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DWC hosts Opening Reception for ‘Critical Making: A CRDM Exhibit’

Current students, alumni, and faculty attended

On Tuesday, July 2nd, the Department of Writing and Communication (DWC), within NSU’s College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences (CAHSS), held the inaugural gallery opening for “Critical Making: A CRDM Exhibit” in PVA Gallery 217. The event brought together graduate students in the M.A. in Composition, Rhetoric, and Digital Media (CRDM) program, other interested students, alumni, and faculty from across CAHSS for an evening of celebration and critical making.

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“It was great to see so many people enjoying the creative, innovative works of our CRDM students,” said Shanti Bruce, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Writing and Communication. “I especially appreciated the way faculty, students, and staff worked together to make the exhibit a reality. There is a strong, collaborative CRDM community.”

The exhibit included a wide range of CRDM students’ physical projects (board games, print pamphlets, printed posters, fabric bags, etc.) intermingled with several interactive digital projects (websites, audio recordings, etc.) presented on tablets and computers throughout the gallery. Every project in the exhibit was labelled with a placard along with a quick response (QR) code linking attendees to a digital version of the gallery that curated and contextualized the projects by the classes for which they were created. The exhibit also offered information about the courses within the CRDM program, while highlighting many of its unique pedagogies and assignments.

In addition to learning about the different multimodal and digital projects graduate students create in CRDM courses, attendees were introduced to the concept of critical making and the DWC’s Production and Preservation Project (P3)—a new initiative the department is undertaking to digitally archive and showcase student works. Attendees were also invited to practice critical making during the event by collaboratively contributing pages to a zine memorializing the exhibit’s opening.

“Our CRDM students produce amazing works throughout their M.A. that challenge traditional notions of humanities scholarship,” said Melissa Bianchi, Ph.D., assistant professor of writing in the Department of Writing and Communication. “It’s important that we not only take the time to celebrate their accomplishments but that we also find ways to archive this work for future generations of students, scholars, and instructors.”

The exhibit was curated by Mario D’Agostino, visiting assistant professor of writing, Bianchi, and Kaitlin Armstrong, a current CRDM student. “After seeing the work being produced in individual CRDM classes, we felt that it was important that the wider NSU community experience these incredible projects,” said D’Agostino.

Several M.A. in CRDM students attended the event and had their works showcased, including Nikki Chasteen and Veronica Diaz, who began the program in 2018 and 2017, respectively.

“For me, the gallery opening was a special moment that showed the pride the administration, faculty, and staff felt about our hard work and dedication as students. Knowing they want to display our projects and create a digital archive for those projects to live made me feel like I created something more than an assignment for a grade,” said Chasteen.

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Diaz added, "I loved talking to my classmates about their work and sharing our experiences in the CRDM program. Seeing our projects displayed so professionally and with such care, and seeing people's reactions to them, was both surreal and really fulfilling. It made all the time and effort we spent on them feel that much more appreciated."

The exhibit will run through August 12, 2019 in the PVA Gallery 217 in the Don Taft University Center. To view photos from the event, click here.

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