ICA Day!

Hello all and happy Friday!

Our instructions for today are pretty simple:

  1. Meet your Units II / III group in the front lobby of the ICA.
  2. Look over our Group Presentation assignment, and choose your group’s “provocation.”
  3. Tour Smith’s exhibit! During your stay, select some element of the exhibit for study. This can be an object, an image, a sound, a color, a recurring theme, a narrative, anything that strikes you as having an interesting relation to your group’s provocation. Take a photo or other documentation of that element. Share what you select with your group, including apx 250 words about your selection, how you came across it in the exhibit, and why you’ve chosen it.

This gets you through the first half of our group presentation assignment. If you successfully complete these steps today, you’ll only need to follow through with organizing your individual submissions into a google doc and creating your synthesis.

If you have extra time after touring, reconvene in your groups to talk through what you’ve selected and what ideas you have for your synthesis media.

What if my group isn’t here?!

No worries! Tour the exhibit solo, and make a few selections, preferably one per provocation. Later, when you and your group are able to get together you’ll have material for whatever provocation you choose.

#DayAway: Friday, March 29th

Hello and happy #DayAway! Today we’ll do some peer support for your Unit II writing and a little housekeeping. Read the directions below and complete these by this evening!

1. Checkin: At the close of each semester, FI hosts an Expo exhibiting student work from the semester. You are doing some really interesting work in your power maps, and I’d love to host a poster session on power mapping as part of the critical process. If you’d like to participate and share some of your cool work, please fill out this survey here!

2. Group engagement: Pop into your group member’s Unit II folders, read and view their individual presentations. Do some thinking about what they’re accomplishing in their research.

3. Then, in their Presentation document, or in their Unit II writing document, leave some feedback. First, post any any general comments you might have in their presentation document using the comments feature. Then add a new comment with one core question you have about their research at this point. Last, add a recommendation for one perspective you would like to see included in their final research. What voices do you think are essential to this research? Whose stories need to be told?

4. Finally, in your own UNIV 112 folders, please rename your “unit II” folder “Units II and III.” To keep folder confusion to a minimum we’ll be working in that folder for the remainder of the semester!

That’s all folks! I’m in Tennessee until Sunday night. Unfortunately this will mean low internet access. I will try. I make no promises. I look forward to launching Unit III with you on Monday!


Directions for Wednesday, 3/20

Hello! Today (Wednesday) is going to be a relatively open work day for your Unit II group presentations.

First, if you haven’t already done so you’ll need to confirm your group has everyone’s folders shared and you each have access to one another’s folders.

Second, read your group member’s topic worksheets in their respective folders. If you have feedback or questions, use the “comment” feature in Google Docs to share your thoughts. Questions are especially helpful at this stage! They let us know what we need to know to move forward—that can be hard to identify on your own.

Finally, create a mini map related to your own research topic. As we discussed in class on Monday, this can track any sub-theme or smaller component of your research. China Mieville might learn a lot just from mapping the board of a single environmental nonprofit, revealing all the power structures that influence board members. If you’re studying women’s health, for example, it might be an interesting exercise to map the power and influences present when a single woman comes in for a checkup. Who has power in the office? Who or what influences doctors, staff, and hospital administration?

You’re in the FILL today, which means you can mini-map on white boards if that’s helpful to you! Dr. Reed has markers if you’d like to grab some.

By the close of class any comments you have for your group members should be posted in Docs and mini-map pics should be in your own Unit II folder (either the top Unit II folder or the sub-folder with your name).

Directions for Friday, February 23rd:

Hello and welcome to your second #DayAway!

Today I’d like you to do a practice run power mapping. We spent much of Unit I talking about VCU and its relationship to various stakeholders. For this we read “Back to Old School” and “When Universities Swallow Cities.” These both dealt with VCU’s relationship to Richmond at large, but VCU has its own internal power dynamics that can be challenging to follow.

Today, your only task is to create a power map for VCU, capture an image of your map, and upload it to your Drive folder. You can map on paper, on white board in the library or in a classroom, wherever is convenient! You may find the following guiding questions helpful:

  • Who governs VCU? How many levels and types of governance do we have?
  • How is power constructed on campus? What power dynamics exist at the topmost levels and at the bottom?
  • Who has hard power and who as soft power?
  • Who are VCU’s broader stakeholders? Who is affected by VCU’s decisions?

You might do some drafting first — make a stakeholder list, look up our governance structure, brainstorm a list of employees, types of students, etc. If it’s helpful, use multiple colors to keep track of types of influence. Then, get to mapping! Make your map as detailed as possible.

Happy mapping and happy Day Away! I’ll see you all Monday.



See what you’ve been unseeing! In-class site visit.

Happy it’s not 20 degrees outside! In celebration today I’ll be asking you to visit a location outside of our classroom and observe crosshatching in that space. For this you will:

Choose a location, visit that space for the duration of class, and take notes on what you observe there. Pay close attention to the following questions:

  • what different groups that space, and in what ways?
  • how do, or don’t they interact?
  • how is this reinforced by the built environment?

Post your observations to your drive folder, via picture or scan or written notes, by the end of class.

By Wednesday, copy this document to your drive folder, and in more detail answer the questions raised there.

See you Wednesday!


Directions for Friday, January 18th:

Hello and welcome to your first DAY AWAY! This#DayAway you have a few things to accomplish:

  1. Create a Google Drive folder and share it with Dr. Reed
  2. Read an article
  3. Engage in creative elimination and annotation
  4. upload a copy of your annotations to your Drive folder!

This #DayAway has a few more moving pieces than we will usually see, but it will be a great test of our collective ability to navigate directions with both precision and creativity.

First: create and share your drive folder.

I need to be able to access a lot of different work from you this semester, which means I need an online repository of your work that I can visit anytime. We’ll use Google Drive for this. Please log into your VCU email, access your google drive, and create a folder named “[YOUR LAST NAME] – UNIV 112” For example, my folder will be named Reed – UNIV 12. Once you’ve done this, please share the top level folder with me (kreed@vcu.edu). Please complete this task by Friday Jan 18th at midnight (11:59pm).

Second: Read an article!

Read Greg Hershey’s article from Brick Weekly, “Back to Old School.” Please note this article is from 2007, when Grace street looked like this:

West Grace St 2007. Buildings are older, one story, and occupied by small businesses and churches.


Annotate, eliminate, and recreate this text! You can use any resources you have at your disposal: writing utensils, other art supplies, additional text, images, etc. You can see great examples of elimination texts in this project from the Richmond City Jail (2011).

Fourth: Upload your creation.

I need to see your creation, so please upload it to your Drive folder by midnight Sunday. Ideally I’d like you to scan your physical text for a high quality image. You can do this at Cabell Library. With a newer cell phone you can also get a good image if you take a direct photo in good light. No grainy, dim, angled, or otherwise tough-to-see images please!

For Wednesday of next week you’ll read an article from your course reader and we’ll talk a bit about the January 28th statewide teacher walkout. Please bring hard copies of your annotated texts with you to class!

Have a happy #DayAway, followed by a happy MLK day!


Welcome to UNIV 112. Everything you need this semester is on this website, including contact info  for your faculty member:

  • Kristin Reed
  • kreed@vcu.edu
  • Office: HH 5106
  • Office Hours: MWF 8:30-10

Above you can find resources for our class, our syllabus, a list of our assignments (in the dropdown menu under “syllabus”), etc. I look forward to meeting you tomorrow!