Week 1, Day 2:
We opened the morning with a brief go-round where everyone introduced themselves and answered the question “What is your prior experience with collaboration?” Only a couple of students said they had any experience working collaboratively, most said that curiosity about collaborative processes was what drew them to this course. I think it is noteworthy, and unsurprising based on my prior experience doing collaborative work, that 17 of 20 students were women.
Then we went around the circle again, each student summarized their research and showed some images. Almost all of them said that they found their chosen artist/art form to be really impressive and/or fascinating, which was actually a pleasant surprise to me. The only topic which totally bombed was the Situationist one, which I even knew was a little too distant and impenetrable for this assignment, but included at the last moment just to get the list up to 20.
I gave an extended introduction to the Beehive’s principles and methods, with a focus on the meaning of the bee metaphor. Unfortunately, because I was still quite ill and foggy at that time, I think I was not particularly clear or thorough, but it seemed like I got the main points across just fine. An approximate recap of that is included in this one-page summary I wrote up for the students later.
Then I gave a 40 minute presentation of The True Cost of Coal, with slide-show. And then after the lunch break we spent about 90 minutes doing a pretty free-form collaborative analysis of Mesoamérica Resiste.
This was a good opportunity for me to sit back and relax, as I was pretty worn out at that point, and it was a great opportunity for me to observe what students were thinking regarding issues of oppression and resistance, and their general abilities to engage in political analysis. I realized that many of them had not given much thought to “issues” of any kind, and that this aspect of the course would be something of a steep learning curve. After this activity I called class off because I wanted to get home and rest.