Saturday, July 1, 2017

The "We Watch the Stream" Exhibit Extended

The "We Watch the Stream" Exhibit at MWMO has been extended through August 15th, 2017.

...More time to appreciate the students from River's Edge Academy, and their exploration of the value of the Mississippi River.

MWMO exhibit page to be updated with new dates soon.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

River's Edge Academy visits the 'We Watch the Stream' Exhibit & MWMO Blog Post

It was wonderful on Tuesday, April 25th to see familiar faces of students and staff from our River Journey project together in 2014-2015 - as well as meeting the new students and staff. In two shifts, MWMO's Abby Moore and Michaela Neu, gave one group tours of the MWMO Stormwater Park and Learning Center, while I gave another group tours of the exhibit. Meanwhile, MWMO's Nick Busse took great photos.

You can see the photos in the nice blog post Abby Moore wrote about the exhibit and project for the MWMO blog.

Students interact with the kiosk to find the story maps
they published during the project - Photo by MWMO

Friday, April 7, 2017

River Journey Exhibit at MWMO

The exhibit:
We Watch the Stream:
Impressions from River Journey
by Jonee Kulman Brigham
with River's Edge Academy
will be on display
April 10, 2017 - June 29, 2017
at the MWMO Stormwater Park and Learning Center
Reception: Friday May 12 from 4-6pm; presentation at 5pm

Please see the exhibit page for more details

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Presenting River Journey at GIS Conference

The River Journey Project will be presented at the ESRI Education GIS Conference this June. Each year, ESRI (the large geographic information system or GIS company), holds a user conference for those working with its products. One part of the conference is focused on the use of GIS in K-12 and higher education and is a chance for teachers and students and others that support GIS education to share project application experiences and new resources.

Title: River Journey: High School Story Maps for Art-led Environmental Education

Abstract: In River Journey, Minnesota high school students explored how their school’s kitchen sink is interconnected with their region by following their tap water along upstream and downstream water infrastructure to its source and destination at the Mississippi River. Over the year, and across the curriculum, they created online story maps about their journey and the river’s value.  This presentation considers how GIS complemented fieldwork, and enhanced narrative-aesthetic understandings of place.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Mississippi River Vessel

Here's one of the works shown as part of the
"We Watch the Stream" exhibit.

Mississippi River Vessel has been included in the exhibition:
The River: Memory and Metaphor on the Mississippi
Curated by Jeff Rathermel
March 4, 2016 – July 10, 2016
Opening reception: March, 4; 6-9pm
At the Minnesota Center for Book Arts
1011 Washington Ave. S.
Suite 100
Minneapolis MN 55415

Mississippi River Vessel, 2015
Jonee Kulman Brigham
Glass bottle, wooden crate, heat-transfer letters, hand-dyed cotton, ceremonial water from River’s Edge Academy kitchen sink
20 x 36 x 20 inches

Mississippi River Vessel is a participatory artwork designed to support the River Journey project.  It was used in the closing ceremony for River Journey on June 3, 2015.  As was done at the opening ceremony, Brigham and River’s Edge Academy staff read the River Journey poem during the school’s circle time, where all students and staff gather as a community.  Then students and staff were invited to pour some water from the River’s Edge Academy kitchen sink (sourced from the Mississippi River) into the vessel while answering, “What are you grateful for about the Mississippi River?”

Monday, December 7, 2015

Process Reflection: A Call to Mapping

This is a re-post of a reflection about the role of GIS in River Journey from the Full Spring Flow blog. 

Is there a stream of water that exists before we name it “river?” Is the world what we have labeled it to be? Are we?

This is how the poem, "A Call to Mapping," begins. I read the first half of it as part of my lightning talk at the 2015 U-Spatial Forum, on November 20th at Rapson Hall, University of Minnesota.The forum is a mash up of people using GIS or spatial technology in ALL different ways (from artist, Rebecca Krinke's beautiful "Mapping of Joy and Pain" project to another professor's mapping the surface of Venus.) It is mind-blowing and enriching to see the variety of work presented that is united by spatial thinking.

GIS Story Maps as a Theatrical Prop
I presented "River Journey High School Story Maps; Using GIS Story Maps as Part of Place-based, Art-led, Environmental Education." River Journey took place at River's Edge Academy Charter Environmental High School, where I worked with a collaborative team, of teachers, staff, and students to take a year-long "Earth Systems Journey" of water through their school, tracing the flows from their kitchen sink to the Mississippi River--upstream and downstream. The primary aesthetic composition of River Journey is the designed experience itself. But art is also used for theatrical props throughout. Although the River Journey GIS Story Maps serve many purposes in the project, it is their part of the composition of student experience that I focused on for this talk.  I highlighted three of their roles as part of what I call the narrative-aesthetic experience that engages participants with story through aesthetic interaction.

GIS Story Maps Narrative-Aesthetic Roles

1. Marking and Naming
I was interested, particularly for High School age students, in connecting them to their agency and power as map makers, as expressed in "A Call to Mapping" which I wrote as a meditation for myself about the project. For example, there is great significance in the simple act of placing a map pin at the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers and labeling it "B'Dote" after interviewing a Dakota band member about the supreme significance of this place to their creation beliefs. Marking and Naming a place on a map and telling its story is a ritual act of placing significance to a part of the landscape.

2. Virtual Aesthetic Understanding of the Land
It is important to the philosophy of River's Edge Academy and to the Earth Systems Journey approach to go outside and explore real places. Virtual exploration is not a substitute. However, an interactive GIS map offers perspectives that can't be seen from ground and these are not only knowledge-based in nature - they are also aesthetic. I remember working with a student as they paused from the tutorial on map creation to enjoy the pleasures of flying over and following the river in the satellite image. These are beautiful views that are a kind of primary aesthetic experience in themselves where one can wonder about the varying colors of the water, and the textures of the vegetation.

3. Vessel and Object of the Quest
As an Earth Systems Journey, River Journey is inspired by Joseph Campbell's concept of the Hero's Journey. This begins with a call to adventure, and is a quest for something. In fairy tales, the hero might seek a treasure and bring it home in a vessel. Knowing their final expression of their journey was to be an online set of story maps, made the GIS Story Maps into a key player in the journey; they were the vessel into which students would place their treasure to bring back to share with community: the story of their exploration of the value of the Mississippi River.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Exhibit Reception Date Set: October 6th

All are invited to a reception for the exhibit Tuesday, October 6th from 4-6 pm, with a short program at 5pm. (Details below) The exhibit closes Monday October 12th.

we watch the stream: Impressions from River Journey
Jonee Kulman Brigham with River’s Edge Academy

June 15, 2015 – October 12, 2015 - Commons Meeting and Art Space at Institute on the Environment, University of Minnesota
Reception: Tuesday, October 6th, 2015 from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm, short program at 5:00 pm
R350 Learning & Environmental Sciences, 1954 Buford Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55108
Open Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Parking is available behind the building in the Gortner Avenue Ramp.

How do we learn to see the deep interconnections we have with the world around us? It is challenging when our language and social-economic structures divide the world into so many parts. Common maps divide the land by property or political boundaries. Multiple organizations manage different parts of the continuous stream of water that passes through our buildings in hidden pipes and unlabeled channels. Visibility and value are intertwined — unseen elements can easily be neglected. Through River Journey, students found the pieces of their water story and stitched them back together.

During the 2014-2015 school year, high school students at River’s Edge Academy participated in an art-led, environmental education project called “River Journey: Exploring the Value of the Mississippi River,” led by Jonee Kulman Brigham, design researcher, artist, and developer of the educational model. Students traveled from their school’s kitchen sink, tracing the path of water along upstream and downstream infrastructure, to reveal how they and their school are interconnected with the Mississippi River. Along the way, they met with community members, and engaged with water, infrastructure, poetry, reflective writing, and photography to develop an appreciation for the river and the water it provides.

The exhibit includes artworks and documentation of the River Journey project including photographs, maps, reflective writing, and objects used for water interactions. The project and exhibit is made possible through a fellowship from Institute on the Environment, and the support of River’s Edge Academy, many community partners, and Full Spring Studio.