Fall 2015 concludes with performances and events featuring research, civic engagement, and artistic collaboration

December 20, 2015

Fall Showcase: 111 Stories & ILO Projects

On Monday, December 7, the RCAH hosted its annual fall showcase feautring 111 Stories and Integrated Language Option projects.

RCAH freshmen exhibited their projects from their Writing Transcultural Contexts courses, which dealt with a number of topics including storytelling, race, community and music. 

Emma Smith’s project featured a series of Photoshopped images comparing the Civil Rights Movement with current events. Smith overlaid recent images from the riots in Ferguson on images from the 1960s demonstrations.

She said her project is a contrast of the present and the past.  

“It was really eye-opening,” Smith said. “People say the Civil Rights Movement hasn’t ended, and personally, I think there are still inequalities between the races in our country.”

Daz’Janic Johnson read an original poem called “Consent In-Between,” which detail’s Johnson’s personal experience in a relationship.    

“It’s the things how I felt when I first met her,” she said. “We got closer and started hanging out more and we both had a mutual feeling but we never took what we had for each other to the next level because of the things she felt. She’s insecure and she thinks a lot about other people’s judgement.”

Johnson said the class and the project has completely transformed the way she thinks about consent.

“Even though you think you know about consent, when you have the class you learn so much more. You come to realize consent is in your everyday life. You ask for something, it’s consent. It helps you to inform people about consent,” Johnson said.

Jessica Clark’s project consisted of a book for children and a parent companion piece. The tale of Domino the Donkey details ways for children and parents to have difficult conversations about race.

The project had a personal connection for Clark. Because she grew up in a racially homogenous area, Clark said she had little experience with diversity. She wanted to help children learn that differences in skin tones aren’t a negative thing.

Overall, the class helped her to learn a lot about herself.

“It really encourages you to look into yourself and question why do you believe what you do,” Clark said.

Language students shared their projects in the LookOut! Gallery. This year, students studied Arabic, American Sign Language, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Vietnamese, French, Chinese and Swahili through Integrated Language Options.

RCAH sophomore Madeline Aulicino studied Arabic. Her project focused on the education system in Tunisia. She said it was interesting to compare and contrast the education system between the United States and Tunisia.

“People invest a lot in education in Tunisia. It’s a much bigger deal than it is here. They really want to find a way to get better,” she said.

Previously, Aulicino had taken other Arabic classes, but she said the ILO helped her to become much more confident in her speaking skills.

See more photos from the Fall Showcase here.

Arts Now! Celebration

On Tuesday, December 8, RCAH students and a number of community partners gathered in the LookOut! Gallery to celebrate their work with Arts Now!, a civic engagement course designed by RCAH Professor Diane Newman.

Arts Now! pairs RCAH students with organizations like the Wharton Institute, Happendance, WKAR-TV, and All-of-us Express Children’s Theater. Throughout the semester, the students shadowed their respective organizations and assisted with a number of tasks, including event planning, data entry, and fundraising.

Having been involved in the Lansing arts scene for a long time, Newman and her colleague, Beth Post, decided they wanted to create a course about the challenges facing arts organizations.

“On a state and national level, government agencies that help fund arts nonprofits, like the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts, were experiencing massive cuts to their budgets. We felt it our duty to make RCAH students aware of the issue of arts accessibility in education and society,” Newman said.

Newman feels the course is particularly useful for students who want to continue working in the arts.  

“(It’s) real-life, hands-on experience in the workforce that they will be able to use in their careers,” she said. 

See more photos from the celebration here and view a video about Arts Now! here.

World Peace Game

On Thursday, December 10, a group of RCAH students and faculty, 12 Crossroads students from Ingham Academy,  and a number of community partners  gathered in the RCAH LookOut! Gallery to play the Crossroads Peace Games.

RCAH students Mackenzie Stewart, Lauren St. George, Jake Arens, Daz’Janic Johnson, David Myckowiak, and Cameron Hatcher participated in the Peace Games through Dean Stephen Esquith’s RCAH 202 course.

The object of the game is to solve the problem, but not at the unfair expense of one of the nations. Players have roles, resources and budgets that they can use to solve the crises. They have time to negotiate within and between states, and can make use of things like the media or the courts to publicize and solve their issues. Sometimes, unforeseen forces like the weather or sabotage can upset the players’ plans.

In this particular playing of the games, the RCAH and Crossroads students had to solve a water pollution problem between the three “states,” Ruralia, Suburbia, and Centralia.

The Peace Games first came to RCAH in 2013 with John Hunter, a world renowned educator. Hunter created the original World Peace Games, and helped RCAH faculty adapt the game to local issues. Since then, the project has expanded to a number of organizations in the Lansing area and has reached as far as the country of Mali.

Joel and the Bonnies - Appalachian String Band Concert

On Thursday, December 10, RCAH Professor Chris Scales' Appalachian String Band class gave a performance in Snyder Phillips Hall. The setlist included classic Appalachian folk songs, including "Daniel Prayed," "I'm Troubled," "Your Long Journey," "Dark as a Dungeon," "The Devil's Nine Questions," "Over the Waterfall/The Girl I Left Behind Me," "Banks of the Ohio," "Pretty Fair Maid," "Blackest Crow," "Crawdad," "I'll Fly Away," and "Angel Band." 

RCAH senior Emily Riesterer plays guitar. She said she has been interested in Appalachian culture and music for a long time, and she was excited to take Scales' class. 

"I also learned about the style and what it was like to play in a communal setting as well as a different form of learning. We learned in a way that is similar to passing down music. No sheet music or anything," she said. "There are many negative perceptions surrounding Appalachia and learning about the culture through music provides for a complex layer of culture that many people don't realize exists. The ballad tradition that comes from the British isles is especially interesting and amazing."


Story by RCAH student Kelsey Block, photos by Samantha Kinjorski and Katie Wittenauer.