Graduate Exchange (HEX)
The Graduate Public Humanities Exchange (HEX) program is a long-running and dynamic program that funds innovative public humanities projects that forge partnerships between community organizations and graduate students.
Each HEX Project builds a partnership with a community group that reflects both the partner’s existing needs and graduate students’ research, interests, and expertise. Along with those partnerships, the HEX Program also fosters a strong cohort among scholars by holding regular workshops and conversations, where students often address both the exciting developments and the difficult tensions that can arise from projects that are both public and academic. Begun in 2005, HEX goes beyond volunteerism and the pure research model to offer graduate students and partners the chance to form mutually rewarding relationships with surprising outcomes.
The application period of the 2018-19 Public Humanities Exchange (HEX) Program is now closed. Thank you to all those who have applied. We will announce the accepted projects by March 15, 2018. We will open for applications for 2019-20 in November 2018 with a deadline of February 1, 2019.
In addition to checking out current and past HEX projects (below), consider learning about other public humanities projects outside of this institution for further inspiration on our Public Humanities Resources Page.
Youth Interrupting Images of Violence and History: The Talk Back
This is a collaborative project with Ligia (Licho) Lopez Ph.D, Faisal Abdu'Allah Ph.D in partnership with Centro Hispano. The project aims to create a dialogue between Latinx and Afro-Latinx students from Madison and Mayan student-teachers in Guatemala. Madison students will reflect upon images selected by Mayan youth, make their own critique and produce new images that continue the dialogue. The workshops will be dedicated to reflect upon the images, their relation to the life of the students and how they want to represent their stories. Art will set up a conversation with larger and ongoing problems of racism and discrimination in the US and Latin America. The product will be an exhibit inviting viewers to learn, meditate, inquire, and reflect upon social and racial relations, politics and families, history and geography, and migration from the perspective of Latinx and Afro-Latinx youth.
Speak Up: Public Speaking and Tactical Argumentation for Community Justice
Our project is a series of public speaking and tactical argumentation workshops for young people in Madison. Our weekly workshops will provide students with a space to learn practical approaches to speaking and argumentation, to identify issues that matter most to them, and to confidently communicate their experiences to their peers, their communities, and to policymakers. We believe that strong communication skills empower young people to make an impact in their own worlds—from speaking up in class to writing a letter to their Senator or testifying at a community meeting. Currently Dane County is home to stark racial disparities, particularly in terms of education and life chances for young people (Race to Equity Report). Our target audience is young people (ranging from middle school to high school) from underserved areas of Dane County. We hope to help equip the young people directly impacted by an unjust system to communicate their experiences and argue for policies that would positively impact their lives.
The Warrior Book Club: A Veteran's Reading Group
The Warrior Book Club brings Madison area veterans together for monthly discussions about a variety of literature. This fall, the group will explore the theme of deployment in three works: Sophocles’ play Philoctetes, Tim O’Brian’s novel The Things they Carried, and Phil Klay’s collection of short stories, Redeployment. Beginning with an episode from the ancient and semi-mythical Trojan War and moving to accounts of contemporary wars in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, the group will explore a wealth of ideas within these narratives: god(s) and fate; loyalty and relationships between comrades; and the value—or lack thereof—placed on honor, justice, and heroism. The Warrior Book Club aims to enrich participants’ perspectives toward both the ancient and modern worlds and build community between veterans. Read press coverage of the club here: University News, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, NBC Local News.
Becoming Visible: Crafting Identity with Street Pulse Newspaper
This project hopes to help the vendors and writers of Street Pulse newspaper articulate their identities as individuals and as perceiving, interdependent members of a community. In a series of workshops, this project will bring writers from UW-Madison’s student population together with homeless vendors, talking and reading as a group in order to explore the potential that attentiveness and dialogue offer for becoming “visible.” Further sounding the distinctness that “story” offers, writers and vendors will work together in partnerships to craft narrative profiles for each vendor, developing their voices and establishing the conversation that grounds each unique individuality.
Rural Lives and Literature: Connecting the University with Rural Communities through Storytelling
This project seeks to forge stronger ties between the university and the underserved communities of rural Dane County and attempts to redress the increasingly urgent problem of regional, cultural and political polarity that plays out along a rural/urban divide. The combined reading and writing group will be held in local village libraries or civic spaces, where we’ll engage with classics of rural literature as well as provide opportunities for residents to tell their own stories. Acknowledging that cities can function as barriers to access, it takes seriously the Wisconsin Idea’s call to ensure “the borders of the university are the borders of the state” by physically moving out beyond the university setting and into the agricultural communities that perform a vital role in our state.
Humanities at the Humane Society
Sheltering and supporting vulnerable animals is deeply connected to sheltering and supporting vulnerable human populations. “Humanities at the Humane Society” will recognize the work of the Dane County Humane Society to address the intersecting needs of at-risk individuals, both human and animal. Through collecting stories of staff, volunteers, adopters, and animals, the project will document the shared legacies of social justice activism and animal welfare advocacy. The project’s website and accompanying materials will tell these stories together, inviting contributions from community members and helping to commemorate the upcoming centennial anniversary of the Dane County Humane Society.
Improving the Museum Experience for Blind and Visually Impaired Community Members
The project aims to make local art museums more inviting and accessible to blind and visually-impaired citizens of Dane County and surrounding areas. Working with the Wisconsin Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired and the Chazen Museum of Art, we will address the community’s needs and desires to have a meaningful art museum experience. I hope to create assistive tools, including audio guides, braille and/or large print labels and handouts or line drawings of paintings, that can be used by visually-impaired patrons to enjoy the Chazen Museum of Art’s excellent permanent collection.
The First Generation Project
The First Generation Project is an after-school program for high school students who are “firsts”: the first in the family to go to college, come out, experience a faith transition, move out-of-state, or otherwise do something different (or differently). The students will be introduced to engaging literature, film, and other artistic works that speak to their situations. By analyzing and discussing these texts in a supportive environment, the students will develop and strengthen their communication and discussion skills; this will better equip them to express themselves to family and community members and host important bridge-building discussions. The program will also practically prepare the students for college, both by giving them the tools to write a compelling personal statement for their applications and by introducing them to discussion-based learning environment of college-level courses.
Baldwin's Heirs: Police and Black Lives in American Literature
In the midst of public mourning and outrage over the killings of young black Americans by law enforcement officers, Baldwin’s Heirs gathers officers from the Madison Police Department together with high school and college students of color to read about police work and black lives in American literature. Discussing writers ranging from James Baldwin to Ta-Nehisi Coates to Claudia Rankine, this group reflects on convictions about race, ideas of justice, and what public safety in the twenty-first century ultimately requires. Baldwin’s Heirs intends to serve as a forum for community restoration and the affirmation of black life. Sarah Dimick studies in the Department of English.
A Roof Over My Head: Housing Precarity in Madison
Although Madison has less than 48 percent of the county’s population, it houses 73 percent of the county’s extremely low-income renter households, leading to extreme need for affordable housing. This project will develop a series of podcasts in conjunction with the Tenant Resource Center to give voice to those whose lives are affected by Madison’s current housing crisis, and to develop alternate ways of communicating tenant rights to the Madison community. The aim of this year-long podcast series is to distill information regarding the state of Madison housing regulation, development, and rights through interviews with community members, activists, and legislators. Vanessa Lauber studies in the Department of English.
When I go to College do the students look like me? An exploration of College Choice for African American Girls
This project will give African African (Black) girls the opportunity to prepare for life after high school. Participants will be involved in workshops that will discuss their educational experiences thus far, as well develop new goals for after high school. The project will focus on assisting the girls with college choice and providing them with steps in preparation for college. The participants will create a research question(s) that answers that will be answered using methods such as workshops, interviews, focus groups, and photo voice. Based on these things, the goal will be to help develop a model and or possible solutions that can be used for future students around college pre-disposition and graduation from high school. Jamila L. Lee-Johnson studies in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis.
Close-Knit: The Transformative Potential of Craft in Communities
Close-Knit is an after-school group that seeks to bring together adolescents through collaborative crafting. Using skill-based crafting techniques—such as knitting, embroidery, and felting—this project encourages participants to examine how these practical and expressive forms of art can create and spread happiness and positivity in their communities. Participants will learn basic crafting skills, work with other participants to reflect on how crafting generates happiness and positivity through creative expression, and collaborate as a group to plan a "community craftivism" event that engages the community in these expressions. Participants will leave with the skills necessary to continue making practical crafts and the ability to reflect on the importance of craft and creative expression in community-building and daily life. Rae Moors studies in Gender and Women's Studies.
Tales of Struggle, Healing, and Home: Women and Material Narratives
Amato is working with women in the YWCA’s housing program who are at a place of disempowerment, transition, struggle, marginalization and/or healing in their lives. Her role is to provide them multiple opportunities to explore the fabrication of puppets or other figures and to offer them the chance to devise narratives. Amato shares art historical and contemporary examples of women’s puppets and dolls. The materials themselves and their tactility - as well as the creativity and ingenuity involved in making objects--spur community-building through conversation, encouragement and artistic risk-taking. These objects could serve as characters in healing stories or parts of broader narratives but they may also be simply a chance to play. The group of women decides the direction they wish to take and Amato facilitates their goals. Felice Amato studies in the Art Department.
Young Voices: Sharing the Ojibwe Winter Games
This project partners with ENVISION, an alternative education program at the Lac du Flambeau Public School, to teach students to produce digital narratives. The goal is to invite students to reflect on and share their experiences of the Ojibwe Winter Games, a week-long celebration of traditional games that were once repressed but now are making an important comeback. A website with these narratives will serve as a capstone to the project, but we also hope to bring the Games to Madison schools for a day so that the ENVISION students can share the Games first hand with Madison students. Colin Connors studies in Scandinavian Studies and Comparative Literature and Folklore.
Cultivating Voices and Vegetables
The Brentwood neighborhood Madison is undergoing complex changes in terms of race and class. Through a local organization, Gardens for Empowerment, a group of African-American teens is working to improve Brentwood by building gardens, collecting stories, and much more. This project is designed to help facilitate place-based storytelling, build understanding of the neighborhood’s past, present, and future, and establish meaningful and respectful multi-generational relationships between long-time residents and neighborhood newcomers. Andy Davey studies in the Department of Geography.
Building Community Through Language: An Oral History of Madison's Dual Language Immersion Program
“Building Community Through Language: An Oral History of Madison’s Dual Language Immersion Program” is an oral history project that explores the importance of language in identity and community formation among students and their families. Students at La Follette High School identified as members of Madison’s first dual language immersion cohort will receive training in oral history methodologies and conduct interviews among their families and community members, recording the history of the city’s dual language immersion community. These oral histories will then be presented and preserved as a historical repository of one of Madison’s most recently successful community-led educational initiatives. Sergio Gonzalez studies in the Department of History.
Here I Am: A Mixed Media Portrait Workshop
“Here I Am: A Mixed Media Portrait Workshop” is a semester-long portrait class held at Oakhill Correctional Institution. In this art course, participants will paint, draw, sculpt and collage weekly portraits of themselves that will be displayed at the Madison Public Library in March 2016. We hope that these images will serve as alternatives to the mug shot, an image that too often defines an incarcerated individual, both visually and politically. Spring Greeney studies in the History Department and Elizabeth Scheer in the English Department.
Latin@ Youth Participatory Action Research
This project, [Re]Generación, is a youth research collective of Latin@ youth to explore their identities, schooling experiences, and relevant issues through participatory action research methods. Four youth, formerly of ExpresARTE, will help in the planning and facilitation of activities, particularly during the first semester when youth begin to explore their own stories and decide what issues they’d like to explore further. Finally, youth will learn about different research methods and decide what tool(s) to use to collect their findings amongst each other or in the community and then collectively decide on ways to share their findings with other youth, the community, and other relevant audiences. Julissa Ventura studies in Educational Policy Studies.
Cartonera Crossings: From Cardboard Books to Cultural Identity
Using techniques from cartoneras (cardboard-cover books presses in Latin America, Africa and Europe), and from the program PRE-Texts developed by Doris Sommer, this project will engage with Hispanic students by making low-cost books with recycled, hand-painted cardboard covers, containing stories based on traditional Latin American tales. By talking to their family and community members, the students will collect the stories, put them in writing, translate them into English and format them for publication. These bilingual books produced by the students will be featured in two public exhibits (Cherokee MS and UW-Memorial Library), making the experience a celebration of their identity and Hispanic cultural diversity, and highlighting the positive impact these students can have in their school and the community. Saylin Alvarez studies in Spanish and Portuguese.
Contruyendo Puentes / Community Theater
Contruyendo Puentes/Community Theater intends to bring together Spanish and English language learners to explore space, identity, and citizenship through performance. Theater exercises (vocal and corporal expression, improv, and teatro-foro) will allow group members to develop their acting exercises and consider issues that concern their community. After reading scenes of plays related to citizenship, the group will select a play to study, rehearse, and stage for a community audience. Megan Bailon, Nicole King, and Carly Kragthorpe study in Spanish and Portuguese.
Teatro de los invisibles / Theatre of the Invisible Ones
“Teatro de los invisibles” will provide a space for at-risk teens to explore arts. Our goal is to address the youths’ feelings of invisibility because of poverty, race or sexual orientation. This project supports this goal by connecting them to the larger cultural arts and academic community that the University of Wisconsin-Madison constitutes. Kids will attend different workshops each Saturday that will allow them to develop artistic skills (dance, drawing, theater, costume creation). We believe that by allowing kids to express themselves through different arts and given them access to the resources that the university offers they will develop a sense of belonging and ownership. It will also help them to integrate into the larger academic community. The project will end with a performance that aims to give them full visibility: Strut, a parade performance around the Capitol. Nora Diaz Chavez and Laissa Rodriguez Moreno study in Spanish and Portuguese.
Video Remixing for Media Literacy
Aimed at increasing media literacy among Madison youth, this video remix workshop will empower students to take media texts into their own hands and reshape them to better reflect their perspectives and identities. Students will be taught how to sample and edit video and audio, and in the end will create their own video remixes taking on a particular media text or set of ideas (such as gender, race, body image, consumerism, and more), leading students to reflect on the media, on remixes, and on the process of creating digital content. Students will also learn about copyright and fair use, an important body of knowledge in online environments. Most importantly, students will leave empowered to take matters into their own hands when it comes to their representation in the media. Olivia Conti studies in Communication Arts.
Graphic War: Reading Graphic Novels and Comics War Stories with Veterans
This project is a reading group with veterans, who will discuss graphic novels and comics about war at weekly meetings. “Graphic War” aims to create community among the veterans as well as to help veterans engage with their experiences in a new way. The discussion group will focus on how war and violence are portrayed in graphic narratives, as well as the views towards war, conflict, power, and violence presented in each text. Jessica Gross studies in Comparative Literature and Folklore Studies.
Writing Medicine: Building a Patient Storytelling Community for Madison Seniors
"Writing Medicine" will work with the Madison Senior Center to create a writing workshop where seniors with long-term illnesses or chronic pain can express their stories of illness and their experiences with doctors, hospitals, and healthcare. This project aims to build a safe community in which older adults with long-term illnesses can discuss and write about their experiences, to empower people with long-term illnesses to tell their own stories and shape their own definitions of health and care, and to enhance awareness about the emotional and psychological aspects of dealing with long-term illnesses and pain. Jennifer Maclure studies in English.
Goodman to Garver: Stories of Place on Madison’s East Side
This project will develop a place-based web platform to engage the public in creating and sharing history about local places. Working with the East Side History Club and community groups not traditionally involved with local history programs, Rebecca and Garrett will launch a website for the corridor between the Goodman Community Center and the Garver Feed Mill on Madison’s east side. This platform will offer community members the chance to add their stories to the record of this area’s past and preserve the many memories and different interpretations of history associated with a single place. Garrett Nelson and Rebecca Summer study in Geography.
Wikipedia as a Civic Exercise
Offered as a class within the charter school, this project lets Clark Street students find where their interests fit in building the world’s largest encyclopedia, and, ostensibly, the world’s largest public humanities project. There is a collaborative writing and editing element, but there is also the anonymous dispute resolution, arguments with policy-based rationale and copyright discussion, article content and deletion discussions, and peer review, all the while reading and promulgating the experiences lived and created by humans throughout time. Students will read Wikipedia metadata deeply to understand the nuances beyond the visible text, to appreciate the role of neutral summary and source reliability in our web culture as citizens worldwide create it. Sean Owczarek studies in Educational Policy Studies, Curriculum & Instruction.
Paj Ntaub: Weaving Hmong Women’s Stories across Generations
This project bring together female Hmong university students with older Hmong women from the Madison community to record and/or creatively re-write the gendered refugee experiences of Hmong women while also expressing their contemporary situations. Based conceptually on paj ntaub, the floral-patterned embroidery traditionally sewn by Hmong women, this collection of oral histories interwoven with contemporary reflections aims to provide a space in which Hmong women’s voices are hard, to foster heritage awareness through intergenerational dialogue, to throw light upon the evolving gender roles of Hmong-American women, and to cultivate a Hmong writing consciousness. Jacqulyn Teoh studies in English.
Composing Life Experiences: Connecting and Building Community at the WI Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired
When individuals experience sensory loss, they often must find new means of communication and self-expression. This group aims to provide guidance for people who have experienced vision loss in finding those new means of expression. The group will work toward a culminating project—a collection of life stories--that will educate the public about the “humanness” of people with disabilities, while at the same time building community among people who have been. Annika studies in English/Composition and Rhetoric.
Moving beyond homelessness: storytelling of place and belonging
Homeless families with children are often marginalized or invisible members of the community. Yet just because people are temporarily lacking in a traditional ‘home’ does not mean that place and belonging are not important or relevant – or that their experience and stories are not worth telling and hearing. This project explores storytelling and oral history centered around place, home, and belonging, with children and families who are temporarily homeless, empowering them to share their stories with the rest of the county via community radio on WORT FM. Kaitlyn studies in Zoology, Holtz Center for Science and Technology.
Allied Drive Neighborhood Story Project
Responding to the lack of a sense of community among youth in the Allied Drive neighborhood, the Allied Drive Neighborhood Story Project partners with the Boys and Girls Club to offer a space for youth to develop a sense of shared experience by collecting and telling stories about their community. This project engages high school youth as researchers and writers, inviting them to perform interviews; take photos or video; write narratives; and—most importantly—reflect on their place in the neighborhood, the Madison community, and society more broadly. During weekly meetings, in collaboration with facilitators, youth will brainstorm, give and receive feedback on writing or multimedia compositions, and engage in a rich discussion of their experiences living in—and now documenting—the neighborhood. Christopher and Elisabeth study in English/Composition and Rhetoric.
Madison Zine Workshop
The Madison Zine Workshop will empower students through self-publication. We will use zine-making as an avenue to explore local and personal political issues. The Madison Zine Workshop will engage students through collaboration with one another as well as community partners, and expose them to networks of zinesters around the country. Elizabeth studies in Communication Arts.
Shared Legacy: the South Madison Center for Culture and Community and the History of 633 W. Badger Road
“Shared Legacy” is a project of telling the history of 633 W. Badger Road from the 1830s to the present, and helping the Nehemiah Community Development Corporation make use of this history. Building off archival research completed last year, this project incorporates new stories from ex-offenders and community activists to create a seamless story of a neighborhood’s decline and restoration, to be printed as a booklet. Paul studies in History.
Digital Storytelling at East Madison Community Center
Working with middle and high school-aged students, this project will create a series of four short documentaries highlighting life at the East Madison Community Center and telling stories about their neighborhood, adjacent to Truax Field and MATC. The finished films will be shown at the Madison Children's Museum as part of their ongoing KidShare program. Alexandra studies in the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology.
Beyond Walls: Community, Meaning-Making, and Murals
Graduate students from Prof. Michael Apple’s Friday seminar will collaborate with Centro Hispano and MECHA to engage with a group of community members (Centro constituents) to participate in the development of public community art. In conjunction with community members, we will help facilitate the creation of a “for youth, by youth” mural in Centro Hispano’s new youth center (COMVIDA). In addition to the mural, we will help students create a film documentary documenting the process; we will also work to build a curriculum about developing public, community-based arts. One semester. Eleni Schirmer, Jorge Rodriguez, Katrina Flores study in Curriculum and Instruction.
Making Things Matter: Connecting to Citizenship Through Fandom
In this project, youth will come to see themselves as citizens, people to whom public issues matter and people who can in turn impact issues of public concern. Youth will use a story from a popular book, television show, or movie to understand a complex social or political issue and then take action on that issue. Through this project, popular culture becomes a pathway to public engagement for youth. One semester. Ashley Hinck studies in Communication Arts.
Rewriting Old Texts: Graphic Novel Adaptations of Beowulf, Chaucer, and Shakespeare
This project will introduce high school students to early English literature through graphic novel adaptations. We hope that these adaptations will make the texts more accessible to these readers, and that questions and problems related to the process of adaptation will encourage our participants to think about the resonances between these texts and contemporary life. Finally, the project will encourage our participants to explore literary creation and adaptation by putting together their own, short graphic adaptations. One semester. Josh Brazee and Chelsea Avirett study in English.
Dismantling the Myth of Individualism on the Outdoor Tradition of the Upper Midwest
I plan to conduct fieldwork with a diverse spectrum of rural Wisconsinites who practice subsistence in the modern world. I aim to demonstrate how these traditions, historically associated with “rugged individualism,” additionally reflect of anti-capitalist, anti-modernist, and collectivist worldviews. I will develop this fieldwork for two museum exhibitions currently in development, and for the Here at Home cultural tour for Wisconsin K-12 teachers, thereby working within the schools to set into motion a shift in the identity politics of rural working families. Two semesters. Tim Frandy studies in Scandinavian Studies.
Performing Media/Performing Ourselves brings together young girls from the Madison area aged 9-14. Over the course of the project the girls will discuss issues of media representations of women and girls, while learning performance techniques and other forms of artistic expression. The project will culminate in a theatrical performance based on the work and content developed in these sessions. One semester. Liz Foster-Shaner studies in Theater and Drama.
Poetry Circle aims at connecting our interests and passions about poetry with the Madison community. If poetry is an art about the values, questions, concerns and passions of a community, it must be practiced in a forum that bridges occupational, age, class and ethnic differences. I hope to offer such a bridge with this project. Two semesters. Angela Zito studies in English.
Media Literacy and Engagement for High School Students
My project will help high school students become critical consumers of and contributors to news media. I would like them to come to understand how the news media works and how they can join the conversation. I hope that by helping them break down the barriers of relevance and engagement that stand in the way of young people’s interest in news, they will become lifelong critical consumers of news and contributors to democracy. One semester. Magda Konieczna studies in Journalism and Mass Communications.
Life in Literature
The Life in Literature project is the latest version of what began as a 2005 partnership between UW-Madison graduate students and Oakhill. Now in its seventh year as a weekly literature and creative writing group, it will be focused around readings that will ask such questions as how a place influences people, why and how it does so, how people respond to their location, and why place is important to people in the first place? Much of the reading will come from Eastern European literary traditions, although we also will look at several works of American and British literature. Zach Rewinski studies in Slavic Languages and Literature.
Imagining Citizenship: Your Space and Place, At Home and in the World
This project seeks to empower young adults to think critically about the idea of citizenship today and, most importantly, to understand and problematize their role as young citizens of the United States and the world. The project will require students to critically engage a selected cross-section of readings—from the founding documents until today—that overtly or implicitly define or engage the idea of citizenship. We will attempt to arrive at multiple definitions of citizenship based on these texts. Natalie Belisle studies in Spanish and Portuguese.
“Scene” and Heard: Drama for Adult English Learners
In the “Scene and Heard” project, adult English Learners at Madison College’s Center for College Preparedness and Academic Advancement (CPAAC) will take part in a weekly writing and acting workshop and create a drama about their lives and/or personal experiences. This project is based on the ideas that arts-based, social justice-oriented pedagogy can both meaningfully engage students and help unite students and teachers in a larger creative community. This project provides a critical opportunity for English Language Learners (and their teachers) to participate in a project that develops academic skills (writing and reading fluency and expression) and fosters creativity and expression. Anneliese Cannon studies in Curriculum & Instruction.
Literature Beyond Bars: Creative Communities for Newly Released Prisoners
This project aims to create a literary environment for newly released prisoners in the Madison area. We intend to offer a course that combines creative writing, fictional and non-fictional reading for our participants, so they may continue working creatively as they did in prison. The project is an extension of our projects we completed through the Public Humanities Exchange program (formerly HEX) in 2010. Colleen Lucey studies in Slavic Languages and Literature, and Janelle Pulczinski in Comparative Literature.
Telling Life Stories
The proposed “Telling Life Stories” group will offer a semester-long workshop for persons with aphasia in the Aphasia Self Help Group to compose life-story projects expressing their personalities and experiences, before and after acquiring aphasia. Aphasia, or difficulty with expressing and/or comprehending language, is usually caused by stroke and damages not intelligence or memory, but self-identity and social interaction. In this life-story group, participants will compose multi-modal texts of drawings, photographs, personal artifacts, words, and writing, harnessing the power of story-telling to develop individuals’ ideas and identity as they enrich, and are enriched by, the stories of others. Elisabeth Miller studies in English Composition and Rhetoric.
Life in Literature: Fiction and Creative Writing
We will offer weekly classes on Eastern European literature to prisoners at Oakhill Correctional Institution based on the theme “Literature in Life.” These classes will be team-taught by a rotating group of two graduate students from the Slavic Department (Jose Vergara, Jesse Stavis) and a graduate student from the Creative Writing program. By continuing to incorporate fiction and creative writing, we hope to develop prisoners’ critical reading and writing skills in each class and offer a safe space for the inmates to share their work without fear of reprisal. Jesse Stavis and Jose Vergara study in Slavic Languages and Literature.
Mary enriches the UW Hospital environment for patients, families, health care providers and staff through live music while providing music students with an opportunity for community service and professional performing experience. Mary Perkinson studies in Music.
Blogging 101 at the Madison Senior Center
Annie and Emily help area seniors create and maintain web memoirs. By creating their own sites, seniors will not only become more familiar with the internet, but will also help establish a community with similar interests that can last beyond the semester. Annie Massa-MacLeod studies in English Composition and Rhetoric, and Emily Blem in Computer Sciences.
Making Memories Matter
Trini hosts a workshop with participants from the senior citizen community (age 55+) which explores the import of historical, social, and cultural contexts across the lifespan. In the course participants engage in discussions about past experiences, film, writing, and songs as they create a multi-modal autobiographical memoir or historical memoir. Trini Stickle studies in English Language and Linguistics.
Environmental Consciousness Organization
Lucas, Sara, and Danielle run a weekly after-school environmental club at Black Hawk Middle School. The club raises environmental awareness and fosters development of an environmental ethos through hands-on learning, action, reflection, and outreach. Lucas Moyer-Horner studies in Zoology, Sara Yeo in Life Science Communication, and Danielle Warthen in English.
Poetry to the People
Emily, Max, and Todd meet weekly with participants from St. Mary’s Adult Day Health Center, where they discuss a broad range of poetry from various time periods keeping minds active and stimulated. Emily Madsen, Max Rankenburg, Todd Goddard study in English-Literary Studies.
Madison Academic Action Exchange (MAAX)
David continues a project originally launched in 2004, bringing UW-Madison freshmen into a creative writing classroom at East High School for collaborative discussions about self-expression and the craft of writing. David Plastrik studies in English.
Community and Memory at East High School
Frank, Cam and Robbie work with students at East High School using a variety of primary sources to explore the broader history of the country and state through the lens of the students’ local school. Frank Honts studies in History of Education, Cam Scribner in Education Policy STudies, and Robbie Gross in History of Education.
Russian Theater Reading Group
Colleen continues a HEX project developed by Naomi Olson in 2009 for inmates at Oakhill Correctional Institute to develop critical communication skills through reading and writing. Students analyze plays by Russian and Eastern European authors, drawing on the literary devices in these texts and using them as a reference point for their own writing. Colleen Lucey studies in Slavic Languages and Literature.
Books Beyond Our Bars! Afro-American Studies and Fiction Reading Groups at Oakhill Correctional
Janelle and Laurel engage inmates in conversations around historically and artistically critical texts. While the texts for both classes will be accessible for a wide range of students, themes will encourage conversation around subjects such as race, class, loss and family. Janelle Pulczinski studies in Comparative Literature and Laurel Bastian is a UW Writing Fellow.
Brian leads a participatory reading group dedicated to reading Shakespeare’s plays out loud. Participants take turns reading with interspersed discussion and reflection. Brian Knight studies in English.
Narratives of Health Diversity
Matt converses and collaborates with medically underserved patients from Access Community Health Center in Madison to produce a written or recorded series of testimonials about those health-related topics that are most important to them. Matt Kearney studies in Sociology.
Finding our Voices
Valerie leads a workshop with high school students on Madison's near east side. During the workshop, participants read selections from literary and journalistic writing, and practice writing their own pieces, with a focus on developing a personal, critical perspective. The project is particularly geared toward a reflection on gender and the environments that shape individuals’ lives. Valerie Klorman Sorenson studies in Spanish and Portuguese.
Literacy Narratives and Community Engagement
David’s service learning class at the University of Wisconsin collaborates with ESL populations at the Literacy Network to create an anthology of literacy narratives to be distributed locally. David Paul Hudson studies in English.
Finding a Voice
Mary ran a writing workshop for the survivors of domestic abuse. This workshop aimed to provide a safe, non-violent space for survivors of abuse to discover the voice within that may have been silenced due to a pattern of ill-treatment. Participants explore questions of identity, the weight of the past, and the promise of the future. Mary Claypool studies in French and Italian.
Oakhill Prison Russian Literature Reading Group
Naomi will lead the Oakhill Prison Russian Literature Reading Group. She seeks to enhance inmates’ critical communication skills through the reading and discussing of 19th and 20th century Russian short stories. These stories will provide an opportunity for the inmates to exchange ideas about life, art and experience. Naomi Olson studies in Slavic Languages and Literature.
Corruption in US History: Lessons for Today
Michael aims to combine history and civics through a multidisciplinary curriculum that focuses on corruption in Wisconsin. He emphasizes a hands-on approach to history in which students research a topic of their choice, collaborate with one another, and present their project to a public audience. Michael hopes that by practicing the craft of history through the theme of corruption, students will also improve their critical thinking, writing, and public speaking skills. Ultimately, the goal of his project is to help a younger generation to realize their role as citizens in promoting a healthy democracy. Michael Kwas studies in History.
Telling Our Stories: Southeast Asian Refugee Youths in Madison
The “Telling Our Stories in Madison” project is intended to mentor high school youth to discuss and creatively write about their parents’ history and how their family came to Madison, Wisconsin. The project addresses daily challenges and rewards the youth experience growing up, and creates a space to share their future aspirations and goals. Stories, poetry, photographs and sound clips will emerge from the writing workshops facilitated by campus graduate students and community educators and culminate in a web anthology launch scheduled for May 2010, which coincides with Asian American Heritage Month. The Telling Our Stories Committee is comprised of Dinh Le, Aline Lo, Vanessa Merina, Mytoan Nguyen, Hong Tran, Soumary Vongrassamy, and many other contributors. (Become a fan of "Telling Our Stories in Madison" through facebook). Mytoan Nguyen studies in Sociology.
Reading, Writing and Relating LGBTQ Narratives
Kristina aims to foster both interpersonal and textual dialogues in a safe and open environment for all members of Madison’s LGBTQ community. Participants in Reading Writing and Relating LGBTQ Narratives will exchange ideas about LGBTQ-authored literary texts, produce personal narratives in oral and/or written forms and engage in conversations about our lived experiences as LGBTQ people. This workshop will provide a space for both the reading and writing of LGBTQ narratives while foregrounding the importance of relating to each other without obscuring our differences. Kristina Kosnick studies in French and Italian.
Madison Cartonera: Making Books out of Cardboard
Djurdja Trajkovic will lead a workshop with high school students at Goodman Community Center on how to make and publish cheap books out of recycled materials such as cardboard. The culmination of project is creating an alternative publishing house that will reflect students’ ideas expressed in the manifest written during the workshops. Djurdja Trajkovic studies in Spanish and Portuguese.
Patricia Rengel will collaborate with Spanish speaking students at West High School to create podcasts in Spanish which celebrate their Latino identity. These podcasts are audio identity essays where the students talk about their language, culture and heritage. The “vozayos” (“voz” is voice and “ensayo” is essay in Spanish) will be posted on the school website so that students who are learning Spanish can not only hear authentic language but also learn more about their school community. Vozayos addresses gaps among Spanish speakers as well as Spanish language learners so that a stronger school culture can flourish. Patricia Rengel studies in Spanish and Portuguese.
Sense-ational Wright is an interactive and multimedia mapping project based at Wright Middle School. Emma and Andrew work with students to survey various layers of their schoolyard, including its visual and audio features, its cultural history, and its biological diversity. Throughout the project, students will collaborate with one another and invited guests to draw maps, record sound clips, survey vegetation, and interview local experts. Andrew Stuhl studies in History of Science and Emma Schroeder in Geography.
Battles and Beats: Musical Constructions of Wartime and Crisis
Anya works with high school students in William Gibson's 10th-grade World History class to include music into lessons about war, conflict, and current events. Through journal-writing exercises, an in-class conference, and a high school orchestra concert programming wartime music, students not only learn the value of interdisciplinary work, but improve both their writing and public speaking skills. They also learn how music constructs ideas about nationalities, race, gender, and other identities, especially in times of war and other conflicts. Anya Holland-Barry studies in Musicology.
The Poetry Circle
The Poetry Circle aims first and foremost to create ongoing opportunities for the lively discussion of poetry. John plans to create a group who will read and discuss a variety of poetry selections, generating a dialogue both between the members of the poetry group and between the different texts, forms, and genres they encounter and respond to. Part of the philosophy behind this program is that poetry, too often thought of as a solitary pursuit for both writer and reader, often emerges from distinct communities, speaks to questions of community, and can be the starting place for new community interactions. Ideally the program will bring together a range of perspectives in its discussions, for instance combining students and adults in the community. John Bradley studies in English and Christopher Syrnyk in English Composition and Rhetoric.
BodyTalk Teens: Encountering Others, Becoming Ourselves
Olivia, Hannah and Annie lead seventh-graders at Georgia O’Keeffe Middle School through a series of interactive workshops. Students will critically consider how popular culture, personal relationships, and social situations shape their identities. The skills they practice here will enable them to initiate and contribute to unique discussions in their families, neighborhoods, schools and greater communities. Olivia Donaldson studies in French, Hannah Nyala West in History, and Annie Kaatz in Comparative Literature and the School of Public Health.
English PhD candidate Mark Lounibos works with UW-Madison students to provide a series of intergenerational workshops on life-writing for elderly and low-income participants at the Madison Senior Center. The workshops consider various strategies for producing life-writing and then offer opportunities for participants to read, reflect, revise and ultimately publish their work in a digital format. This community building project intends to empower all participants and construct stronger links between students and residents.
Stephanie and Liz plan to promote literacy skills for women who have been marginalized, disenfranchised, or devalued, namely women of Madison's LGBT community. Using multiple forms of life-writing—short stories, graphic novels, documentaries, magazine articles, and television programs—Liz and Stephanie will promote critical reading skills coupled with the ability to recognize the diverse forms that self-expression, and expression of difference, can take. Stephanie Youngblood and Liz Vine study in English-Literary Studies.
Brett White, PhD student in Spanish and Portuguese, established Teatro Taller, a bilingual Spanish-English after-school theatre project for young people. Working with students at Nuestro Mundo Community School, the taller (workshop) participants focus on activities that revolve around what theatre is and how our bodies and voices work with space and with others to construct new places, perspectives, and identities. In Teatro Taller we will choose a Spanish or bilingual Spanish-English play, preferably one with a focus on social justice, to stage for a community audience. The project will utilize group discussion, physical movement, and set, costume and stage design to explore identity.
Hablemos! Let's Talk!
Tessa will develop a humanities-based curriculum to facilitate a language exchange program between English and Spanish speakers at Quann Community Garden, where she has gardened for the past two years. Assembling a variety of texts—- short stories, poetry, news articles, and other short pieces of writing—- that are translated into English and Spanish, Tessa hopes to provide functional connections among conversation partners. The relationships that grow out of these conversations will help strengthen Quann Garden’s grassroots leadership, build community among a multicultural group of gardeners, and potentially found deeper, personal relationships. Tessa Desmond studies in English.
Digital Literacy Redux: Authority and Ownership of Information
Fred plans to create an online forum for high school students across Madison, with the goal of fostering critical engagement with the digital world. Covering topics such as historic “media revolutions,” and contemporary issues of ownership and legitimacy with regard to the growing amount of data at our fingertips, Fred’s project will facilitate discussion about how we interact with digital information and online resources. Frederick Gibbs studies in the History of Science.
The Writing Food Project
Rebecca brings together University of Wisconsin-Madison writing students and Madison community food organizations to create texts about food. Students and community partners share histories, ideas, and research about food issues like hunger, local gardens and farming, food prices, and food education, and together write texts to be published and used by local food organizations. The Writing Food Project both provides support for local nonprofits and real-world writing application for students, and also helps all of those involved develop further connections to their communities and local food systems. Rebecca Lorimer studies in English.
The AIDS Network Writing Workshop
Maria facilitates a writing workshop at the AIDS Network of Wisconsin that enhances awareness of how the AIDS epidemic has impacted people’s lives and helps deconstruct the stigma that surrounds the disease. Maria envisions her project as an adult writing class that provides a safe space to discuss, process, and write about the experience of being HIV positive. The AIDS Network is a nonprofit organization that supports clients in south central Wisconsin with medical, legal, emotional, social and educational outreach. Maria Bibbs studies in English.
Finding a Voice
Mary runs a writing workshop for the survivors of domestic abuse. This workshop aims to provide a safe, non-violent space for survivors of abuse to discover the voice within that may have been silenced due to a pattern of ill-treatment. Participants explore questions of identity, the weight of the past, and the promise of the future. Mary Claypool studies in French and Italian.
Team Survivor Kabaret
Julie rehearsed and presented an original variety show with female cancer patients and survivors. The exercise and community-building program of short dances, songs, monologues, and skits was devised through structured improvisation and storytelling with the goal of bringing Julie's training in community performance and her research in American burlesque to the Team Survivor support program in Madison. Julie Vogt studies in Theater and Drama.
Young Playwrights Collaborative
Shannon established the Young Playwrights Collaborative. Playwriting, as a creative writing discipline, lends itself to educational workshops. It is portable, malleable, and offers immediate, live reactions from audience members. Young Playwrights challenges and encourages students to use theatre and performance as mediums in which to explore and express their unique visions of the world. As a HEX project, Young Playwrights taught students at East High School to write short plays. Now, Young Playwrights has placed teaching artists in five schools (Sherman Middle, Monona Grove Alternative, Madison East HS, Edgewood HS and Middleton HS) and has partnered with Madison Repertory Theatre to present an annual Young Playwrights Festival at the Overture Center in Madison. At the festival, local and professional directors and actors work closely with the young playwrights. The resulting event is a staged reading/performance for the community. Shannon Blake Skelton studies in Theater and Drama.
Jenni led East High School students on an interdisciplinary exploration of female musicians' contributions to American cultural history via the creation of a radio series for WORT 89.9 FM Madison. Jenni Veitch-Olson studies in Musicology.
MAAX: Madison Academic and Athletic Exchange
Through a collaboration between his English 100 class and the East High School Writing Center, CREW, Justin fostered an ongoing dialogue on the role of athletics and academics in university and national culture. This project was founded by English PhD candidate Will Rogers in 2005. Justin Kolb studies in English.
Toki Talks: After-school Journalism Program
Cathy worked with youth at Toki Middle School to learn to craft fact-based stories that took a variety of forms, including written, audio, and visual. During weekly meetings, students developed and built on a variety of skills, including journalism processes, research, and creative and critical thinking. Cathy DeShano studies in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
Identity and Violence in the New Columbian Narrative
Beatriz engaged Madison’s Latino community with literary works of art that originated in Spanish-speaking countries. Beatriz partnered with Centro Hispano and involved Latino adults in reading short stories from well-known Latin American authors in order to familiarize community members with academic endeavors; improve their quality of life through the consumption of cultural goods; and provide tools to interpret and cherish their cultural heritage. Beatriz L. Botero studies in Spanish and Portuguese.
Bimbisar brought together community members in a monthly reading group at the Sequoya Public Library to discuss and analyze American immigration and experiences of crossing borders. The project utilized a variety of texts, including fiction and graphic novels, to facilitate a discussion of these concerns. Bimbisar Irom studies in English.
The Prison Writing Workshop
In 2005, English PhD candidate Ray Hsu established a creative writing community at Oakhill Correctional Institution where inmates read, discussed, and published their work. They also established an essay-writing tutorial service that helped inmates earn their High School Equivalency Diplomas. In 2007-2008, English PhD candidate Emma Snyder brought a narrative focus to the creative writing community at Oakhill while maintaining the previous programs. Emma Snyder studies in English.
150 Years of Black Wisconsin
Jarett collected information from around Wisconsin about African Americans from the last 150 years. He compiled the information into a pictorial exhibit and online resource for Wisconsin's educational institutions and libraries, particularly the America's Black Holocaust Museum in Milwaukee. Jarett Fields studies in History.
Sankofa: Hip-Hop Culture, Literacy, and Youth Empowerment Project
Eric used a study of hip-hop culture to help young people of color develop skills of critical and creative writing so as to become more expressive about cultural and ethnic complexity in Madison. His project culminated in a one-day symposium featuring spoken word, hip-hop dance performance by Crushin' All Force high school dance troupe, and a talk by Prof. Gwendolyn Pough on "Women, Rap and Hip-Hop Feminism." Eric Pritchard studies in English.
The Prison Writing Workshop
Ray and Marianne founded a writer's community and GED/HSED tutorial service for incarcerated men at Oakhill. Writers would workshop their writings, particularly poetry, and reflect on social justice issues, and participants were able to recite some of their work on a local radio program. The tutorial service helped prisoners with the essay writing portion of the state High School Equivalency Diploma. This project later became a service-learning course in the UW-Madison English department. Ray Hsu and Marianne Erhardt study in English and Creative Writing.
Tangibly Accessing the Past
Crystal encouraged East High School students to think about new methods of looking at the past, using primary materials (women's cookbooks from the Civil Rights era) from the Wisconsin Historical Society to study black women's activism during the Civil Rights Movement. For a capstone project, students published their own historical cookbook, having gathered recipes from family members. Crystal Moten studies in Afro-American Studies and English.
Bridging the Atlantic Divide through Reading and Writing
Nmachi led East High School students in a study of African literature, with the Nigerian novel Purple Hibiscus as an example of the complex interrelation of writer with local and international audiences. Students were able to meet the author due to a project collaboration with the 2007 Wisconsin Book Festival. Nmachika Nwokeabia studies in English.
Civil Rights Movie Project
Jeremy worked with fifth-grade students at Thoreau Elementary School to write and film a bi-lingual English-Spanish documentary on the Civil Rights Movement. In the film, students share insights they have gained about the history of civil rights in the U.S. and about racial discrimination in their lives. Jeremy Holiday studies in Languages and Cultures of Asia.
Abigail and Jarett helped students at in Pierre Abarca's 7th-grade class at Wright Middle School gain a more complete and nuanced understanding of contemporary Africa. Students listened to African music, ate African food, and learned about life is like for schoolchildren their age in different parts of the African continent. Abigail Neely and Jarett Fields study in Geography and History)
Middle School Magazine Writing Project
Jeanette worked with Wright Middle School students to analyze media and consider how their communities are represented. These efforts culminated in the creation of a student magazine reflecting students' critical reading, writing, and thinking skills. Jeanette Tran studies in English.
Rethinking the Spanish American Short Story
Paula worked with Spanish classes at West High School to prepare students for college-level literary interpretation and critical writing. Students read short stories and cultural theory in their original Spanish, including the works of Jorge Luis Borges, Julio Cortazar, and Augusto Monterroso, and others. Paula Di Dio studies in Spanish and Portuguese.
Madison Desi Reading Group
In 2005-2006, English PhD candidate Lucienne Loh established the HEX project Madison Desi Reading Group (see below for more). In 2006-2007, Anthropology PhD candidate Krista Coulson took over the project and brought together Madison residents of South Asian descent to present "Four Conversations on South Asian Literature," a series of public discussions on Indian authors and books. The informing objective for the "Four Conversations" events was twofold: To raise awareness of South Asians' presence in Madison's community in a way that is engaging for all participants; and to share the model for a reading group in hopes that it would foster discussion and sharing on other topics and regions. Note: The Madison Desi Reading Group is funded in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Humanities Council, which funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the State of Wisconsin. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this project do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Krista Coulson studies in Anthropology.
MAAX: Madison Academic and Athletic Exchange
Will brought together students from his English 100 class, UW student athletes, and East high school students at the East High Writing Center to foster an ongoing dialogue on the role of athletics and academics in university and national culture. Will Rogers studies in English.
Girls' Media and Literacy Project
Tracy developed a project that candidly addressed the pressures created by modern media and historic literature on teen girls' gender, body and femininity. Tracy Wendt Lemaster studies in English.
Beyond Sushi and Samurai
Laura led a series of workshops on cross-cultural learning through art brought new depth to West High School students' studies of Japanese culture by incorporating visits to the Chazen Museum to view 19th century Japanese prints and images. The workshops exposed students to new methods of studying history and culture through the use of visual materials. Laura Meuller studies in Art History.
Community Museum Outreach Project
Lindsey worked with the DeForest Area Historical Society to create innovative educational programming for the Hansen-Newell-Bennett House and DeForest Public Library that encouraged interactive touring and learning, especially with local elementary students. Lindsey Housel studies in Environment, Textiles and Design.
HarrietandLeone PATRIOT Act Project
Kerstin developed a website, HarriertandLeone.com, to encourage citizens to read and discuss the PATRIOT Act, and established a PATRIOT Act discussion group. Kerstin Schaars studies in Comparative Literature.
Media Literacy Project
Cydney and Keith drew together teens in Madison's Neighborhood House to help them develop the critical thinking and writing skills needed to understand the cultural and socioeconomic impact of the media. Cydney Alexis studies in English and the UW Law School; Keith Woodhouse studies in History.
Planet Rap: Local Music, Global Community
In line with his research on the international role of Hip-Hop, especially in Berlin and Paris, Griff organized a project and wrote a script for Madison Public Access Television, introducing both the history and the current international role of Hip-Hop music to Madison youth. Griff Rollefson studies in Musicology.