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Description of Visualizing the Ethnographic Voice of Community Revitalization

 Shafer Foundation letter photo.jpg
Our students served as Shafer Fellows during their Ball State University Office of Immersive Learning class. 

Description of Visualizing the Ethnographic Voice of Community Revitalization

Ross Immersive is an immersive learning project funded by Ball State University. In this immersive learning opportunity, Ball State University's Ross Immersive Learning Team (NEWS 397) partnered with the Ross Community Center and Muncie community residents. The community residents were tasked with creating visual ethnographies and engaging the community with photography. Ross Immersive worked this semester to highlight various cultures and traditions present in Muncie through the use of modern media. ‚Äč

Ross Immersive follows a research method called "Sight Beyond My Sight" created by Dr. Gabriel Tait. This research method offers an opportunity for the residents of Thomas Park/Avondale to share their perspectives of the neighborhood through a series of photographs. Starting in January, the team lent each participant a professional-grade Canon camera for two weeks. During those two weeks, community participants were instructed to capture images that truly encompass their community, with the theme of community revitalization in mind. The participants were also instructed not to delete any of the pictures they had taken.

In March, the Ross immersive team met the community members to interview them about their picture-taking experience. In the interviews, participants were presented with all of the photographs they had taken and were instructed to narrow them down to their top 20 photos. Once the participants had established their top photographs and assigned them themes, they were then asked to choose their top three photographs. 

In April, students met with all of the participants to conduct a focus group. In the focus group, each participant was able to talk about their experience and share it with the other members of the community. They were asked to pick three photographs that best represent their community out of each participant's top three photos. The three photographs chosen would be the highlight of the final presentation for the community to see.

The experience ended in a final exhibition where participants were invited to bring family and friends to see the work they completed over the months. The event was held at the Ross Community Center, where the students presented final ethnographies and thanked the community for their insights.

Instructor: Dr. Gabriel Tait, School of Journalism and Strategic Communication News 397

Dr. Gabriel B. Tait, Shannon McCloskey, Emmanuel Cruz, Jayde Leary, Delaina Cannady, Rhoni Paige, Jayana Fennell, Jaided Ramos, Alex Lakes, Lanele Mathis, Jacqueline Hanoman, Gwendolyn Jones, Ingrid Crawford, Laura Myers, and Billy Brown

Description of Visualizing the Ethnographic Voice of Community Revitalization