Monday, April 6, 2009

Andover Bread Loaf, Addison Gallery, and Community

While the museum is closed, the Addison’s Education Department is embracing opportunities to collaborate with and reach out to our own community. In March, we had the pleasure to participate in Andover Bread Loaf's spring conference, Building Community and Literacy in the Classroom. On this Saturday morning, Andover Bread Loaf, partnering with Write/Right to Change, brought together an impressive audience of 80 enthusiastic attendees including K-12 teachers, students from elementary through high school, college professors, graduate school students, community organization staff, and a couple of parents, from Lawrence, Andover, Methuen, Haverhill, Boston, Cambridge, and from further destinations such as New York City, Clemson, SC, and Oakland, CA.

The eclectic group of students, teachers, and administrators who composed our conference workshop, The Narrative in Photography + Writing, explored the implied narrative of a single image and how that narrative changes when the image is a part of a sequence. What story does a single image tell? What would that one image say differently if it were a part of a series? And how can this be used in the classroom?

In Dawoud Bey's tripych Sara, Martin David and Tolani, what can we learn from a single panel?
- She seems like she has a lot going on. Her eyes are intense, wise.
- Her eyes, it's like they're staring at you. She watches you everywhere you go.
- She's a little serious and a little funny. Her eye, if I block one out, seems like I'm in trouble. Her other eye, maybe she's about to tell a joke.

What do the three panels together tell us compared to what we know from one panel?

- Their facial expressions change in the frames.
- The center is her identity and in the other two panels she takes on the role of mother.
- She's protective of the boy, the way her hand is laid across his chest. Maybe the girl can stand for herself. And her personality is in the middle.
- It's like two different worlds, the mother's clothing and the boy's clothing. Makes you think about clothing and identity.
- The three panels makes you see them as individuals.

In groups, we then created our own narrative series of photographs. The students were especially interested in using the artwork on display at the Essex Art Center to tell their story, exploring how rearranging the same nine images can create a new narrative and then presenting their writing to the group. Some teachers allowed the photo-taking to direct their story, while others first constructed their story and then sought out images to narrate it.

What does story does this series of images tell you? What narrative would you write?

(Photograph series by participating teachers)

A collaboration between Phillips Academy and the Bread Loaf School of English, Andover Bread Loaf works with U.S. and international public and private school teachers and students to enhance the teaching and learning of writing and to help catalyze educational renewal in classrooms, schools, school systems, and communities.

Posted by Jamie Kaplowitz, Education Fellow

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