For more than a decade, Detroit Connections, a series of courses offered through Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design, has been bringing students, staff and faculty from U-M’s Ann Arbor campus into two partner schools in Detroit to lead weekly art workshops and design collaborative projects with youth. The courses promote engaged and active citizenry, require out-of-the-box creative thinking, and bring together individuals from different backgrounds to co-create and share resources.
The school also runs a Detroit artist/designer-in-residency program that brings U-M alumni working in art, design and community engagement into the partner school to develop and facilitate projects with Stamps students and Detroit youth.
Recently U-M students in Detroit Connections: Sound and Story worked collaboratively with 10th graders at Detroit Community High School to produce creative works using the medium of sound: oral histories, radio plays, sound poetry, personal audio essays and more. The focus of the class was on reciprocal learning — both groups of students acted as interviewers and interviewees, audio producers and teachers. Students learned basic tools of digital audio production (recording, editing, mixing), developed creative listening skills and explored the rich and varied landscape of contemporary narrative works in sound. The technical skills learned in this class can be applied to sound design for video, animation, radio, performance and multimedia storytelling.