During the course of this seminar, the work that we have done together visualizing and mapping out our projects through project frameworks and these blog posts, writing MOU’s and dialoging about them with our community partners, and considering the feasibility of the project has been very helpful to me. Beginning the project months in advance now seems to me the best way to lay the foundation for a successful project. Writing contracts, schedules, and reflections has prompted me to engage in broader dialogues with friends and mentors with experience in various aspects of this project; for example, I have already met with one experimental documentary filmmaker in my department, Greg Cohen, who has shared permissions forms in Spanish with me, and today after teaching my last class I will meet with a friend from the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, Brynach Day, to discuss what to expect as I prepare to film.
Likewise, having done all this preparation work I was able to speak in detail with helpful contacts this past weekend at the wedding of Lily Segal and Ben Stokes, who is now Assistant Professor of civic media at American University. His advice: to begin the social media process from the beginning as a kind of conversation, not just at the end when I have what might be considered a finished ‘product,’ to engage the workshop participants and others near to the project in getting the word out, to make it clear what they will be receiving as well as contributing to the project, and to have them interview each other. Lots of great advice that directly addresses my current questions, and I’m not sure if I would have even been in a position to solicit it if I hadn’t already done so much thinking with this group and on my own.
As I go into the field, my one concern at this point is that it coincides with my preparation to enter the job market this fall. I know that in order to position myself to find the widest array of job options, I need to maintain as equally focused on all the leg work for that process as I am on this wonderful summer project. So that I don’t miss the forest for the trees, and so that I can continue to work in the field and be in a position to do this kind of work. Which I love. In other words, I need to approach the job market, and all my projects, with the same kind of systematic approach that has been modeled for me during this seminar.
In terms of staying in touch over the summer, I would love to be able to participate in some kind of forum where we can: a) all link our blogs and websites to be able to read about each other’s progress as they unfold; b) share questions about technology concerns, other issues concerning our community partners as they arise, etc. It would be nice to know that I will have people from this group, professors as well as other students, to consult as things unfold.
All said, I’m grateful to the Mellon Foundation and the U.C. Humanities Institute for having had the opportunity to participate in this group. ¡Les deseo mucha suerte a todos!