For this assignment you will engage with the Humanities in your local area in some way, either through visiting a local cultural venue or interviewing someone who is a professional in the Humanities, such as a locally known artist, musician, author, or religious leader, or a director of an art museum or community arts center etc.
Please choose one of the options below. All visits and interviews must be done during the semester this class is being taken.
Option #1 Visit
For this option, attend one venue from this list during the current semester. Please do not write about something from the past.
- Art museum or sculpture garden.
- Significant or notable architectural site (if there is explanatory material there to help you understand it).
- Music concert.
- Dance performance.
- Theater play.
- Poetry or book reading, author event, or spoken word performance.
- Film festival or presentation of a film by an academic author or cinema expert.
- Religious service, ceremony or ritual for a religion different from yours, if you practice (for instance, if you are a Baptist Christian, you should go to a Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu or different denomination of Christianity’s (Catholic, Lutheran etc.) service).
- Cultural festival or arts festival.
- Other venues may be acceptable. Check with your instructor for approval beforehand.
Using information from your own observations and any brochures, websites or announcements, write a 750-1000 word (3-4 pages) field report. Please try to keep your paper to about 1000 words or less and consult with your instructor for what to do if you think you will exceed this.
Your report should include the following.
- A photograph of the site or venue that you have taken. Please contact your instructor if you need to provide something other than your own photograph.
- Name and location of the site, venue, performance or event.
- The date of your attendance.
- Type of museum, site or event. For example, is it a portrait or sculpture museum, a music concert, a poetry reading, a religious service or ritual, a dance performance, etc.? Be specific as specific as possible about what you attended.
- Brief description of the general setting. For instance, talk a bit about the location, the number of people there, the general overall “vibe” of the place. This should be no longer than a few sentences.
- A description of one aspect of the experience that you found especially interesting. For example, you might write about a particular work of art, cultural artifact, song, dance section, costumes or lighting, a particular vocalist, etc. Explain what impressed or affected you, and why. Your reaction can be positive or negative, as long as you offer an explanation. In your explanation, be sure to:
- Use at least two terms or methods of interpretation from the resources in this class to talk about your visit. Be explicit in identifying the terminology or methods you are using by naming and underlining them in your report. If you visited a venue for a topic we have not covered yet in class, you will need to look ahead in the class to find terminology or methods from the week that covers that topic.
- Underline or bold the terms or methods of interpretation from the class you use in your paper.
- Include a quote or paraphrase from the learning resources for each of the two terms or methods.
- Relate the term or method specifically to your observations. For example, if you visit a museum, you might point out how complementary colors works in one of the paintings, or if you go to a concert, how rhythm works in one of the songs.
- A reflection on the relevance of your experience to your everyday life, to the community or locality, or to the Humanities in general. Think about how the experience engaged your feelings or emotions, how the experience brought the community together, how the experience showed you something about Humanities. You can also consider what this experience teaches you about yourself and human beings in general.
- In text citations as needed and a bibliography with MLA citations for any references you used.
Option #2 Interview with a Humanities Professional
If you are unable to go to a cultural venue for any reason, this is a good option to choose since you can conduct your interview in person, through video conferencing or through email. Or, this might be a good option for you if you already know of someone to interview or are interested in a one-on-one conversation.
For this option, conduct an interview with a professional who does something in the Humanities. Examples of people to interview for this assignment might include:
- local religious leaders that are not the same religion as you if you practice, such as the imam of a mosque, a rabbi of a synagogue, a priest from a Hindu temple.
- a local professor in a Humanities field
- a local visual artist, musician, or member of a band who is somewhat well known
- the curator of a local art museum or the archivist at an art museum
- the educational outreach coordinator or the director of a local community arts center
- a local published author or book illustrator
- a director from a local theater, a member of a local improv group, or an actor who performs regularly in community theater productions
- If you are not sure the person you want to interview is appropriate for this assignment, please check with your instructor.
When you have a conversation with this person, you can ask specific questions, or you can let the conversation itself lead you to the questions you want to ask. Try to focus, however, on talking about the field of the Humanities the person is in and what they do, and try to learn something new.
Using information from your interview, write a 750-1000 word report that summarizes what you learned during your interview. Do not turn in a transcript of the interview. Please try to keep your paper to 1000 words or less and consult with your instructor for what to do if you think if you think you will exceed this.
Your report should include the following.
- Name and position of the person. If they are not comfortable providing this, please state this and provide some general background information about the person instead.
- A description of the person’s connection to the Humanities–what are they (author, priest, director, artist etc.) including how long they have been involved with the Humanities, their training (if any) and how they got involved with the Humanities.
- A description of one aspect of the interview that you found especially interesting. This is going to come from the conversation you have and the questions you ask. For example, you might write a particular piece of work by this person that struck you if they are an artist. You might write about the person’s responsibilities as an art museum curator. You might talk about the challenges of a religious leader’s responsibilities of working with many kinds of people.
- A specific connection between something you learned in the interview to one specific piece of information from the class. For example, if you spoke to the lighting director of a community theater, you may have learned how they use colored lights on the stage. Then you can connect this to some of the information about color theory in the resources on Visual Arts.
- Highlight the connection you are making between your interview and the course material by underlining or bolding a small part of the section where you are making your connection.
- Include a quote or paraphrase from the learning resources for the information you are using from class to connect to the interview.
- A reflection on the relevance of your interview experience to your everyday life, to the community or locality, or to Humanities in general. Think about how the experience engaged your feelings or emotions, how the experience taught you something you really didn’t know about the Humanities, and how the experience showed you the relevance of the Humanities in the world. You can also consider what this interview informed you about yourself and human beings in general.
- In text citations as needed and a bibliography with MLA citations for any references you used. One of your bibliography entries should be for the interview itself.
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