Professor Conlisk Gallegos invites her students to think differently about their university education, while changing the formats of knowledge production and distribution. Students are invited to become educators using technology and multimedia production to openly voice their life stories in the performance of ”Our San Bernardino Nuestro”.
As a final project, the students are assigned to dig deep into the discrimination they have experienced in their lives. This multimedia project was a way to verbalize the struggle that minorities encounter on a daily basis and initiate a dialogue around the side-effects of the failure to provide safe and inclusive spaces for diverse people.
These stories were presented in a two-hour long relational art exhibit, upon which, the audience was allowed to interact with different VR (virtual reality) and mobile gadgets. The VR component included student produced videos and a digital painting intervention by Dr. Conlisk Gallegos. Simultaneously, a video was projected on three large screens showcasing private student testimonies as well as two videos produced by the Artist/Professor.
Professor Conlisk Gallegos wants to influence academics to decolonize their teaching approaches by implementing experimental methods that work to turn the individualist and traditional experience of reading academic information from a journal article into a multidimensional and explorative way of interacting with “live” research:
“Our communication formats have changed. Books used to be the preferred medium for archiving and sharing knowledge. Today, we have access to technology that allows interactivity and audio/visual experimentation. Academic research is enriched as students intervene, provide feedback, and interact with the information in a communal experience,” Conlisk Gallegos said.
The students of Conlisk Gallegos Comm 409, Latinx Media and Culture class say this new way of learning and sharing information has been more effective and impactful in their learning.
“I definitely enjoyed this a lot more, I feel like it was a lot more personal because regular midterms are just straight out of the book,” said Comm 409 student, Sandy Rodriguez.
Rodriguez was one of the students who shared their stories at the exhibit. When first presented with the assignment she was a little hesitant.
“I didn’t really want to do it because it brought back memories that I didn’t want to address but after thinking about it I realized my story is something that should be heard,” Rodriguez said.
Students, such as Lauren Pratt, didn’t know what to expect. Once she experienced the entirety of the event, she realized she could relate to most of the stories being presented.
“[The event] was really eye opening to see what different ethnicities were going through in America,” Pratt said. “Being African American I felt connected to the Latinx culture when it comes to feeling marginalized in [mainstream] American culture.”
Overall, the multimedia art exhibit was a success with students and audience from our San Bernardino community enjoying a different way of learning.
“Ultimately, I am a believer in technology as a tool that organically requires diverse perspectives to thrive. Incorporating Xicana, Indigena, Africana, and Queer resistance pedagogy redefines research and turns it into a live version of itself. This will help us lead into a way of becoming more effective as mentors and instructors, and in general, more humane,” Conlisk Gallegos said.