the links anyway, right?), “...on April 23, in the midst of the Tribeca Film Festival, TFI and the Ford Foundation will bring together leading thinkers and pioneers from the fields of media, entertainment, education and technology to share their insights and inspire content creators at TFI Interactive...”
This is an area that I’m particularly passionate about – the use of digital tools to explore traditional models of story telling as well as developing new paradigms for the way in which we deliver and distribute stories now and into the future.
My Year 10 media students back in Australia are hopefully (fingers-crossed!) using Digital Story Telling tools (Adobe Flash, Digital Capture Devices, Scanners, etc) to retell/re-vision a traditional story in a digital way – so I feel really privileged to have the opportunity to attend this festival and find out about the way that industry, artists and educators are using digital tools and platforms to do the same thing!
And The Bronx.
I’ve really been enjoying getting out of Manhattan. Two trains and a little walking later (and before) gets us up to The Bronx (plus I get to look at Yankee Stadium on the way!). Even though it’s only a 15 minute train ride (that includes the transfer) – it’s like a completely different world! Definitely not in a bad way – it actually reminds me a lot of where I work – the students come from an incredibly diverse range of backgrounds. The U.S. Census considers the Bronx to be the most diverse area in the country. There is an 89.7 percent chance that any two residents, chosen at random, would be of different race or ethnicity (yes – that’s a quick wiki fact!).
The Taft Educational Complex - DYPREP is located on the 4th Floor of the Complex and shares the building with several other separate schools.
To get into the school, you have to go through a metal detector (students follow the same process) and your bags go through an x-ray machine. All of this is overseen by the NYC Police Department School Safety Division – and they are armed! Of course – this doesn’t seem to faze my colleagues – and I should qualify my uncomfortable-ness with the weapons with the acknowledgement that every student and person that I’ve met and talked to in The Bronx has been exceedingly polite and helpful – the students scramble over each other to hold open the doors for the teachers, they clean up the classrooms at the end of the sessions without being asked and always raise their hand to speak – I could get used to this kind of service!
In the classroom, the students have been incredibly engaged with the design process – students are articulate in their responses, ask thoughtful questions all the time and engage with the practical and ideation tasks that are set with vigor! All of these students are participating in their own time after school – and after the workshop, many go on to sports practice, tutoring or part-time work. The teachers deserve a mention as well – they are so so SO passionate about education and giving their students the best start to life that they can – it makes me feel like a charlatan at times!
This afternoon we are taking the students to an art exhibition in the neighbourhood called No Longer Empty. The artists that we are meeting (Elizabeth Hamby and Hatuey Ramos-Fermín) are artists and educators working between the studio, the classroom, and the city.
For “This Side of Paradise” the artists have presented IRT, a multi-model installation and public engagement project exploring transportation issues in the Bronx. The project has a variety of interrelated components including a video installation about livery cabs in the Bronx, maps, and interviews.
In collaboration with community-based organizations in the Bronx, the artists will present Boogie Down Rides, a temporary bike shop and public education hub located on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx. The shop will be open throughout the month of May and will host a series of educational events, community visioning sessions and group rides. Visitors and community members will be able to rent bikes, get repairs and learn about ongoing cycling projects in the Bronx including the development of green-ways and bike paths, as well as initiatives from Greater New York such as bike share.
The bike shop will also be a place for community engagement and for members of the public to respond to these initiatives through surveys and participatory workshops. By creating a cycling hub on the Grand Concourse, Boogie Down Rides will increase awareness of cycling as a mode of transportation and recreation, promote safe cycling and bridge existing efforts to expand cycling in the Bronx.
Read a review of the exhibition in the New York Times here.
As a self-proclaimed Hipster (see my earlier post here for some background on this) – one of the first things that I did when I arrived in NY was look for a single speed bike to get around on. I found a few – but as I was looking for bikes, I realised that public transport is so good here that it really wasn’t necessary (I still have my original Penny Board so I can roll when I get the mood). Needless to say, I’m really interested in the Bikes as Art (or vice-versa) so I can’t wait to see the show!