Reflecting on the Visual Storytellers
In preparation for writing this reflection, I took some time to reflect on what this course has meant to me as an instructor. In short and technically, the course was truly not much different than most other courses. That simply being: complete assignments to earn credit.
I saw the girl with the flag, and I knew I had to tell her story.
Since each of my students was asked to cover the same event, I requested one thing from each of them from the start of the semester… to just share their story. During those few weeks before the race, they were to explore numerous processes through several assignments that were meant to challenge them to step outside of their comfort zone. They were also encouraged to take a different look at those things commonly around them.
Upon the UCI Road World Championships arriving in Richmond, I encouraged them to take those things that they learned in the weeks prior and capture the international event through their individual vision and stories.
What most of them delivered was a collection of shared light, texture, motion, and spirit. They shared Richmond and VCU. They shared friends and strangers, days turning into night, and on occasion, nights into days. They shared emotions, and color, and life in the spotlight, but also the ever-important life of those behind the scenes and far, far away from the stage. They shared the quiet, the loud, and the heart of an urban environment. They shared the details of the beauty often hidden behind the grit. They shared the energy of the world, all taking place in a town that each of us calls home. These are just a sampling of the things that I have seen through the incredible and honest work of my students.
When I proposed the concept for this course last spring, it seemed like an interesting and fun idea. On paper, it was simple. Capture and document the event using a mobile device solely. Technically, that was the assignment. What they delivered, however, was far more than I could have ever imagined. The photographs and words they shared during the six-week course are a genuine and remarkable reflection of their passion for creating. It was also a reflection of themselves.
What gives them strength? Maybe a spiritual power, or maybe the thousands of hours they have put into their honing their skills and stamina. And as a result, the real race may just be another trial session for them.
There was a remarkable visual story shared with the world during this course, and each of my students was the storyteller.
I am grateful for such a rewarding opportunity to be involved in this project. Thank you to VCU, to VCU ALT Lab, to the VCU Robertson School of Media and Culture, and especially to my students. For me to say that I am proud of what was accomplished during this course would be an absolute understatement.
In the end, we each leave behind a story. Without it, how will we ever share where we've been? Keep your eyes open as you continue to capture and tell yours.
Look for the good in your day.. then share it.