The Awkward Object (Spring 2021)
Objects are, in a basic sense, awkward. They resist absorption into the narratives that those who have power endeavor to spin around them. We reckon with this awkwardness in ethical terms: The recognition of an object as colonial plunder is also, simultaneously, a recognition that the object was not fully cloaked by the aesthetic discourse in which it had been wrapped. We also reckon with it in practical terms, as educators: The object that is available to us always exceeds the point that we are trying to make. In this guided discussion, led by Jeffrey Moser, Assistant Professor of History of Art and Architecture at Brown University, we will explore practical strategies for addressing these twin facets of the awkward object. Using a series of case studies from the RISD Museum, we will think collectively about ways of helping students apprehend and articulate the awkwardness of objects for themselves.
Roundtable: Virtual Teaching with Museum Objects (Fall 2020)
Are you teaching remotely with virtual museum collections or curious about how to do so? Join the Sheridan Center and RISD Museum for a roundtable discussion about remote teaching with objects! Participants will be encouraged to share their remote teaching experiences and discuss challenges they’ve been facing. As a group, we’ll brainstorm ideas and problem solve together. Participants will also have the opportunity to explore the museum’s digital resources and faculty guide before this synchronous roundtable. The conversation will be facilitated via Zoom by Sheridan Center Senior Associate Director Jessica Metzler and RISD Museum Associate Educator Alexandra Poterack.
Teaching with Objects: A Sheridan Center-RISD Museum-Haffenreffer Museum Workshop Series (Fall 2019)
This collaborative series invites instructors to explore object-based teaching and learning strategies and consider ways to incorporate arts or object-based pedagogy in courses across the disciplines. Join us for sessions facilitated by faculty and staff who discuss the ways they teach with art and objects in their courses and strategies for working with collections.
“How I Teach with Art”
In this session facilitated by Christina Smith, Sheridan Center Assistant Director and Adjunct Lecturer in Engineering, participants will explore strategies for teaching problem solving skills through using art and objects in their courses. Participants will learn ways to help students develop observational and reflective skills.
Teaching with Objects 101
Are you interested in teaching with objects, but don’t know where to start? Do you need a “refresher” on object-based teaching practices? Are you curious about the CultureLab, a hands-on space in Brown University’s Haffenreffer Museum, and how to visit with your students? Join Leah Burgin, Haffenreffer’s Manager of Museum Education & Programs, for this back-to-basics workshop. Participants will engage with objects from the collection and help the Museum develop a new object-based teaching kit.
Museum as Object
When we teach with objects in a museum, we are building on the museum’s history of collecting and curatorial decision-making. That history shapes what’s available for study and teaching, the way it’s presented, and, to some extent, the stories that can be told. This workshop will offer a peek behind the curtain at museum practices to reveal the assumptions that go into collecting and display. What makes an object museum-worthy? How do museum rules about presentation shape storytelling? How can teachers find out more about collections and their history? How might we use museum history to teach with objects? This session will be facilitated by Steven Lubar, Professor of American Studies, History, and History of Art and Architecture and is part of the Sheridan Center-RISD Museum collaborative series on teaching with objects.
Art Objects and the Writing Process (Spring 2019)
April 11th, 12:00 - 1:20 PM; RISD Museum (224 Benefit Street)
Writing is an iterative process that involves generating ideas, drafting, reflecting, receiving feedback, and revising—steps that can often feel opaque to students. This interactive workshop facilitated by Jessica Metzler, Sheridan Center Associate Director, takes an object from the RISD Museum’s collection as a starting point to de-familiarize and reflect on the writing process by approaching it through a set of visual exercises. This then allows us to discuss ways to demystify academic or creative writing for students. We will explore both ideas for classroom writing exercises and activities for teaching with objects more generally. This session is recommended for faculty, graduate students, and postdocs in any discipline who seek ways to support student writing in their courses.
"How I Teach with Art": A Sheridan Center-RISD Museum Workshop Series (Fall 2018)
This collaborative series invites instructors to explore object-based teaching and learning strategies and consider ways to incorporate arts-based pedagogy in courses across the disciplines. Join us for sessions facilitated by faculty who discuss the ways they teach with art and objects in their courses. All sessions held at the RISD Museum.
October 25, 12-1:15 pm; RISD Museum (224 Benefit St.)
In this session facilitated by Stephen Bush, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, participants will discuss strategies for teaching sensitive material or artwork that may elicit strong reactions from students. Taking Andy Warhol’s work, Race Riot, as a starting point, participants will explore ways to help students critically reflect in writing, perform visual analysis, and engage in challenging discussions. Space is limited.
November 28, 12-1:15 pm; RISD Museum (20 N. Main St.)
In this session facilitated by Patricia Sobral, Distinguished Senior Lecturer in Portuguese and Brazilian Studies, participants will explore strategies for teaching with art and objects in their courses. Through engaging with the RISD Museum’s Phantom of Liberty exhibit, participants will learn ways to help students feel included in museum spaces and practice observational skills. Space is limited.
Necessary Conversations: A Sheridan Center-RISD Museum Workshop Series (Spring 2018)
These workshops explore strategies for teaching with objects as primary materials in courses across the disciplines. Particular attention is paid to techniques that encourage analytical reasoning, critical thinking, and observational skills, and to those that encourage discussion about history, culture, and the environment. All sessions are held at the RISD Museum (224 Benefit Street).
Necessary Conversations I: Rich Tapestries
How can art and design support your teaching? This introductory workshop, co-facilitated by Jessica Metzler (Associate Director, Sheridan Center) and Alexandra Poterack (Associate Educator, RISD Museum), demonstrates object-based discussion strategies and provides a model for using objects as primary sources in university classrooms across disciplines. Participants will look closely at a selected work, participate in facilitated discussion, and reflect on strategies and techniques.
Necessary Conversations II: “United Histories”
Faculty across disciplines manage complex, and often controversial, conversations around material in the classroom. This interactive workshop, co-facilitated by Jessica Metzler (Associate Director, Sheridan Center) and Alexandra Poterack (Associate Educator, RISD Museum), explores strategies for facilitating conversations around objects that address sensitive topics and elicit emotionally charged responses from viewers.
Teaching with Objects: A Sheridan Center-RISD Museum Workshop Series (Fall 2017)
This collaborative series invites instructors to explore object-based teaching and learning strategies and consider ways to incorporate arts-based pedagogy in courses across the disciplines. All sessions held at the RISD Museum.
Curate Your Course
This interactive workshop, co-facilitated by Alexandra Poterack (Associate Educator, RISD Museum) and Jessica Metzler (Associate Director, Sheridan Center), considers approaches to organizing and contextualizing course material through an exploration of the way the RISD Museum considers context, curation, display, and pedagogy in its newly reinstalled European galleries. Participants will discuss approaches to making decisions about the inclusion and presentation of course content through examining the effects of different interpretive strategies, and will practice applying a curatorial eye to a work of art or design as a way of reflecting on their own course design process. This workshop is appropriate for faculty, postdocs, and graduate students in any discipline. Instructors preparing survey courses might find this session of particular interest.
Lines of Thought: Mark Making and Metacognition
The vital role of drawing as a continual and active process of discovery is explored in the RISD Museum's exhibition Lines of Thought: Drawing from Michelangelo to Now. Participants in this interactive workshop co-facilitated by Alexandra Poterack (Associate Educator, RISD Museum) and Jessica Metzler (Associate Director, Sheridan Center) will utilize the concept of thinking through drawing, as explored in this exhibition, as a departure point for investigating ways of visually interpreting and understanding information gathered from the world around us. We will explore how mark making and drawing can be conceptual tools in encouraging metacognition--helping students understand how they learn in a course. We will also discuss inclusive strategies to engage diverse student learners through creative expression and reflection in courses across the disciplines. This workshop is appropriate for faculty, postdocs, and graduate students.
Difficult Objects: A Sheridan Center-RISD Museum-John Carter Brown Library Collaborative Series (Spring 2017)
This collaborative workshop series explores approaches to teaching with difficult objects—sensitive material that can elicit emotionally charged responses from students. Drawing on both historical and contemporary objects from the RISD Museum and the John Carter Brown Library, workshops will discuss techniques to help students develop close looking skills, strategies for providing context, and ways to incorporate object-based teaching in your courses. Workshops will provide the opportunity for participants to share their own approaches to teaching sensitive material and exchange ideas about teaching with difficult objects.
Difficult Objects I: Teaching at the John Carter Brown Library
The John Carter Brown Library’s collection of rare books and manuscripts houses a number of important historical objects to which students and scholars often have strong affective reactions. This workshop explores approaches to teaching with emotionally-charged objects through discussing material from the collection, including an account book from the 18th-century slave ship Sally. The session will be facilitated by Kimberly Nusco, Assistant Librarian for Research and Reference Services at John Carter Brown Library and RISD Museum educator Jackie Delamatre (Brown ’02).
Difficult Objects II: Teaching at the RISD Museum
The mummy of Nesmin is one of the RISD Museum’s most popular exhibits. However, the ethics of collecting and displaying human remains is the subject of debates around the world – and right here on campus. This workshop will explore how these debates can guide approaches to teaching with the mummy, and more broadly, objects that raise ethical concerns or considerations. The session will be facilitated by RISD Museum educator Jackie Delamatre (Brown ’02).
Unframed Objects: A Sheridan-RISD Museum Workshop Series (Fall 2016)
This collaborative workshop series invites instructors to explore object-based teaching and learning opportunities at Brown and beyond. Participants will learn how to access and teach with a wide range of objects in their courses, from photographs to natural history specimens to textiles. Individual sessions will be held at the RISD Museum, the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, and the RISD Nature Lab. Join us as we explore, frame, unframe, and reframe objects within a pedagogical context throughout the semester.
Unframed Objects I: Teaching with Prints, Drawings, and Photographs
All over the world, the vast majority of museum objects are off-view, packed away in storage, but at the RISD Museum the Prints, Drawings, and Photographs (PDP) collection is available for students, faculty and researchers to view up close--even unframed. Participants in this workshop will look closely at an object from the PDP collection, learn about how objects can be accessed for class use or research, and reflect on strategies for incorporating these objects in their teaching. The session will be facilitated by RISD Museum educator Jackie Delamatre (Brown '02) and Britany Salsbury, Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow in PDP.
Unframed Objects II: Teaching at the RISD Nature Lab
Just down the hill from Brown's campus is a repository of thousands of natural history specimens used by RISD students since the 1930s to inspire deep observation and an understanding of design in nature. This workshop will explore ways in which RISD's Nature Lab can serve as an extension of the classroom and enhance students' close looking and critical thinking skills. The session will be facilitated by RISD Museum educator Jackie Delamatre (Brown '02) and include a tour with Neal Overstrom, Director of The Nature Lab.
Unframed Objects III: Teaching at the Haffenreffer
How can the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology inspire creative and critical thinking about culture and an interdisciplinary understanding of the material world in Brown's classrooms? Participants in this workshop will examine objects in the Haffenreffer, reflect on strategies for incorporating the museum and its objects into their teaching, and discover its many resources, such as the CultureLab. This session will be co-facilitated by RISD Museum educator Jackie Delamatre (Brown '02) and Haffenreffer staff.
Unframed Objects IV: Teaching with African Textiles
What are the benefits and challenges of working with international objects in your teaching? How can objects open the door to critical conversations about culture and transnationalism in the classroom? Participants in this workshop will explore the RISD Museum's exhibition of Yoruba Egungun textiles as well as the Donghia Costume and Textiles Study Center with Kate Irvin (Brown '93), Curator of Costume and Textiles and RISD Museum educator Jackie Delamatre (Brown '02).
Ways of Looking: A Sheridan Center-RISD Museum Collaborative Series (Spring 2016)
This series of workshops utilizes the RISD Museum’s collection to investigate intersections of pedagogy and art. Participants will look closely at objects and reflect on how similar strategies can be applied in their courses.
Ways of Looking I: Teaching with Design Objects
How can teaching with objects enhance students' observational and analytical skills? How can design objects inspire close attention to cultural contexts and the material culture we live in? We will investigate ways the RISD Museum serves as a classroom of primary sources.
Ways of Looking II: Teaching with Objects as Primary Materials
How can objects be examined as primary sources? How can students become aware of subjective biases within visual representations? What are the advantages or disadvantages of visual versus written representations? We will investigate the use of objects in the RISD Museum to explore historical moments.
Ways of Looking III: Teaching Writing through Art
How can art and design inspire writing in the classroom? How can the visual elicit analogies to the elements of poetry and prose? How can art and design arouse empathy and imagination? We will investigate how objects in the RISD Museum can be used to stimulate writing—especially creative.
Object-Based Teaching and Learning: A Sheridan-RISD Museum Workshop (Fall 2015)
How can close examination of objects support learning? What strategies can be used to engage students in extended observations and conversations that support critical thinking as well as subject areas ranging from archaeology to history to medicine to fine art? This stimulating introductory session demonstrates ways in which objects can serve as primary sources in the university classroom. Participants look closely at a selected work in the galleries, participate in a guided discussion, and consider contextual connections with museum educator Jackie Delamatre (Brown '02), adjunct assistant professor in Public Humanities at Brown. Participants then reflect together on how the strategies and museum resources can be used in the classroom.