Part of the curriculum of all Living Histories programs is journaling or informal writing which can consist of a combination of writing, drawing and collaging. We begin each class with 10 minutes of journaling. Journaling allows students to become present, to clear the mind and switch modes into a new setting and mindset. It is also a way for students to become aware of the thoughts that form the basis of their feelings and the basis of how they interact with and maneuver throughout the world. Generally a journal topic is stated at the beginning of class. However, if someone is preoccupied with a specific thought, it is encouraged that s/he journal about that instead as a way to process through it. The informal nature of journaling encourages feelings to flow out easily and gives it a more tangible form that allows for greater awareness.
Each student began journaling by creating their own handmade journal. Flipping through a variety of magazines, students were asked to cut out images that they were drawn to. They then used those images to create a cover for their journal. This particular class is a photography class, therefore, creating journal covers with found photographic images helps students become aware of how photography is used in the media. It also helps them become aware of what photographic styles and subjects they are attracted to. After creating their journal covers, each student shared with the class their final product: the images they chose and why they chose those particular images. We also discussed composition, how they assembled found images and sometimes text and drawings together to form one cohesive piece. This introduced the idea of critique, an essential component of artistic production. The sharing and exchanging of ideas is also an integral part of Living Histories programs. It enhances and encourages the notion of community.
Below are some examples of journal covers created by students.