By Karen Kelly
Photos by Bryan Gagnon

There’s a good chance that the students in Vincent Andrisani’s fourth-year digital media production class already know how to create videos for TikTok, Instagram, or Snapchat. But he wants them to move past the shallow world of social media.

“I want them to understand what it means to be a media producer in a way that goes beyond putting up TikTok videos,” explains Andrisani, who teaches the COMS 4501 workshop class in Carleton’s Communication and Media Studies program. “I want to bridge the gap between communication theory and media production. For instance, what sorts of things might we learn about a place if we think about it in terms of sound rather than how it looks?”

Vincent Andrisani

The Place of Sound iconThat’s just one of the questions that students explore on The Place of Sound, a biweekly radio show/podcast that Andrisani produces with his class. The show “explores the idea of place through the ears of students,” and features audio portraits, soundscape compositions, and documentaries of people and places that are meaningful to them.

“Some of the stories produced in my class…I can tell how deeply personal and how cathartic they are,” he explains. “There are stories of mourning and loss, migration and exclusion, but also of joy and connection. The stories are so human and wonderful in that regard.”

For instance, episode 14 of The Place of Sound begins with a piece titled “Intimately Traversing a Space of Agony” by student Riley Duns, which transports us to the shore of the Rideau River during a moment of profound sadness in Riley’s life. It’s followed by a piece by Kit Chokly called “Consume by Remembering,” which takes listeners on a journey by preparing chicken paprikash, a family recipe filled with personal and cultural meaning. The episode ends with a documentary by Michelle Gitobu titled “Self-Preservation” about the failure of the health care system to care for racialized people.

Andrisani says the project, which was funded by a Faculty of Public Affairs teaching grant, is inspired by his own work.

“I’m interested in exploring the relationship between sound and cities—in what we might learn about a city if we simply listen to it—so my teaching is geared in that direction,” he says. “They’re learning to use sound in creative ways, to tell fabulous stories that say important things.”

Each term, Andrisani uses previous classwork as an example for his students. As a result, he finds the quality of work keeps getting better and better.

“The website is a public-facing representation of all of the work being put into this class by all of us,” he explains. “I’m excited by the professionalism of their portfolios. It’s a ton of work, but it’s fun.”

Wednesday, December 1, 2021 in ,
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