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Home School of Communications, Media, Arts and Design Blog 2020 May 12 Here’s what our Museum and Cultural Management students have been doing for Storyworks

Here’s what our Museum and Cultural Management students have been doing for Storyworks

A sign on the wall displaying the words Story Arts Centre

Storyworks is a special course available to Centennial College students enrolled in most of our School of Communications, Media, Arts and Design programs. Clients come to Centennial with a communications, media or design need, and our students solve it. Students who take on a classroom-based client project receive coaching, professional portfolio content and industry-related skills that differentiate them in early job-seeking activities. Clients can strengthen their mentoring skills and gain original, often innovative solutions to a communications or media need.

Over the Winter 2020 semester, four teams of students in the Museum and Cultural Management postgraduate certificate program worked with three industry partners on Storyworks projects. They presented what they’d created to their clients, instructors and peers in mid-April. Because of COVID-19, they completed the last portion of their project work remotely and revised their presentations to deliver them online. Here’s what these Storyworks students cooked up this time.

The Memory Kit Outreach Project for CreativeHub 1352

Presented by Caroline Cruickshank, Sukanya Anpalagan, Nicole Iaccino, Alexandra Reid, Sarina Finlay and Fery Li

The Small Arms Inspection Building (SAIB) is a historic site in Mississauga. During the Second World War it was a munitions factory supplying the Canadian military, relying on a workforce that was two-thirds women. SAIB is credited with helping to change the role of Canadian women in the workforce. Today, it serves as a heritage building and a space for arts, culture and history. Programmed in part by a local volunteer organization, CreativeHub 1352, the organization first served as a Centennial client in 2019, commissioning a set of “memory kits” based on SAIB’s history. The five prototype kits consist of small collections of objects and ephemera from the past that viewers can examine and handle to experience living, tangible history. The project was awarded a Heritage Mississauga Heritage Youth Award in 2019.

This year, a team of Storyworks students was tasked to plan strategies to promote these kits to ensure broad usage in the community. They came up with ways to display them, and ways to take them into classrooms, as well as seniors’ residences and veterans’ programs. This included the creation of programs responding to Ministry of Education core curricula, designing hour-long presentations for classrooms, coming up with different ways to display the kits in a public setting such as open houses and festivals. They also looked into sources of funding for this outreach expansion, so that the kits and the history contained within could be experienced by a broad swathe of the general public. The client was genuinely appreciative of the students’ thoughtful, thorough approach and plans to implement some of the suggestions.

Interpretive labels redevelopment project for the Toronto Zoo

Presented by Thania Meneses, Nipun Kuldalkar, Lily Kwok, Laura Drolet, Elyssa Phillips and Nichole Tanashian

This team of students developed new signage for several Toronto Zoo animal exhibits, since the old ones were found to be out of date, worn out or poorly designed. They offered suggestions for new images and even interactive signs. Their goal was to write new label copy that would provoke, relate and reveal, all in the name of creating a better visitor experience. Each member of the group was assigned one species to work on, including tigers, kangaroos, owls, birds, fish and more.

Each student did a lot of research into their signage, including on-site observation, interviews with zookeepers and visitors, library research and design studies. However, due to COVID-19 quarantining, they couldn’t complete their second phase of visitor research on-site and so they adapted their method to include social media to complete the evaluation work, which informed their final revisions on the label texts. The deliverables were all submitted on time and to the client’s great satisfaction, despite the pandemic situation. The client commented on not only the quality of work, but on the innovative use of imagery and visitor knowledge to create engaging wayfinding.

Small Arms Inspection Building Site mobile app project for CreativeHub 1352

Presented by Rachel Kocaurek, Erin Storus, Rachel Al Rubai, Brittany Smillie, Ailyn Dela Cruz and Francesca Biondo

The second team of students working on a project for Creative Hub 1352 planned and created content for a smartphone application that could be used by visitors to assist them in research, provide tours, and enrich the visitor experience at the registered historical site of the Small Arms Inspection Building. The students researched what constitutes best practice in the development of a site-specific app, gathered content and developed a two-year plan for the design, coding and launch of the app. They also developed a fundraising plan and recommended a mapping system for locations around the site. The team identified locations that serve as “cultural nodes,” which would provide multiple focal points for visitors to learn about each location.

An important part of the content they came up with was to highlight the Indigenous history of the site, to integrate the narratives with historical facts and tell a human story to visitors. Their big challenges were making sure the content wasn’t too dry, and also that they didn’t get “lost in the sauce” and make it unapproachable to others. The team came up with a detailed look and feel for the app, with a clean, simple design that’s easy to understand and works on most phones. It’s also their intention that the app be passed on to future teams of Centennial students for further development, creating yet another Storyworks project with this client.

Centennial College Nursing history scrapbook accessioning project for Centennial College Library Special Collection and Archives

Presented by Rowan Palleske, Samantha Guertin, Rebecca Ricciardi, Annie Whiteside, Nicole Wu, Kyle Gray

The fourth and final presentation was conducted by students who worked hard to properly assess, digitize and catalogue a scrapbook from the early days of the college’s Nursing program that was being added to the archives of the Centennial College Library Special Collection and Archives. Nursing historians are interested in the scrapbook, and digitizing it will make it accessible to others in the future. The team digitized the current files, came up with ideas on how to present it, and highlighted the significance of preserving the work.

The team had planned things well enough that they were able to get ahead of schedule, which proved to be fortuitous when the pandemic was declared. The team also designed an online exhibition and went over potential sources of funding. They were even able to deliver items beyond the original scope by offering some basic object care and suggestions. They also had some fun documenting their work with some video journaling. Despite the obstacles presented by COVID-19, an exceptional package was delivered to the client: One that is the basis of continued work for the next group of students.

By: Anthony Geremia