What colour is sacred? 2

What colour is sacred? 2

Photography

Romania / United Kingdom

Overview

What Colour is sacred 2? takes its title and thesis from 2010 book by anthropologist Michael Taussig, who playfully explores the cultural sacredness of colour within a critical context.

Acknowledging that the relationship between language, knowledge and culture is complex, this project seeks to find accessible ways to raise cultural awareness and improve cultural competence skills.

The learning outcomes are ambitious. They include, communicating effectively across cultures, building cross-cultural relationships, fostering cultural awareness, deepening self-awareness and sensitivity to other cultural perspectives, increasing sensitivity towards non-verbal cues and developing strategies to accommodate cultural difference, all of which we look at as developing cultural competencies skills.

Aim of the project

By using online collaborative learning methods that enable links with research and practice, the project tries to build relationships of inquiry and trust. It seeks to find new understandings of identity and community, using visual and verbal skills. The project aims to be inclusive, collaborative, participatory and reflexive, encouraging curiosity, mutual understanding and cross-cultural meaning.

The aim is to provide the space and reasons to have social interactions by collaboratively exploring a shared subject matter. Drawing on an overlap of knowledge on both sides, the merging and mediating of the research area aims to enrich the student understanding of the subject from an international perspective. By collectively constructing meanings the students begin to understand each other’s cultures whilst deepening knowledge of their own.

The project

Acknowledging that collaboration begins with interaction and participation, the social lounge was set up, an online shared space, where students were encouraged to introduce themselves, as with any social media space, with a photograph and short biography. They were invited to upload a one-minute video of something in their own city to share with their international cohort and comment on each others posts.

The class were split into small research groups of 4/5 students and paired up with an international cohort of a similar size. The group size was determined in order to encourage the students to actively participate in the research group (Race 2014), which aimed to foster peer-to-peer learning. The students collaboratively researched and visually explored the same comparative subjects, such as sacred, public spaces, eating establishments, webs of transport, all of which were selected to inspire a nuanced understanding of a broad subject matter.

Through discussion with their peers and online digital communication with their international partners, the students navigated their responses to the subjects. Having articulated their responses, the students exchanged their research, images and videos with their international partners and presented each others work to their own cohort, providing a contextual narrative to support the presentation

Employing insider/outside perspectives enabled the students to mediate between the familiar and the strange. The comparative research drew attention to underlying historical and cultural influences in the specific cities, it sought nuanced understanding of new situations and a deeper understanding of the students own cities.

Outcomes

Students have the opportunity to:

  • Develop intercultural skills
  • Build cross-cultural relationships
  • Deepen self awareness and sensitivity to other cultural perspectives

Learning activities

Type of interactions: Interviews; collaborative document building

  • Interaction 1 / Stage 1
    • The social lounge – social media introductions online working space
  • Interaction 2 / Stage 2
    • Create one minute introduction videos/comment on each others films
  • Interaction 3/ Stage 3
    • Respond to joint themes with international cohort. Interact outside of online working space using email/face book/SKYPE
  • Nature of Activities
    • Formative. Students needed to reflect on their learning.

Outputs

CU context

Module: 266MC Community, Culture and Identity
Course: BA Photography
28 Year 2 students.