Local Knowledge: Building Just and Sustainable Communities

Fall 2015 and Winter 2016 quarters

Taught by

communication, media and community studies
qualitative research methods, policy studies

In this program, we will develop skills to support collaboration and learning with local communities, including media and qualitative research skills. Our starting place will be the identification of local knowledge: how communities view themselves; their sense of place, history and identity; the issues that challenge them and the solutions they envision. In these days of globalization, mass marketing and celebrity, what people know at the local level is often trivialized or ignored. We will explore the dynamics of community life through collaborative efforts with people in our region as they work to create sustainability and justice.

Our program is largely focused on Mason County. One of our goals is to work with community members to build a place-based, multidisciplinary portrait of this complex region utilizing written and visual media, including documentary video. We’ll learn about literacy, immigration, education, and economic development. We’ll develop our sense of global context in relationship to local experience and action. We’ll learn about local history and changes in livelihood, study the distinctive ecology of the region, and explore community cultures and traditions. We’ll learn about organizations and individuals that are tackling issues in innovative ways. Our work will be informed by perspectives from popular education and community-based research that represent respectful, effective approaches to community work. Workshops will be offered in qualitative research, ethnographic observation, documentary video, public art, grant writing, media literacy, and oral history.

In fall, we will learn about people and organizations doing significant work in the region. Once a week, classes will be held off campus, and students will be able to observe and collaborate with innovative school and community programs. We’ll explore the importance of dual-language programs and culturally relevant pedagogy to a diverse, changing community. We will build case studies of the region, contextualized by research on other areas of the U.S. Through these studies, we will build a foundation for collaborative community work.

In winter, we will continue developing research and media skills. We’ll deepen our understanding of how culture, language, and place shape personal and social identity. We’ll continue working with organizations that are building sustainability and justice in Mason County and we’ll carry out community-based collaborative projects that put into practice the skills, knowledge, and relationships we have developed.

Program Details

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

education, media arts, community organizing, literacy education, journalism, and work with nonprofit organizations.

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Day


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Online Learning

No Required Online Learning

More information about online learning.

Required Fees

$50 per quarter for project materials.

Registration Information

Credits: 16 (Fall); 16 (Winter)

Class standing: Sophomore–Senior

Maximum enrollment: 50


Course Reference Numbers

So (16 credits): 10077
Jr (16 credits): 10078
Sr (16 credits): 10079

Go to my.evergreen.edu to register for this program.


Accepting New Students

Signature Required

Students must demonstrate prior experience with or studies in education, community-based work or media, and should be willing to read 1-2 fall texts before joining the program. Check with faculty for details.

Course Reference Numbers

So - Sr (16 credits): 20035

Go to my.evergreen.edu to register for this program.

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