I have listed all of my sources below. I find that this year I researched a lot more in-depth and it was really helpful to understanding my person. I really enjoyed the documentary and book. If anyone wants to know more about Ai Weiwei, watching the documentary is really fun, even if you just want to know more about political issues. It was difficult to find information on Ai himself as he is still a rather current person, but the Wikipedia page was surprisingly helpful, it was the biography listed by his official website. I had a great time researching and probably spent a bit too much time researching, but I really enjoyed it.
First of all, I wanted to congratulate everyone on Night of the Notables! Everyone did so well with speeches and learning centers, it feels like every year the bar is raised! The night itself was also set up so well, so thank you to the nines for organizing it! Everyone should be very proud of their individual work and the work that we did together as a group. I want to give a special thanks to all the TALONS teachers who guided us and made NotN a reality. It was all of that work that made Night of the Notables such a success this year.
This is my final Eminent post and though I feel sad, I also feel very relieved that I can now reflect back on speeches, learning center, and the overall flow of the night without having to begin thinking about next years’ eminent project.
I feel very good about how my speech went, though it was not the best run through, it wasn’t the worst either. I feel very grateful that I remembered all of my lines. I think that my content was very relevant to my person and showed how he made an impact in his field. By explaining his road to jail I showed his eminence but by doing the speech as if Ai were talking to his son it made the speech more personal and relatable. I think that my presentation of the speech went well, I tried to use my nervous energy and turn it into anger as my speech was very heated. Anger is not an emotion I exhibit a lot so it was interesting to try show that through my speech. Though there were a few moments where I hesitated, I think it was okay over all. This year we did transitions between speeches and I really liked that. I thought that the speeches flowed much better, showed a story, and kept everyone more engaged. I think that all of the speeches were very well done and everyone had a lot of confidence on stage. Speeches were my favourite part of the night because I really enjoyed watching everyone and encouraging people backstage.
Learning centers were pretty fun, but it was the hardest part of the night for me because I had to talk to people in an unstructured way. However, I think that having the interactive component really helped. I had made my learning center to look like Ai Weiwei’s studio with paint, cut outs, and art strewn about. I laid down canvas and sheets everywhere to make sure that nothing got dirty. I pre-painted vases from value village white and I asked people to help me paint them with colours. This was supposed to represent Ai Weiwei’s ongoing piece where he would paint and destroy Han Dynasty urns to show that sometimes we have to disregard tradition to make way for new ideas. I think that this component of my learning center was successful. Many people young and old came to my station and painted their urns, some people even took their master pieces’ home! However, I did struggle to stay in character the whole night, it was hard to talk about my person from his perspective and still remain somewhat objective about his hardships. I think that all of the learning centers were really great this year and I think that they flowed really well, I liked that all the artists were together in a corner. It was especially cool because some of our eminent people knew each other and had visited each others studios and exhibitions. I think that looking at all the learning centers just before they were all taken down was a lot of fun. Though I missed out on the interactive components of most learning centers, I am very happy that I got to see them.
The overall flow of the night was very good. I think that the fact that the speeches had transitions and that some learning centers were organized by theme made for a more integrated experience. The set up of the event was very quick and we all had plenty of time to set up learning centers, look at each others learning centers and practice our speeches on the main stage. We also had enough time backstage before the speeches started for a quick pep talk which was very nice. The cleanup was not as smooth as it could have been. We mostly began cleaning after the first announcement and though we were all quick in taking down our learning centers, not everyone did their designated cleanup jobs and we ran out of recycling/ garbage space. However, we were still pretty fast with cleanup managing to finish before 10:30. The circle that we had at the end was very nice and I liked that a grade nine and a grade ten counted down to the shooting stars. It was a strong note to end of on.
The closing circle was a really nice way to wrap up a long day and the last Night of the Notables I would ever have to present at. Though I was a little bit sad that it was the beginning of the end of our journey through TALONS, I was mostly relieved that I wouldn’t have to go through the same stress again next year. I feel very satisfied with how Night of the Notables ended up this year, I think that it was very successful in the speeches, the learning centers, and the flow of the night. NotN made me feel happy and excited and sad and relieved all at once, and I am very glad that I had this experience with all of you!
Congratulations to all of the grade tens who have finished their last eminent project, good luck to the grade nines on their projects next year, and thank you to everyone who supported the TALONS learners in this time of stress, especially Ms. Mulder, Mr. Salisbury, Ms. Dingle, and Mr. Jackson!
I think that the interview aspect of eminent is the hardest for me personally. I sent out more than ten e-mails and got very few responses. However, the interviews that I did end up getting were very helpful and gave me a lot of insight. In the end, I think that it was worth putting in all the work of sending out so many e-mails because I did get three good interviews that really helped shape my project.
I interviewed Jeanette Langmann the curator of the Uno Langmann Limited Fine Art, Adair Harper a curatorial assistant from the Vancouver Art Gallery and Kathrine Dennis the adult programs coordinator also from the Vancouver Art Gallery. All of the people that I interviewed are around art on a daily basis and are often the people making the decisions around what is inside of their gallery. These people are very well informed and I feel very lucky to have had the chance to sit down with them.
Going in to these interviews my goal was to gain more insight into the art world now and in the recent past and put my eminent person into the context of the global art scene. I may not have reached my goals exactly, but I did learn a lot from the experience that I could not have learned any other way.
Before even starting the interviews, I asked how they would first define that art that we would be discussing. The answers that I got were pretty similar in that all of them described art as a mindset or a perspective of looking at things. Katherine told me a story about young children coming into the art gallery. They viewed a piece that was a pile of rocks and were asked, “Why is this art?” and they answered “Its art because its meant to be art,” (as in the artist had intent to make a piece). I think that the small anecdote Katherine told describes the kind of answers I got to my question on the definition of art.
To get a better idea of art in context, I asked them about what are pieces inspire them and about what makes a provocative piece. I learned that curators pick pieces that start a conversation or grab attention (good or bad) over pieces that are visually pleasing. This was an interesting revelation for me as an observer because I usually think of art in the aesthetic sense first. This helps me better understand the context of Ai’s art in galleries around the world. I also learned that a piece is provocative only if it allows for it. Adair helped explain this idea using a narrative around Duchamp’s fountain piece. When the urinal was first displayed on its side in a fancy gallery, it was shocking, and it made people question why it was art. It was provocative because no one had done anything like that at the time and because it started a conversation around art. Yet, if the same piece were to be displayed now, it would not be as shocking because it has already been done and we are used to seeing more unconventional art now.
To get a better idea of the influence of art and influences on art I asked about arts effect on society, the implication of mass media, arts effect on modern philosophies and the societal issues that are common in art today. At these questions there was pause. They are all rather broad questions, and I got an array of answers. However, what I got out of it was that art doesn’t always affect societies directly but can impact individual people. With mass media art is now seen in the public eye more often and is more accessible to people. I learned that common societal issues in art are ever changing and very different from place to place and time to time. Many artists right now are currently focused on politics, in Canada Aboriginal themes are very common. Though these questions were rather vague, I think that I got some good information and it helped me better understand the vastness of the art world.
At the end of the interview, I simply asked if there was anything else that I should know based on the questions I had been asking. I am now very glad that I took the time to ask this question because I got some very helpful answers. All three of the people I interviewed recommended that I continue to pursue researching art, pursue experiencing art, and pursue making art. Katherine said that the best way to learn about art is to get immersed in it. I found this advice very helpful. Though I am currently very busy, this made me pause and think about visiting a local art gallery as a learning experience. I hope that I find the time soon to go to a local art gallery, I think it would be very beneficial for my project and would challenge me mentally.
I think that these interviews helped me look at Ai Weiwei from a broader perspective. The interviews shed light on the opinions many people in the art world hold about influence, inspiration, society and controversy. These interviews helped me put my eminent person in to context to better understand the influence of his work and what it means today. However, I think the most important thing that I learned from my series of interviews is that art has big roles in the lives of many and is something that should be held dear to our hearts. Art can convey deep emotions and we should not take our freedom of expression for granted. This interview helped me better appreciate the career path not just of my eminent person, but of all the artists, and curators out there. The passion of Jeanette, Adair, and Katherine really moved me and made me think about trying to pursue some form of art in the future.
If you have not already checked out the small Ai Weiwei biography I wrote in my intro post, you should!
Eminent has been a very good experience so far. Though I expected to be very stressed and worried at this point, I feel surprisingly calm. I think that everything is going very well, and though my posts are a little late, I still feel okay about the work I have done so far.
I am now very glad that I took so much time to pick my person as this project has been a lot more fun. I have decided to really take my time with all the steps of this project and I think that it has helped me to gain everything that I can from this experience. I think that though there is less we have to do this year; I have learned more because we really have to synthesize this project as we embody the person.
In the beginning I really struggled to even imagine embodying Ai Weiwei simply because we look so different; but as I began to write my speech I found ways to connect with him through philosophies and history. I think that his fight for freedom of expression and transparency is very important and I agree that he is doing right by standing up for himself and for others. I have never gone through what he has, and I don’t think that I ever will in this day and age in Canada. However, my family has had similar experiences to Ai. Both of my parents grew up in a communist country and experienced first hand the oppression of their government when they were restricted to express themselves, to read certain books, and to travel anywhere. Media at the time was limited and heavily controlled by the government. My parents went through similar hardships that Ai is still facing today, and this connection has really helped me better understand him and relate to him.
For my speech, I chose the perspective of Ai talking to his son Lao as he is being taken away to jail. This viewpoint reminds me of my parents telling me about the hardships they faced as young people. I picked this angle because I think it will make for the most impactful stage presence and overall speech. I have inserted my speech below, it is a rough draft and I am sure it will change a few times before NotN. If you have any suggestions for my speech, please comment below, I really appreciate it!
You ask why the police are putting me in jail? Why your father is being taken away? Why I am being forced into to prison?
I’m not sure what to tell you son.
This is not the first time I have been sent away, I was in exile for the first 18 years of my life. My father was an artist, like me, and we were all sent away because he spoke his mind.
He did not do anything wrong, I did not do anything wrong, my mother did not do anything wrong.
Nothing has changed; and I have not done anything wrong now.
I am being silenced, censored, suppressed.
I spoke out when I saw wrong in the world, the way my father taught me and the way I will soon teach you.
Let me tell you son, in Sichuan, 5,192 young students died; because of the crumbling school infrastructures. And they did nothing. The government launched no investigation, they released no names, and they laid no blame.
But I knew who was to blame for the 5,192 deaths of children. The deaths of children like you Lao. My investigation was only meant to bring peace to the families of the departed. They deserved to know that their child is truly gone.
This injustice should not be silenced, censored, suppressed. We have the right to know and we have the right to speak. I want change and I will fight for change so that you will not have to.
I know now what to tell you son.
I am being taken away in chains because…
(I will get dragged off stage at this part)
Thanks so much for checking out my speech. Just a few more days until we go on!
I also wanted to highlight somebodies work, because they have worked very hard. Rachael has had quite a difficult time with her interview and she has kept a very level head about it all; I really admire her or that. If you want to read more of her work and learn about her interesting eminent interview, you should head on over to her blog! I think that she really deserves the recognition for her hard work.
I hope that everyone is having a good eminent experience this year! I know that though it may be a struggle now, everyone will be more than great on the night of with their speeches and learning centers. Good luck everyone!
I have really struggled to pick someone for eminent this year. There were so many great people that I wanted to study that it was hard to pick just one person! I really wanted to step out of my comfort zone again this year by picking someone in a field I don’t plan on actively pursuing in the future but am very passionate and curious about. I thought about picking someone in the field of science research, but I feel that I already learn about this in my own time; I really wanted to take advantage of this learning opportunity and get as much out of this experience as possible.
This year I decided that I really wanted to study an artist, and at first I looked into the “classic” artists that I could study. For a week I pursued studying Salvador Dali, but after researching him further I realized that he wasn’t a good fit for me as my values didn’t seem to line up with his. I also struggled to relate to him as he was a rather privileged person. This seemed to be the case with many of the “classic” artists (Vermeer, Rembrandt,Monet) I pursued. Most of them were white men who came from privileged families, though not all were.
So, I decided to look into contemporary artists and I found so many wonderful artists with similar values and backgrounds. However, China based artist, architect, curator, and filmmaker Ai Weiwei stood out to me because he is also heavily involved in activism. You may know him best from the “Bird’s Nest” building he created for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, yet I soon found out he has done so much more. I began to research Ai Weiwei’s biography, then his art installations, then his activism, then I watched some of his documentaries. I wanted to pick someone for eminent that I was not just intrigued by, but captivated by; and I think that I found that in Ai Weiwei.
I think that Ai Weiwei is eminent in his field because he really evokes thought through his projects and has shed light on many important issues. An example of this is through his “5.12 Citizens’ Investigation” project. At 14:28 on May 12, 2008, an 8.0-magnitude earthquake happened in Sichuan, China where over 5,000 students in primary and secondary schools perished in the earthquake, yet their names went unannounced by the government and press. In reaction to the government’s lack of transparency, a citizen’s investigation was initiated to find out their names and details about their schools and families. This project had political implications, but more importantly this project brought peace to the friends and families who had lost loved ones in the Sichuan earthquake.
This is just one of his monumental works. Ai Weiwei has been sparking conversations and controversy through some of his other projects which include painting and breaking Han Dynasty urns. However, my personal favourite work of his is “Sunflower Seeds” which was an installation at Tate Modern where he scattered 100 million porcelain “seeds” hand painted by 1,600 Chinese artisans—a commentary on mass consumption and the loss of individuality. The effect is amazing.
However, his road to success in the art world was very rocky up until very recently. In 1958 at the age of one, Ai and his family was sent to a concentration camp in Beidahuang, Heilongjiang. They were exiled to Shihezi, Xinjiang in 1961, where they lived for 16 years. Upon the end of the Cultural Revolution, the family returned to Beijing in 1976. In 1978, Ai enrolled in the Beijing Film Academy and studied animation. Later, Ai moved to New York to pursue art and lived there in the 80’s and 90’s where he had a few art pieces and installations showcased. However, in the 2000’s he began to really take off. He had his art showcased, books published, and he founded his own architecture firm, FAKE, and made a studio for himself. His messages of freedom of expression spread all around the world. However, his messages often clashed with the philosophies of the Chinese government. After years of harassment and physical abuse from the government he was arrested and held by the police for 81 days, with no charge. After being released, Ai Weiwei continued to work on his art and continued sparking dialogue between the contemporary world and traditional Chinese modes of thought and production.
Images of publications sourced from: https://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2012/printout/works/the-grey-book-cover-pw12/index.html#
Ai Weiwei is now one of the most influential Chinese artists and political activists today. I am very excited to try portray him, though I am nervous to impersonate him as we don’t look alike. I hope that through this eminent project I can learn more about the art world and political activism and develop my passion for these topics.
Some of the websites that helped me get to know Maya better were:
http://mayaangelou.com/ It is Maya’s official website and has a lot of important biographical information and pictures of Maya which are hard to find anywhere else.
A page on Oprah’s website with all of the interviews she did with Maya Angelou, it is really helpful to see the videos of Maya talking freely because in many videos I watched she is either singing or reading poetry so I liked seeing her talking conversationally.
Night of the Notables was one of the few stressful instants I will probably remember for a life time, but the rewarding feeling of finishing eminent and the pride of our collective work in organizing an event that had been pretty successful overshadowed all of the stress around NotN. The excitement of people ready to animatedly speak at their learning centers about individuals that they are so passionate about, individuals that have made a big difference in their fields and sometimes the world, eclipsed the anxiety of eminent. NotN and everything leading up to it was no doubt hectic, but there were so many good things that night that made me forget about all my eminent worries.
One of the biggest lessons that I learned through eminent that stood out to me that night was that collective work is important. While setting up, taking down, and planning NotN, we had to rely on each other and work together to finish what needed to be done. The committees needed to talk to the others to accomplish their jobs. By the end of NotN, I felt like I had gotten to be part of many of the committees as we all helped each other out when we could in small ways with sorting foods last minute and helping a family at the door who had important learning center components. We helped and encouraged each other throughout the day and there was a sense of teamwork, relief, and respect that we had all finished this big project together. Teachers and parents too I think felt that sense of closure and accomplishment that night as they were big contributors to the project, editing and listening to speeches over and over again. I think that our teamwork made the night flow better as well as more thematic and that it was a big part of Night of the Notables.
Everyone had such amazing learning centers that were so interactive and informative. They were all so unique and different from each other and you could tell that a lot of hard work went in to creating them. The learning centers that I saw gave me a lot of ideas and high expectations for next year. I am pretty proud of my learning center, I think that I did a good job of recreating an environment from her life and a good job in my interactions with people—I am not much of a people person so I was surprised that it went so well and that I talked to so many people. For my learning center, I decided to re-create the library where Maya Angelou first began to read and write poetry because that is where she first got involved in the arts which later went on to be a huge part of her life as well as a big contributor to her success. However, I think that I could have made my learning center more thematic and relevant to big ideas as well as included more information about my eminent person. I think that I was so scared to have too much information that I didn’t include enough and though I got a lot of important points across by speaking, lots of people could not tell at first who I studied for eminent. I think I can improve by focusing less on the final product and looking more at the meaning behind my work or by asking more questions in class to clarify. However, I think that my mad-libs activity got people involved and and my slide show paired with the music and spoken word worked well to set the mood.
Another lesson that I learned during NotN is that though this process may be stressful, it is worth it and so rewarding. The final products were absolutely amazing, and there was lots great feedback from peers, family, and teachers. I thought that I would be worried about my project the whole night, but the night ended up being enjoyable for me too. The food was fantastic and the speeches were so much fun to listen to. I really liked having an event like this to wrap up a big project and to recognize as well as celebrate all of the work that we have done. The event’s atmosphere really helped me wind down, step back, and look at the project as a whole to asses everything I have done without being too involved in it still. I felt lots of satisfaction that we have finished this and with some success I might add. I was surprised that we all got so many things done. Before Night of the Notables, I was worried that I would just be tiered all night, but in reality I had such a good time and I felt so grateful to have an event like this to get some closure around eminent.
Night of the Notables was very memorable, for good and bad reasons—but mostly good. I think the two most important things that I got out of this was that collective work is really important as well as that together we can accomplish a lot and that though eminent might be hard at times, it is worth it to see all of your hard work come together on NotN. I also learned a lot about creating and presenting a learning center as well as what I can do to improve it for next year. NotN was no doubt worrisome, but I think that having a night like that to look at everything that everyone has accomplished is a really great way to end eminent.
Marcia Nozick “a founding member of EMBERS, Marcia Nozick has been CEO of this community economic development charity for 13 years. Driven by a passion for building sustainable communities, and under her vision and leadership, EMBERS has grown and achieved significant success. Starting as a small and innovative idea and growing to be a sustainable and viable member of Vancouver’s ongoing economic community, EMBERS has received many awards and accolades for its work in helping people create productive futures for themselves. Prior to joining EMBERS, Marcia was the coordinator of Healthy Communities in Winnipeg, associate editor and publisher of City Magazine, taught Community Economic Development at Simon Fraser University eight years and was an accomplished concert pianist. She holds a Master’s Degree in City Planning, has run her own small business and is the author of a Canadian bestselling book, No Place Like Home: Building Sustainable Communities (1992) that David Suzuki called “a bright beacon for a dark time, points to a health community as the goal of society, and provides a blueprint to achieve it. This is must reading.”” – Embers website
How it relates to my eminent person, Maya Angelou:
Marcia is a social activist that has made a great impact in Vancouver and has helped many people through her work. Through the non-profit organization she has started she has helped many low income people start successful businesses by financial backing and training. She has also helped many people who struggle to find and keep steady jobs transition in to full time jobs. Through her organization she has helped thousands of people and has truly mad an impact on the lives of the people in Vancouver. Many low- income households in Vancouver are becoming marginalized because they are living in an area that is increasingly becoming more suited for high-income households, and Marcia strives to help these people and give them a voice via her organization. Maya Angelou was a civil rights activist, but she also got involved in social activism, something that she is remembered for greatly. Through her work, Maya like Marcia, impacted the lives of many and gave them a voice. Both were empowered women in male dominated industries and helped people out of the goodness of their hearts. The two women have made an impact in their field that will never be forgotten and have touched the lives of countless people through their work. Maya and Marcia were both wrote important books and have raised awareness of important issues.
What made you start this company?
How has starting this non-profit changed you?
How has it changed the lives of the people around you?
Why do you do what you do?
How does doing this good work make you feel?
If you did this all over again, what would you change?
How has social activism changed since you started sine you started your non-profit?
What advice would you give to someone who would like to get involved in social activism?
Who do you look up to in this field?
How was your journey in creating your company?
Any other questions necessary—don’t be afraid to stray from the questions if others can lead me down a more interesting path.
I recorded our 15 minute interview and have written a rough transcript of the interaction, in reality, we talked a lot more in-depth about certain topics, but it would take too long to write it out as well, so I did my best to summarize the answers to the questions at hand.
Question 1: There was lots of gentrification going on in Vancouver. I studied city planning in university and volunteered in my community for such projects, but I wanted to really apply all that I had learned and to do something more because it was and still is an urgent issue.
Question 2: Well when I first came to Vancouver, I was an academic. I taught and learned at universities in the area about the topics of my passion. After I decided to start this company, I got to apply all of the theories I had taught and learned about and I got to set them in action. I became a much more hands on person, who thinks about the real life application of those ideas and theories rather than just studying them without thinking of the implications. I became more open to new ideas.
Question 3: I think that the people around me have just become more aware of the issue of gentrification. I think that the people that I helped through my organization are now making a bigger effort to improve their lives, and transition in to a surer life style, one where they don’t have to worry about where their next meal comes from or where they will stay for the night. Many people come in with problems like addiction, and I think that through this transitional program they learn to deal and overcome issues like that so that they can improve their lives.
Question 4: Hastings Street is the poorest postal code in all of Canada. Gentrification is part of that issue, and that is something that I can help with. These people often don’t have a voice and they get relocated because they can’t always stop it. It’s really hard for them, and I want to help them.
Question 5: Doing this makes me feel happy, but very tired at times. Sometimes I feel kind of stressed, but running this company mostly makes me feel tiered because its long hours, it is so rewarding, but I feel very tiered after a long day at work.
Question 6: When we first started this company, we made lots of mistakes, if I went back to do this again, I would try make less of those mistakes. Also, I would just start getting involved at a younger age.
Question 7: Well, most of the issues seem to be a lot more urgent now. Also, younger people are beginning a lot more and social media is a huge part of activism now. I’ve seen young people do such amazing projects through so many different mediums.
Question 8: Just start at a young age. If you are passionate about something, don’t wait to get involved, get involved as soon as you can.
Question 9: I know this sounds crazy, but I really look up to Barak Obama. Whenever I feel stressed about what I have to deal with, I think about all of the pressure that he is under and how well he handles it.
Question 10: Well, I went to university and got a master’s degree in city planning. I wrote a book about sustainable communities. Then I moved to Vancouver to teach at SFU, for a big portion of my life I was an academic and was really focused on theories and ideas. After living in Vancouver for a while I saw that gentrification was a big issue, and I wanted more than to tell people about it in my classes. And so, I started Embers with the hope that I could help low-income households live sustainable, happy lives. In the beginning we made a lot of mistakes, but we learned from them and moved on. When I first came here, Vancouver looked so different. The office building that we are in today was abandoned for a long time until the government took it over and sold it. This neighbourhood we are in used to be a low-income housing. Now because this city has been pushed out more and more, these poor people have had to re-locate too many times. I really wanted to do something about that, help them have more stable lives.
Question 11: Just follow your passion and start to follow it when you’re young.
I think that interviewing Marcia gave me some insight on what social activism looks like today and what it looked like in the past. I have more appreciation for how hard the work in this field is. After conducting this interview, I have a better understanding of Maya’s motives behind her activism. I better understand what may have fuelled her to do what she did, how doing this good work made her feel and what she may have gotten out of it. I have also learned more about how small actions can impact people greatly. However, I think that the most important thing that I derived from the interview is that you should always follow your passions. Now that I have conducted this interview, I know why passion is such an important thing to have and why you should follow it. I understand that it places a much bigger role in social and civil rights activism than I had anticipated. Through this interview, I think that I learned why Maya was so successful at what she did, she followed her passions and never gave up. She started young and never gave in to the social pressure to have a more regular and consistent job. Maya followed her dreams and got to do what she loved as well as helped people because of her work, just like Marcia.
Here is my eminent person talking about their personal goals for the future, watching this video makes me more excited about getting to know her better.
When I did my initial blog post about eminent at the beginning of the project, I didn’t really talk about my personal goals for this project and how they will affect me. So, for my document of learning, I have decided to explore some of the things that I hope to get out of the eminent project. Through this project, I hope to improve my public speaking skills, to learn how to better conduct a more independent project—learn to manage my time better, and to learn more about social and civil rights activism.
Public speaking is the number one fear people have in North America, above things like death and spiders. Public speaking is something that definitely gets me nervous too, I know that when I heard that Eminent involved us doing a speech, I suddenly got very tense. However, I really want to overcome this fear and get better at public speaking. I have always been okay at speeches, but I have never been very memorable. That is one of my goals for this project, to get better at public speaking and try to make my speeches more interesting. I think that improving upon this skill will definitely help me in life since public speaking is something that will I will always have to do. Improving my public speaking skills would help me get better at presenting my ideas with more ease and accuracy. I know that sometimes, when I am nervous, I don’t quite get my ideas across very well, so I think that cultivating that skill set will help me be much clearer about my thoughts. I am actually very happy now that this project includes a presenting portion because this is a goal I would not peruse in my own time, but something that really is crucial to develop. I hope that when I do my reflection on this project, I can say that I have gotten better at speaking in front of large groups of people and that my speeches have become more interesting to listen to.
A really big part of TALONS is the independent projects that we are given the opportunity to do, like Eminent and In-Depth. However this style of learning is still a pretty new concept to me. I hope to get better at conducting independent projects, specifically, I hope to get better at making schedules of learning and sticking to them via the Eminent Person Study. If I improve upon the skill set required to achieve my goal, it will definitely help me in the future when we do in-depth, or even later on in university when most of our learning is independent. This is an important skill set to learn because I will need to use it a lot in TALONS and throughout life. Getting better at managing my time will definitely help me in nearly everything that I do and reduce my stress around bigger projects. I hope that through this process I will get better at creating realistic timelines for myself and keeping to them. By the end of this project, I hope that I can look back and see that I have stuck to the timeline I have made for myself—so far I am only a little bit behind, so I hope that by the end I will have caught up.
One of the hardest things I had to do in this project so far is pick just one person to study, there are so many amazing people out there who have done amazing things that I want to learn about. However, I could only pick one, but when I looked at all the people I was interested in, I found that most of the people I wanted to study were involved in some form of social or civil rights activism. Since nearly the beginning of the project, I made it a personal goal to learn more about that field no matter who I chose. I wanted to learn about this topic because it is something that I get very passionate about and would like to get involved with it as much as I can. I think that learning more about social and civil rights activism is important because I know that I will use that knowledge in my life often, and incorporate it more into school work or even study as well as practice it for my In-depth study. This topic is something that I am very passionate about and the more that I learn about it and the more that I have the chance to get involved with it, the better. Most of my goals so far have been more academic based, but having some more individual objectives about my personal passions is important too. I hope that when I reflect on my Eminent Person Study I can say that I have a much deeper understanding of social and civil rights activism and some of its implications—in the past and in the present.
So far, I think that I am on the right track to accomplishing my goals and I think that by the end of the project I will have fulfilled most of them. So far, I think that my public speaking skill shave improved from last year and I think that I have gotten better at doing independent projects but I didn’t learn as much about social and civil rights activism. Through my eminent person I have learned more about other fields that they were involved in and I think that for this project, knowing more about those fields is of better benefit to me. However, I am still determined to learn more about social and civil rights activism through Maya Angelou as it was a big part of her life.
I hope that through this project, I can improve on my public speaking skills, my independent studying skills—especially time management, and that I will learn more about social and civil rights activism. All of these skill sets that achieving these goals entails will help me short term and long term with all of my personal and school related projects. I hope that when I look back at my journey through the eminent project that I can say that I have achieved or have made progress on all of my goals.
All together the library field trip was very enjoyable. Though its purpose was to educate us about our eminent people, it was still a very laid-back and inviting environment for learning. I found that the activities were pretty independent or were carried out in small groups, which I think made me more productive, but also more engaged. I think that this way of learning is more memorable and more appealing to me because it’s highly experiential. I like how the researching portion of the field trip was incorporated so seamlessly with the leisure time of the field trip. It blurred the line between work and play, making the learning more interactive as well as closer to my personal interests.
Through this field trip I have learned a lot including what and how an “urban solo” works. The free time to think before the fieldtrip about what we wanted to get out of the day really helped me become more organized as well as get more things done than I had expected. I also learned to make the most of the time I had to research by experience as I spent a little too much time looking for my books and not enough time reading them—I should have stuck to the plan I made during my thinking time in the urban solo. I hadn’t documented the day well before this field trip, so I am glad that I got to experiment with picture taking and journal writing to express my feelings as well as thoughts throughout the day. It really helped me to summarize the day, identify the key points, and write this blog post now. I think it’s a really great skill to have and I will definitely apply it when we go to our retreat. Most importantly of all, I learned about my eminent person and actually decided, after doing some research, who my eminent person would be. Though I wasted some time learning about someone who is not my eminent person, the research really helped me figure out who I wanted to study.
The things I have learned from this trip will definitely influence my eminent project, from who I am actually studying, to the way I study and how I look at that research. Seeing the way other people were investigating their eminent person helped me improve the way that I research and got me to experiment with different styles of examining to find out what works best for me. Having time in the library to do some research really helped me put all of the work in to perspective and put me more at ease because I realized how much I will enjoy learning about my eminent person. I also got some perspective on how this project will work, as I was a bit confused up until that point. This library trip really clarified who I wanted to study for eminent and that has a huge impact on my content of course. However, most importantly of all, this field trip got me very enthusiastic about diving in to the eminent person project and sparked my passions which I think will shine through in the final product.
Starting out at the beginning of the day, I had a very different idea of how the trip would work out; I thought that I would find all three of the books I was looking for at the library and that I would have plenty of time to begin reading them, I thought that the research would continue to the book store, as well as be more collaborative in the researching methods. However, I only found two of the books that I was looking for and go an audio book to replace the last book. I didn’t have time to read as much as I would have liked but I decided who I would study for eminent which exceeded my expectations for the day. I found that in the book store, I didn’t really study my eminent person and used that time for leisure time and to pursue other topics of interest. Though I didn’t study my eminent person at the book store, I had a great time learning about a few other topics, but also getting to know my classmates better through this portion of the field trip. The research in the library however turned out to be more independent than I had expected but I think that this made me a lot more productive and focused on the objective.
I had a great time at the library and at the book store. The atmosphere all together was friendly, relaxed, but also very educational at the same time. I really liked the balance we had in the day between time to socialize and time to be independent, but also the balance between time to research eminent people and time to leisurely explore other topics of interest. I liked learning and researching in this very experiential and interactive way where we get a lot of say in how we do things but also the chance to be part of a bigger group if we choose. The bus way there and back was a lot of fun and I am glad that we got that time and time between the library and book store to get to know each other a bit better. In a nutshell, I think that this day exceeded my expectations in nearly all aspects, though in a surprising and subtle way.