Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Black Studies Journey, 2007 - 2013

Although I'll continue producing commentary about artistic culture and various topics on this site, I will conclude my time as director of the Black Studies Program at SIUE on May 15th. Rather than bore you too much by detailing all the events and activities that we've done over the last 6 years, I wanted to identify what I view as 5 of our major, generally speaking, accomplishments. I'll perhaps mention more later.

1. The active programming -- Beginning three years ago, we significantly increased the regularity of our public humanities programs, implementing more than 100 events and activities each year, including mixed media poetry exhibits, annual politically inspiring black women showcases, book browsing sessions, natural hair exhibits, and public thinking events.

2.  The recruitment of talented contributors -- Our program has been powered by crews of creative and hardworking students and volunteers. Early on, we established a program priority of identifying and attracting talented students who might contribute new ideas and extend our program's capabilities. The students we attracted routinely exceeded expectations.

3. Web presence -- We began this site on August 31, 2008. We developed a facebook page where we posted articles and visual chronicles, and we also have an active twitter account.  Our increased web presence has made it possible for us to reach large audiences, chart our progress online, and develop this space into an active platform for discussing poetry, collegiate students, writers, digital humanities, and other important topics. 

4. The production of posters / postcards -- Between 2007 and 2013, our contributors designed more than 200 posters, postcards, and flyers as a way of highlighting "the power of the visual." In addition to sharing materials with college students, we distributed over 1,000 postcards about African American poetry to elementary, middle school, and high school students over the years.  

5. Annual New York City trips -- For the last 4 years, we've coordinated field trips to New York City for groups of our contributors. Our NYC Journeys have been designed to expose students from the Midwest to one of the greatest cities in the world and provide them with opportunities to navigate an extraordinary metropolis.

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