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Open Access Publications from the University of California

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Cover page of Archiving as Social Justice Practice&nbsp;<strong>|&nbsp;</strong>Summer 2022 Studio Course

Archiving as Social Justice Practice Summer 2022 Studio Course


Instructor: Lincoln Cushing

Term: Summer 2022

Course #: HUM C132 / ENVDES C132

Why Read This Case Study?

Undergraduates often do not carry out independent archival research until they take upper-division courses, if at all. What would be the impact of introducing incoming freshmen, particularly students who are the first in their families to attend college, to the joys and challenges of handling archival documents?

In Archiving as Social Justice Practice, professional archivist Lincoln Cushing taught students not just to use archives but to help create them. Following field trips to the storied archives of the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley as well as to community-based archives, students helped process materials that became part of the Freedom Archives, a long-established grassroots archive in Berkeley. They handled, selected, and digitized historic protest posters and attached metadata, learning important concepts about the practice of history in the process.

The course was supported by Future Histories Lab and offered as part of the Summer Bridge program, which welcomes students from diverse backgrounds, including students of color, low-income, and first-generation students to the college experience in the summer before their freshman fall semester. In their reflections offered in this case study, students said the experience changed the course of their undergraduate careers.

Students who were not even sure they were allowed inside the Bancroft gained the confidence to feel that university resources were theirs. STEM-oriented students gained an understanding of the importance of the humanities; humanities students began to understand history as a discipline; and students oriented toward activism connected their concerns for the future with an appreciation for the need to understand the past.

Cover page of <strong>Public Art and Social Justice: Mapping Mural Art and Narratives&nbsp;|&nbsp;</strong>Summer 2021 Studio Course

Public Art and Social Justice: Mapping Mural Art and Narratives | Summer 2021 Studio Course


Instructor: Pablo Gonzalez

Term: Summer 2021

Course #: HUM 132AC / ENV DES 132AC / ETHSTD 190AC

Why read this case study?

How can new technologies encourage students to observe, research, analyze, and share knowledge about urban environments? Can mapping public protest art and creating augmented reality projects and podcasts inspire students to ask deep questions about power, race, and privilege in urban neighborhoods?

In the wake of protests following the 2020 murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, thousands of people gathered in overwhelmingly peaceful protests in Oakland, as across the country. Fearing unrest, many building owners in commercial districts covered ground-floor storefront windows with plywood.

Local artists used this plywood as canvases to express their outrage and resistance to racism and state violence. These temporary murals were important records of a historic moment when the Black Lives Matter movement gained new visibility.

However, within a year, many of the murals had been whitewashed or the plywood they were on was removed.

In order to preserve the meaning and memory of this protest art, students in Dr. Pablo Gonzalez’ Summer 2021 course Public Art and Social Justice: Mapping Mural Art and Narratives used photographs of these ephemeral murals to create a virtual public gallery of this important art. The students in this class, which was supported by Future Histories Lab (part of the Global Urban Humanities Initiative) mapped the art and created augmented reality projects that allowed people visiting the storefronts to use their smartphones to see images of the murals that had been removed.

The students also tracked down and interviewed a number of the artists and created podcasts and audio clips for the augmented reality project that convey the artists’ intentions to future generations.

The gallery, augmented reality projects, and podcasts can be accessed through links in this case study.

Cover page of <strong>Siteworks: Understanding Place through Design and Performance |&nbsp;</strong>Spring 2018 Studio Course

Siteworks: Understanding Place through Design and Performance | Spring 2018 Studio Course


Instructors: Ghigo di Tommaso (Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning), Erika Chong Shuch (Theater, Dance & Performance Studies), Susan Moffat (Global Urban Humanities Initiative)

Term: Spring 2018

Course #: 

Why Read This Case Study?

This case study of the course Siteworks: Understanding Place through Design and Performance may be useful to teachers of urban studies, architecture, landscape architecture, design, theater, dance, and multiple humanities disciplines. This interdisciplinary research studio course combined landscape architecture methods including site analysis, mapping, graphic representation and oral presentation; performance methods including sensory immersion, embodied exercises, and engagement with an audience; and humanities methods including writing and interpretation.

This case study explains the steps of site analysis, research, and iteration that led to the creation of a site-based performance that aimed to share the students’ undertanding of the site with an invited audience.

It describes the ways that three instructors from the fields of performance, landscape architecture, and urban planning team-taught a course with undergraduates from majors including architecture, computer science, development studies, and political science.

The conclusions of the case study include:

• Place-based, project-based learning encourages students to road-test concepts in a concrete fashion that may have greater staying power than book learning alone.

• Fieldwork can be useful in arts and humanities education.

• Design students benefit from exercises that deepen awareness of social factors.

• Collaborative, hands-on projects provide training in teamwork and time management for students and graduate teaching assistants that is useful both inside and outside academia.

• Writing exercises associated with project- based learning produce critical thinking of a quality that might not have been achieved without the place-based, hands-on work.

Cover page of <strong>Art+Village+City in the Pearl River Delta&nbsp;</strong>|&nbsp;Spring 2015 Studio course

Art+Village+City in the Pearl River Delta | Spring 2015 Studio course


Instructors: Margaret Crawford (Architecture) and Winnie Wong (Rhetoric)

GSI: Abingo Wu

Term: Spring 2015

Course #: Architecture 209 / Rhetoric 250

Why Read This Case Study?

South China’s Pearl River Delta has long been home to thriving ‘art villages’ – quasi-autonomous local jurisdictions that control their own land – whose economies are anchored by practicing artists producing replica oil paintings for sale around the world. Although the expanding metropolitan Shanghai has enveloped these villages over time, they have maintained their identities and economies based on art reproduction and global markets sales. 

The graduate research studio, Art+Village+City, was led by Professor of Architecture Margaret Crawford and Professor of Rhetoric and History of Art Winnie Wong. The studio included students from a variety of disciplines including anthropology, Asian and East Asian studies, art history, art practice, architecture, city planning and landscape architecture. Students thus came to the course with a wide range of expertise and theoretical perspectives, creating an ideal environment for learning across disciplines. 

Using a range of research methods, the studio examined the historical development of art villages, their current political and economic circumstances, and how their arts-based village economies have shaped the local cultures and built environments over time. Students delved into the history and social organization of art villages, screened interviews with artists from art villages held by the Asia Art Archive, and produced videos of a local Chinese site, East Pacific Mall in Oakland. They were introduced to ethnographic methods and the use of photography in field work. Students then spent two weeks traveling to Hong Kong, and then into the Pearl River Delta, exploring such urban art villages as Dafen, Baishizhou, and Xiaozhou, as well as experimental art spaces Vitamin Creative Space and Handshake 302. Returning to Berkeley, they worked with SHIMURAbros (as researchers at Studio Olafur Eliasson), Sascha Pohle, Jing Wen, and José Figueroa to create an outstanding exhibit in Bauer-Wurster Gallery which then traveled to Shanghai.