Ryerson University, ‘Socially Engaged Media’ Students

The Context:

Ryerson University students of combined Masters of Fine Arts and Masters of Social Work course, ‘Socially Engaged Media’.

One thing they were looking for:

One of the focuses of this course was a documentary project. In working on this project, professors wanted students to engage in learning around Reflective Community Participation and Engagement.

Activities/Techniques Used:

One of the exercises used with this group involved moving around in the space as individuals. At one point, the group is told to ‘Stop’ and the group needs to stop together, as a unit. They also need to start walking again, at the same time, without instruction. The exercise continues with students taking turns saying ‘Stop’ and eventually with the group needing to stop and start moving together without any verbal instruction.

What came out of this practice, with these people, in this context:

Students reflected on an awareness of people with whom they were sharing the space and of their surroundings. They found that their skills in listening and attention were activated differently. Students learned what it was like to act in a concerted and harmonious way, and what kind of attention is required to do so. The students also made links between the importance of awareness and attention and their collaborative, community practices.