During their May 14 presentations, three student groups highlighted their work with their respective North Carolina organizations: HeARToscope, Terra Cotta Heritage Foundation, and the African American Cultural Arts and History Center.
Traditionally, the graduate students in the Interactive Media master’s program travel internationally to conduct a monthlong project for the public good. With the COVID-19 pandemic making travel difficult – if not outright impossible – the program pivoted this spring to assist three North Carolina-based organizations.
During the program’s projects for the public good presentations, held on May 14 in Turner Theatre, three student groups provided detailed looks at their organizations, their objectives, as well as the team’s finished projects. The event was also livestreamed for clients, family, friends and program alumni.
A photo gallery of the presentations is available on the School of Communications’ Flickr page.
This spring the students worked to build a rapport with their respective organizations, clients and community members, while compiling necessary creative content and creating branding, websites, promotional videos, social media platforms and other online marketing tools. The groups essentially overhauled their respective clients’ presence online.
The following sections highlight the participating students and faculty, their respective roles in the project, and a summary of their efforts.
Terra Cotta Heritage Foundation
Yasmeen Grandison – Project Manager
Meagan Chalmers – Video Lead
Madeleine Horrell – Content Strategist
Meg Boericke – Design Lead
Michael Boyd – Photography Lead
Ben Johnson – Web Developer
Amanda Sturgill – Faculty Adviser
A group of six students teamed with the Terra Cotta Heritage Foundation, located in Greensboro, to preserve the history of the foundation through a digital platform. The Terra Cotta Heritage Foundation was created from the memories of the Terra Cotta community members who sought to keep their community alive through the retelling of history. Located on the southwest side of Greensboro, Terra Cotta was home to many African American workers of the Pomona Terra Cotta Manufacturing Company and their families. Each day the workers from this neighborhood fabricated pipes made from Terra Cotta clay. Despite the factory’s closure, the bond between the families in Terra Cotta remains.
As part of their project, the graduate students interviewed community members and conducted their own research to create a new website for the Terra Cotta Heritage Foundation, https://terracottaheritage.org. The new website is designed to share the history of Terra Cotta in a way that is engaging and accessible for future generations.
The students’ experience working with the Terra Cotta Heritage Foundation and its community members was the focus of a May 14 article in the Burlington Times-News.
“I think something that was important to the entire group was it being a historically Black community,” Horrell told author Dean-Paul Stephensis. “They have faced a lot of erasure in the historical canon in the historical narrative in America.
“It is special to us that we get to work with this history that has typically been ignored and we do something tangible for the community members.”
Jasmine Simmons – Project Manager
Olivia James – Marketing Lead
Dion Cummings – Video Lead
Abby Bekele – Photography Lead
Aylnda Pratt – Design Lead
Matthew Harrell – Developer
Nicole Triche – Faculty Adviser
This group of six students collaborated with HeARToscope, a nonprofit organization based in Greenville that uses art as a tool for social justice and exposes under-served communities to the arts. The students worked extensively with Deborah Sheppard, HeARToscope’s founder and CEO, who has utilized her passion for the arts to become a voice for the voiceless. According to Simmons, Sheppard is a firm believer that art is a vital tool for healing and is a key component to helping cities grow socially and economically.
As part of their project, the student team created a new marketing strategy and updated the online presence for HeARToscope. The objective was to build brand awareness in the West Greenville community, attract new participants and donors, and develop a more user-friendly website, https://heartoscope.org.
Simmons said the student group enjoyed “working with a blank slate, and we could paint a picture from scratch. This was a really exciting opportunity for us – and the client,” she said. “But it required a lot of collaboration to get it right.”
“As a team, we were able to grow and learn the true core concept of HeARToscope, and we made sure that our client’s vision aligned with the work we produced,” Simmons added.
African American Cultural Arts and History Center
Chandler Colclough – Project Manager
Natalie Oldani – Photographer
Ben Winslow – Videographer
Jeffrey Cullen-Dean – Content Strategist
T’keya Davy – Visual Designer
Carol Ann Friday – Web Developer
Phillip Motley – Faculty Adviser
The African-American Cultural Arts and History Center (AACAHC) is a nonprofit organization that collects local, African-American history in Alamance County. The cultural center aims to share and preserve the rich stories of local Black history, and that was the objective of the graduate students’ project for the public good.
The students set out to enhance the center’s virtual presence on its website, www.aacahcenter.org, and the exhibits on display in its physical space. The team created a virtual exhibition platform dedicated to highlighting stories at the AACAH Center. Additionally, the students produced a multimedia exhibit on African-American education in Alamance County prior to school integration. The virtual exhibition platform will serve as a template for future highlighted stories. Additionally, the platform will showcase content that gives the audience a place to learn more about the stories told at the center in a virtual format and encourages them to visit the physical location.