Looking for another class to add to your schedule for Spring Semester that isn’t just another lecture? We have just the class for you. Book Arts Collaborative is an immersive-learning experience that is also student-managed business.
What do students in Book Arts Collaborative do?
Participants professionalize skills through a variety of hands-on learning and management experiences. They teach letterpress printing and hand-sewn book binding to students, who assist with and eventually lead community workshop instruction in these apprentice-taught skills.
Book Arts Collaborative sells its work through a network of Central Indiana retailers, and students work with those business and gallery owners. They publicize their workshops, community donations and activities such as appearances at street fairs and book arts-related events. Their website also includes a student-written blog.
Creative Writing minor Gipson Schabel recounts her experience working at Book Arts Collaborative, a “makerspace in downtown Muncie where community members and Ball State students learn about letterpress printing, book binding, and artist’s book design and publishing.” Book Arts Collaborative is currently fielding applications for the Fall 2017 semester; interested students should email Rai Peterson at firstname.lastname@example.org to apply.
It is important to first note that I earned my bachelor’s degree from Ball State University in actuarial science, with a minor in creative writing. Actuarial science is a brand of financial math specifically focused on statistics and predictive modeling. Creative writing is nearly the opposite. Half of my undergraduate years at Ball State were spent as a double major in these two subjects, which I was warned countless times was very weird. Mathematics and creative writing could not mesh, I was told. They were “left brain” and “right brain,” whatever that means. To me, it made sense. I was good at math and I enjoyed the concise correctness of it. Yet, I have been writing novels since age five. I wanted my education to reflect not only my strengths, but my passions. This is also the goal I had for my senior honors thesis: to combine mathematics and creative writing in a way that reflects not only what I have learned, but who I have become during my time at Ball State.
Stars to Steer By presents Audra Dittlinger, a Marketing Content Manager and Client Experience Director. Ms. Dittlinger began her journey at Ball State in 2001 and officially graduated in 2014 with a degree in English Studies.
How would you describe your job?
I would describe my job as fast paced, exciting, and unpredictable. It’s a mixture of editing, brainstorming, and creating some amazing content for a start-up company that is growing quicker than we ever thought possible!
Stars to Steer By is our monthly event series focused on helping #bsuenglish students make the best of their degrees after graduation. This month, #bsuenglish alum and owner of The Playground Group Monica Scalf will be presenting “Personal Branding: Uncovering Your Authentic Self” on Wednesday, 10/26 at 6:30 P.M. in Bracken Library 104. Below, Monica shares the career journey that led her to developing The Playground Group.
I studied Secondary Education and English while at Ball State. I also have a Master of Arts in English from Xavier University in Cincinnati, OH. When I first enrolled as a Freshman at BSU, I thought I wanted to major in telecommunications. After my freshman year, I realized I wanted to teach and study English, so I switched my major. I had always loved reading and writing, and this major was a natural fit for me.
I currently run my own corporate consulting and training business, The Playground Group, LLC. It’s called The Playground Group because we teach engaging and interactive workshops in corporate settings that are fun, but not corny. Employees get to “play” and learn at the same time. We specialize in teaching Team Building, Productivity, Personal Branding, and Personal Effectiveness.
Recently, Dr. Rai Peterson and several students who participated in the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library immersive learning project had the opportunity to travel to Germany on a lecture tour and “talk about Vonnegut’s most famous novel, Slaughterhouse Five, the impetus for which was the fire-bombing of Dresden in February of 1945.” Check out Dr. Peterson’s travel blog,Feeding the Turtle, where you can read more about the trip. You can also check out Gail Werner’s blog post for tons of photos from the trip.
In the latest installment of our Recommended Reads series, Dr. Rai Petersonrecommendsfiction by Irving, Cunningham, Burroughs, Prime-Stevenson, and Woolf. Dr. Peterson is also interested in starting a reading group on campus. Check out the post below for more details.
I teach queer literature classes, and unlike the other literature classes I am assigned to cover, queer lit has no geographical or chronological restrictions placed upon its syllabus. We can read almost anything we want, and while queer readings of ostensibly straight texts can be fun and enlightening, there is so much great literature both by and about LGBTQ writers and characters, that choosing among those can be difficult (in a good way). Also, new ideas for the course cross my desk weekly, and I am always asking friends and students what they are reading. Below is a sampling of the better books recommended by friends (and if I don’t count Amazon as my friend, it should number me among its BFFs, based on my ordering history).
Sustainability is an important goal of immersive learning courses. Preferably, immersive projects can continue to run as part of the standard curriculum. The department of English has several sustained immersive learning projects, including the Broken Plate literary journal, Creative Writing in the Community, and Book Binding, which is one section of the capstone course, English 444, as taught by Dr. Rai Peterson.
The book binding course teaches students to hand-sew signatures and text blocks and to bind them as books, using a variety of binding methods such as Belgian, case-book, carousel, Coptic, Japanese stab, pamphlet stitch, and others. Students in the course write researched, original text (which might vary from an in-depth, researched thesis to an introduction followed by a collection of original poetry or prose), and each student brings out a hand-bound edition of four copies of her work.
This past July, Dr. Rai Peterson and her student from the KVML immersive learning project, sophomore Andrew Neylon, took a trip to New York City in order to gain an in-depth perspective about Kurt Vonnegut’s life according to his closest family and friends. Be sure to continue below to see photos taken by Dr. Peterson and Andrew Neylon during their research trip in NYC where they interviewed comedian Lewis Black, who has largely been inspired by Vonnegut, as well as Vonnegut’s family, friends, and fans. They shot photographs of his New York habitat, and images from this trip are incorporated into the Film Archive and the manuscript archive that have been donated to the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library as of July 19, 2012 after seven months of work.
The KVML project has also garnered local and national attention. Check out three features below from the Indianapolis Star, the Ball State Alumnus Magazine, and the Ball State Marketing and Communications website.
Our immersive learning project with the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library will debut its traveling exhibit, which incorporates content from our manuscript and film teams, in Bracken Library on July 9 at 2:00 p.m. All of the students will be on hand to answer questions and talk about how they researched and made these exhibits and marketing plans and products for the KVML.
Our project has maintained high academic integrity because we have told our students that, since it is funded through the office of the Chief Academic Officer at Ball State, that the administration cares about the integrity, accuracy, and research behind every fragment of it. We hope that you will stop by, ask questions, and thank these students for the very hard work they have done. Each understands that there cannot be any “C” work in an immersive project, and while the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library is their ostensible client, increasing the good name of Ball State was always their ultimate goal.
It is hard to drum up audience on campus in the summer, but we turn over the products to the KVML on July 19, and we wanted this exhibit to open first on our own campus where the professors and friends whose opinions we value most could see it first.