Kristy H.A. Kang, Ph.D., Nanyang Technological University, Singapore


The aim of this project is to design an online collaborative database and mapping platform for students and faculty that can be used as a pedagogical tool for critical making and mapping of visual media in the classroom.  There are existing tools that utilise participatory mapping such as the community storytelling site Historypin, or other mapping projects visualising large data sets like the Racial Dot Map that uses the 2010 United States census bureau to visualize “geographic distribution, population density, and racial diversity of the American people in every neighborhood in the entire country”.  Though these projects may be used for the classroom, they were not specifically designed for the needs of a specific course.  And because of their complexity, such projects often require faculty and students to adapt (if possible) an aspect of the project to the classroom or assignment.  Moreover, the sustainability, consistency and organization of materials becomes a challenge.

This project proposes designing a simplified platform that aims to create a resource for students and faculty to share and create responses to course materials using a combination of video, images, sound and text.  These responses and materials will be collected in a database whose items may be explored individually or re-organized contextually by selecting from a series of topics or themes. The database is a dynamic visual tool that allows students to share and see a variety of examples among their peers that respond to a lesson covered in the class. Items from the database can also be mapped.

The platform would be utilised in two contexts – one, in distributed classrooms to share resources and student works among collaborating faculty who are part of FemTechNet – a consortium of U.S. university faculty and researchers teaching topics on technology, science, media studies, gender, ethnic studies and art. The other, specifically the mapping component of the project, will be used in a course on Visualisation of Cultural Heritage. One of the challenges in the classroom is to find ways to comparatively visualise artefacts, historical data and spatial/geographical information across differing geological time periods and cultures. The mapping tool would provide a dynamic platform where students may digitally map cultural heritage artefacts they are researching and to compare them to contributions by their peers and the faculty. The aim of this tool is to provide a collaborative platform from which students can visualise and spatialise their research in order to analyse and discuss their discoveries from comparative perspectives.

 

Kristy H.A. Kang is a media artist and scholar whose work explores narratives of place and geographies of cultural memory. She is Assistant Professor in the School of Art, Design and Media at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore and was previously Associate Director of the Spatial Analysis Lab at the University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy.  Her research interests combine urban, ethnic studies and digital media arts to visualise cultural histories of cities.  She received her Ph.D. in Media Arts and Practice at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts.