What Happened When the Lights Went Out?

Professor: Philip Kasintz
ITF: Anton Borst
Campus: Hunter College

This site, designed and built by a team of students, showcases the documentary projects Professor Philip Kasinitz’s seminar developed in small groups over the course of the semester. Each group was asked to investigate how the social history and social networks of a particulal lower Manhattan neighborhood shaped its inhabitants’ experience of and response to the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. It was a focused research question on a very relevant topic that gave students a lot of room to express their own point of view. Professor Kasinitz blocked off a considerable amount of time so that students could approach the project in stages throughout the spring: we led discussions and workshops on conducting interviews, planning through storyboarding and outlines, developing (and sticking to) a thesis, and, finally, how best to present the documentaries to the public. However, I think we both agreed that even more time could have been devoted to the project. In particular, I thought it would have helped if students had been asked to conduct more interviews and gather more material so they had a surplus of footage to choose from in telling more pointed stories. Bottom-line: to do even a 3-5 minute quality video takes A LOT of work and draws (or should draw) on many of the same skills as writing a research paper: namely planning, writing, gathering material, and developing a thesis or coherent point of view. As far as the site itself, I think the map navigation on the homepage is striking, attractive, and simple. I encouraged students to think about the first impression they wanted to make with the site, to think about how to ensure that visitors would quickly be able to understand what the site was about, who created it, and why it’s interesting–and I think they succeeded in that.

What Happened When the Lights Went Out? | 2014 | 2013, All The Sites, Anton Borst, East Village, Hunter College, iMovie, Lower East Side, Manhattan, maps, Philip Kasintz, video, WordPress | Tags: , , , | Comments (0)

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