Thanks to a partnership with Southwest Airlines, Emory University students have the opportunity to work directly with local artists and community groups in Atlanta to learn about ethically-engaged art and improve the city around them. The class, cross-listed this year in the Art, Film, and Environmental Science departments as “Film, Media, & Social Activism,” was created by the Ethics and the Arts Program at the Center for Ethics after a mutual interest was discovered with Southwest Airlines. The course has been taught since 2014.
The Director of the Ethics & the Arts program, Carlton Mackey said, “Southwest Airlines understands social issues on a local level and are innovative in their approach of harnessing the power of art as a means to communicate their dedication to the communities they serve.”
“This program is unique and it directly highlights Southwest Airlines’ commitment to social issues that affect the communities we serve,” said Quinnie Jenkins-Rice, Regional Leader of Community Affairs & Grassroots at Southwest Airlines. “Our partnership with Emory University can, through visual art, creatively display the importance of recognizing Atlanta’s social issues and challenges.”
In the Fall of 2016, the groups were as follows:
- The Alliance Theater group mentored by film artist Laura Asherman
- Global Growers group mentored by photographer Ross Knight
- Urban Health Initiative group mentored by film artist William Feagins
- Project Documentary Group which created a written and visual view of the entire process, including this website
During the selection process of these artists and organizations, Ethics and the Arts Program Director Carlton Mackey and Dr. Queen intentionally selected organizations that had compelling stories to tell.
The course strives to push students to follow a project timeline and better understand the role of the artist in the real world, where they must meet deadlines and cooperate with a team. Queen expects that students “will come away with greater awareness of how to work with other people, manage relationships, get things done, and negotiate tensions and ideas.” On an academic level, Queen hopes this class gives students the lens through which to view organizations with mindfulness: “I hope they leave with a deeper connection and awareness of what the organizations they work with do, and the importance of the organization in the community.”