Cultural Activity Report Assignment Instructions
As a way of experiencing the Humanities beyond your classroom, computer, and textbook, you are asked to do a certain type of “cultural activity” that fits well with our course and then report on your experience. Your instructor will require you to propose an activity and get instructor approval before you do it and report on it (students should look for any instructions in that respect). Every effort should be made to ensure that this is a hands-on experience (not a virtual one), that this activity fits the HUM111 class well, and that the activity is of sufficient quality for this university course. The two key types of activities are a museum visit or a performance. NOTE: This must not be a report on the same activity (and certainly not the same report) as done for another class, like HUM112. For instance, one might go to the same museum as done for HUM112, but this HUM111 report will focus on entirely different works and displays.
- Visit a museum or gallery exhibition or attend a theater or musical performance before the end of Week 10. The activity (museum or performance) should have content that fits our course well. Have fun doing this.
- Write a two to three (2-3) page report (500-750 words) that describes your experience.
- Clearly identify the event location, date attended, the attendees, and your initial reaction upon arriving at the event.
- Provide specific information and a description of at least two (2) pieces (e.g. art, exhibits, music, etc.).
- Provide a summary of the event and describe your overall reaction after attending the event.
- Use at least the class text as a reference (additional sources are fine, not necessary unless required by your content). Your report should include connections you make between things observed in your activity and things learned in the course and text.
Note: Submit your cultural activity choice to the instructor for approval before the end of Week 5 (earlier is even better). Look for guidance from the instructor for how or where to make your proposal. You may also seek advice from your instructor (provide your town/state or zip code) for a good activity in your general area.
Visiting a Museum
- It makes sense to approach a museum the way a seasoned traveler approaches visiting a city for the first time. Find out what there is available to see. In the museum, find out what sort of exhibitions are currently housed in the museum and start with the exhibits that interest you.
- If there is a travelling exhibition, it’s always a good idea to see it while you have the chance. Then, if you have time, you can look at other things in the museum.
- Every effort should be made ahead of time to identify a museum that has items and works one can easily connect to our HUM111 class and book. Since HUM111 covers from ancient times to the 1500s AD, it makes more sense to focus on items from that time frame. In general, museums with artistic cultural artifacts and fine arts work better than history museums.
- Any questions about whether a museum-visit activity fits the course and assignment well enough will be decided by the instructor when the student seeks approval for the activity. Any alternative activity outside the normal ones listed here, such as for those limited by disability or distance, will be determined by the instructor. Normally we do not expect students to travel over an hour to get to an approved activity.
- Make notes as you go through the museum and accept any handouts or pamphlets that the museum staff gives you. While you should not quote anything from the printed material when you do your report, the handouts may help to refresh your memory later.
- The quality of your experience is not measured by the amount of time you spend in the galleries or the number of works of art that you actually see. The most rewarding experiences can come from finding two or three pieces of art or exhibits which intrigue you and then considering those works in leisurely contemplation. Most museums even have benches where you can sit and study a particular piece.
- If you are having a difficult time deciding which pieces to write about, ask yourself these questions: (1) If the museum you are visiting suddenly caught fire, which two (2) pieces of art or exhibits would you most want to see saved from the fire? (2) Why would you choose those two (2) particular pieces?
Attending a Performance
- Check your local colleges to see if there are any free or low-cost performances or student recitals. Student performances are generally of almost the same quality as professional performances, but typically cost much less. However, performances of high school level or lower will not meet this requirement.
- A performance that is relevant to a HUM111 course is more difficult to find than a performance that would be relevant to HUM112 (which covers from 1600 to the present). But, our course does cover Shakespeare and Greek tragedy and drama, so any performances of those will work. One can sometimes find music performances of music from the Renaissance or Reformation period, or even earlier.
- Any questions about whether a performance activity fits the course and assignment well enough will be decided by the instructor when the student seeks approval for an activity. Any alternative activity outside the normal ones listed here, such as for those limited by disability or distance, will be determined by the instructor. Normally we do not expect students to travel over an hour to get to an approved activity.
- Unlike visiting a museum, where you can wear almost anything, people attending performances are often expected to “dress up” a bit.
- Take a pen or pencil with you and accept the program you are offered by the usher; you will probably want to make notes on it during or after the performance.
- Turn off your cell phone before entering the auditorium. Do not use your phone to record the music or to take pictures or videos. To play it safe, turn the phone off.
- Most long musical performances have at least one (1) intermission. If the lights start blinking, it is a sign that the performance is about to begin.
- Look for very specific things (such as a particular piece of music or the way certain instruments sounded at a specific time) which tend to stand out as either enjoyable or not enjoyable. Be sure to make notes of the things which you find enjoyable as well as the things which are not enjoyable.
If a student is unable to attend a cultural event in person due to circumstances beyond the student’s control, then the instructor will recommend an alternate event/activity for the student to “attend” online. The “virtual” event/activity is usually only for students who, due to their physical location, cannot possibly attend an event/activity in person; typically, these students are stationed overseas or have no means of transportation. Experience shows most museums and activities are modest in cost and manageable for students, and you will often see students from other universities there on similar course projects. If you are facing financial hardship, keep in mind that many museums have a free day each week and performance discounts are often available for students and veterans, among others. Feel free to ask your instructor to help with finding low-cost options. If you believe that you have a legitimate reason for attending a “virtual” activity, you must contact the instructor no later than Week 5 for your request to be considered.
The specific course learning outcomes associated with this assignment are:
- Explain the importance of situating a society’s cultural and artistic expressions within a historical context.
- Examine the influences of intellectual, religious, political, and socio-economic forces on social, cultural, and artistic expressions
- Use technology and information resources to research issues in the study of world cultures.
- Write clearly and concisely about world cultures using proper writing mechanics.
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