field work guidelines
What does a successful
Field Work Paper look like? Read a
student example from our course.
On the first day of
class, each student will sign up for one of the field work projects.
Your paper and brief oral report will be due in class on the assigned
To begin the project,
read the assignments for that class session. The reading will help
you get a sense of some of the question involved in your work. The
key is to look at the space you visit with as few preconceptions
as possible. Pretend you are a visitor from Mars and just observe
behavior, language, dress, body movement, spatial organization,
etc. Who inhabits this space? How is the space designed? shaped
/ decorated? How do people speak there? How do people dress? move?
interact with each other and the space itself?
You will go to the fieldwork
location selected, OBSERVE CAREFULLY and TAKE NOTES. After the observation
session, begin to sort out, think through and ANALYZE what you have
seen. Your analysis should result in a short formal essay of 2 -
3 pages. In weeks 3 and 4, half of the class will present a 3-5
minute report on their analysis and turn in the paper at class.
The paper should report observations and interpretation of the space
Some preliminary questions
to get you started:
Museum Field Work
at Art Institute of Chicago: (Note: museum free day is Tuesday!)
How does the space look?
How is it designed? What is the relation of the space to the objects
within the space? How are objects/artworks positioned? How is the
space entered? exited? protected? Who enters the space? how do they
move? dress? speak? interact? How do people relate to the objects?
How is power enacted in this space? How are values enacted in this
space? How does this space create a social narrative (tell a story)?
Nature Company / Rainforest
Cafe Field Work:
How is nature thematized
here? How is it imagined? What sounds / smell / colors/ designs
are prevalent? What kind of discourse (language, words, terms) is
used to shape this space? How is nature conceived? How is nature
presented? How do people interact with the space? What is being
sold? How is it being sold? How is culture being conceptualized?
What assumptions about nature and culture are being presented? (You
may want to prepare by visiting the websites first.)
- All papers must be
typed double spaced, with margins of one inch on each side of
the page and in a font no larger than 12.
- Handwritten papers
will not be accepted.
- 10 points will automatically
be subtracted from any essays handed in late.
- Please take advantage
of the Writing Center's fine assistance.
- The professor is very
willing to respond to questions, drafts, etc.