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In the spring semester of 08, Mead is teaching a new studio topics course in which students make sculpture in response to the Katrina Disaster and to issues of mercury poisoning. In referencing the continuing consequences of the first internationally recognized mercury spill that poisoned Minamata Bay in Japan in 1932, the course reminds us that solving problems of mercury poisoning is a global issue that can only be addressed through international dialogue. With this in mind, an international exchange exhibition of sculpture by students at the College of William and Mary and students at Musahino University in Toyko, Japan, is being arranged for Spring 09. A field trip to Waynesboro, Virginia, will give students the opportunity to view first-hand the impact of mercury on fish and bird populations (see Dan Cristol) and to witness how a scientist approaches the same area of inquiry.
In Spring 2008, Zuber is integrating environmental documentary films into her “Film 350: Documentary” class and will screen Manufactured Landscapes with Elizabeth Mead’s Advanced Sculpture class. In addition, she will be continuing her work with neuroscience major/film minor Liz Budrionis on a documentary video about mercury pollution in the U.S. and China and with government major Will Sealy as he documents Mike Newman’s Fundamentals of Ecotoxicology class and an independent research class with students in Wuhan, China.
Troy Davis – During the 2009-2010 academic year, leading up to the symposium in April 2010, the Swem Library Media Center Director Troy Davis will organize an Environmental Documentary Film Series: “The Reel Environment.” Based on a project recommended by the National Video Resources and the American Library Association, Davis will coordinate six programs of lectures, film screenings, readings, and discussions held in Swem Library (possibly in the newly-renovated Botetourt Theatre). The series would emphasize global concerns about the environment.
Each screening will be accompanied by a web site with information about the documentary, a brief essay, and web links to other resources for the topic. For each film, there will be a scholar-led discussion. These events would be open to the Williamsburg community. In addition to a focus on the environment, the film series will help the participants develop an appreciation for an interdisciplinary, independent approach to filmmaking and issues in documentary filmmaking such as representation, ethics, style, and filmmaker-subject relationships.
Media Center Philosophy: “The construction of ‘meaning’ both through crafted experiences and through the craft of research and teaching is at the heart of the liberal arts experiment. Developing and nurturing an integrative approach to understanding and transforming the world is at the heart of literacy. Although the media center on its ever-frenetic surface appears to be about computers, software, and hardware, this is only the veneer of a deeper cluster of activities, preoccupations and passions. Although we’re not overtly utilitarian (computers are more than just “tools,” they are also “experiences”), it’s not about what the computer can do, it’s about what YOU can do. We are fascinated with people, communication, representation, art, music and meaning. We look at emerging media and emerging technology as a rich crucible through which we can break down more clearly the rich and meaningful liberal arts experience at the College.”