Podcast Episode 15: Using Real Art and Artifacts in Your Teaching With Cyra Levenson and Matt Jacobson

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In this episode we talk with Cyra Levenson from the Yale Center for British Art and Yale Professor of American Studies, History, and African-American Studies, Matt Jacobson about incorporating real artifacts and works of art into your teaching. Specifically, we talk about why you might want to do such a thing, and how you can get started doing it.

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Show Notes

0:00 Intro

1:20 How the British Art Center supports research and teaching as “new meaning-making.”

2:47 Incorporating the embodied experience of being in front of an object: epiphanies and discoveries.

4:25 The live lecture is “grounded cognition,” where the video lecture is not.

6:37 Creating different kinds of knowledge.

8:05 How artifacts can help clinicians learn about bias and clinical decision-making.

10:48 Using cultural objects as a lens through which to see the politics of empire.

13:23 Teaching U.S. history through 12 commodities.

15:22 Using the same painting to teach different topics.

16:20 Analyzing the museum as an institution.

16:46 Humanistic teaching as trining in critical thinking: “moving slowly and consciously through it…thinking about it all the while.”

22:00 Dermatologists look at British art: observation and description as transdisciplinary skills.

24:01 Making a learning experience memorable.

27:18 Doing public humanities by asking students to do projects with a real-world engagement. Students create an exhibition at the Institute Library about 100 years of the performing arts in New Haven.

31:16 Guiding group projects which are “wide open”: they figure it out. Students stage a revolution in a seminar.

35:29 Isolated students reproducing knowledge for a few people vs. groups making new knowledge for a wider audience.

36:30 Why bother? What’s the payoff for loosely structured group projects?

39:27 Using constraints and design thinking in higher ed humanities courses.

40:24 Each student gets excited by something different. Giving up on “coverage” in favor of developing students’ skills and concerns.

45:09 When learning is driven by the students’ needs for knowledge.

47:07 Art collections on a university campus support disciplinary conversations. Learning to teach visually where images are no longer mere illustrations. Lecturing as dynamically curating.

51:19 When music videos fall flat. Born in the USA: Bruce Springsteen vs. Stanley Clarke

54:35 Teaching as improvisation.