Teaching Practice > Journeys/Migrations & the Document

Journeys/Migrations & the Document was a series of courses I developed over several years with students at Elevarte Community Studio in the Pilsen community of Chicago that was supported by After School Matters; an apprenticeship style program serving Chicago youth. Students were instructed in contemporary art making practices, Artists, and photography through the creation of subaltern documents. Students; age 15-18 created individual and collaborative photographic projects responding to both lived and researched experiences and which touched on theme of migration, journeys, violence, isolation, struggle and their own community’s built and changing environment.

Utilizing both basic and advanced photo editing software, projects were structured around the importance of collaboration and community building between students. No project was done in isolation - however every effort was made in both trial and success to be produced in collaboration with at least one student as project leader/author along with a team of collaborators for support. For larger, group projects, students defined their roles between one another pulling from both personal strengths and project needs. Important to successful completion of any project was how well student participants worked together, overcame challenges and communicated their process and ideas with both the larger team of students and the public. It was this process over artistic practice that aided in the production of impactful photographic works from students. Students maintained a sense of ownership, held leadership roles, supported each other and ultimately created a sense of community that led them through each exercise and activity.

Important to course activity were the Artists and Photographers we viewed and studied along the way. Looking closely at multi-disciplinary Artists and Photographers whose own artistic practices went beyond any one medium or material gave students exposure to the possibilities of art making and examples how an Artist with one question is able to work through their inquiry in various ways. We looked at Artists/Photographers: Kimsooja, Carrie Mae Weems, Dawoud Bey, Collier Schorr, Maria Gaspar, Tomoko Sawada, Paul D’Amato, Mark Bradford, Dolores Salcedo, Kelli Connell, Felix Gonzalez Torres, and many others whose work was relevant to our discussions and aides in furthering student dialogue about their own work and ideas.

More information and projects will be shared here in the coming weeks, please feel free to contact me with additional questions. Also, if you are so motivated and find it in your pockets, Elevarte Community Studio is one of the best youth serving arts organizations that I know and would love if you would support this amazing place. Visit their website to find out how you can support at: Elevarte Community Studio

Anthony Marcos Rea,