Local Knowledge: Building Just and Sustainable Communities
Fall 2015 and Winter 2016 quarters
In this program students will develop skills to support collaboration and learning with local communities, including the study of education, media and qualitative research methods. 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 build a place-based, multi-disciplinary portrait of this complex region. We’ll learn about local history and changes in livelihood, study the distinctive ecology of the region, and explore community cultures and traditions. By learning about literacy, immigration, K-adult education, and economic development, we’ll develop our sense of global context in relationship to local experience and action. 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, art as activism, ESL methods, grant writing, media literacy, and oral history.
In fall we’ll 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 Mason County school and community programs. Students will explore the importance of dual language programs and culturally relevant pedagogy to a diverse, changing community. We will develop case studies of the region, contextualized by research drawn from other areas of the United States. Through these studies we’ll 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. We’ll carry out community-based collaborative projects that put into practice the skills, knowledge and relationships we have developed.
Fields of Study
Preparatory for studies or careers in
Location and Schedule
Offered during: Day