This site contains two different kinds of exhibits created by students enrolled in my English 486 course (Fall 2016). The Exhibit Essays make use of Omeka's museum-like plugin allowing for an annotated display of digital objects. My students were given the challenge of creating a multi-media essay that drew from issues we discussed in our course about nineteenth-century London and contemporary new media.
A few of their Exhibit Essays can be accessed from the links below. Students were charged with the task of creating multimedia arguments supported by evidence from the text and objects they collected and created for The Lyon Archive. To build these projects students had to consider not only how the archive and metadata assigned to each object supported their interpretive claims about the diary, but how to find ways of juxtaposing word-image correspondence to persuade audiences of the value of their interpretive claims.
In preparation for the creation of multimedia interpretive work, my class studied numerous examples of multimedia essays to understand how arguments work in media ecosystems. Students honed their skills in selecting archival objects to create digital narratives, as they developed interpretations of the nineteenth-century diary entries.
Along the way, students developed an interest in the way the meaning of a passage shifted when texts transitioned from handwritten paper document to transcribed typed object. Comparisons of the two forms of writing prompted discussions about the logic and aesthetics of linked digital objects.
The following exhibit essays offer a sampling of successful student projects. Over the course of ten weeks they learned Omeka basics including Dublin Core metadata and digital exhibit building. The course content helped to place the diary in cultural context as we studied the nineteenth-century East End of London, variations of nineteenth-century diary writing, and the literary connections between London, England, and Kingston, Jamaica in this period.
Following the completion of this course, several students expressed an interest in continuing their involvement in The Lyon Archive project. Be sure to see Acknowledgements for details about the impressive range of people involved in the creation of this site.
English 486 Exhibit Essays
“All the World’s a Stage: A. S. Lyon’s Appetite for Theatre” by Rachel Elkins
“A Brush with Fame: Lyon’s Celebrity Circle” by Sarah Wyer
“Naomi Cream and the Power of Transcription” by Madeleine Jones