Brock University students of the Social Class and Social Conflict course (SOCI 2P71) with Assistant Professor Miles Howes (far right, back row).
Originally published in The Brock News | THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 03, 2022 | by Charles Kim
A collection of images on display for ‘Museum in the Hallway / Boîte-en-valise’ offers a glimpse into the excitement and challenges of student life.
Organized by Brock University’s Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture (STAC), Museum in the Hallway / Boîte-en-valise is a rotating themed exhibit in two display cases at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts. Boîte-en-valise is an expression referring to the aesthetic value of collecting and assembling.
The latest of its curated contents was created in collaboration with students in the Department of Sociology. ‘What I want you to see is this…’ is a collection of images with guided narrative that expresses a variety of student perspectives on life in 2022.
Students in the Social Class and Social Conflict course (SOCI 2P71) led by Assistant Professor Miles Howes were presented with a simple, yet complex question: If you had two to three minutes to communicate to an audience what it’s like to be a student in 2022, what would you say and display? In answering the question, students were also asked to consider the demands placed on them in an academic institution.
Each student took on a different perspective with the project. Some reflected on their personal experiences, while others examined the culture that surrounds the student community in a post-secondary establishment.
A common theme was the balancing act of student life. Many students expressed difficulties and pleasures that come with being a student in an academic institution. Another concern was maintaining a healthy balance between personal life, academic success and financial stability. Also questioned was the sense of fulfillment in each of these elements.
Faith Westman, a second-year Critical Criminology student and selected representative of the class, said she and her fellow students participating in the project found a sense of solidarity and community in learning about each other’s university experiences.
“Each of us have had different experiences in university thus far, but despite these differences, there are many commonalities,” she said. “We may be impacted with similar struggles, but we are not alone, and we understand that better now.”
Students preferred using still images over video in their projects, explaining that images depict a specific time and message. While video may be visually enticing, the message the audience receives may be diluted or missed entirely.
Images for each project vary, with some students, for example, having found inspiration from the scenery they pass by every day, and others capturing images that require a closer analysis.
The emotions and perceptions instilled in each image are key elements of the project. The extended exposure to the image heightens its impact while the narrative provides self-reflection and actualization that audiences would not be able to extrapolate from a single image.
The ‘What I want you to see is this…’ collection will be on display until Sunday, Jan. 15. For more information, visit the STAC Museum in the Hallway / Boîte-en-valise web page.