Here's what Dr. Erin Dufault-Hunter's syllabus told me about how to do art for and get credit for it for her bioethics class last quarter:
Plan B in lieu of book review: An assignment we work out togetherAs you can see, her scheme forces the artist/creator to commit to a certain amount of time on the project and makes that the main criterion of evaluation. I found this difficult because of the way the image I painted came to me all at once (this is not usually how I work), so I didn't have to spend as much time hashing out what I would be drawing. That said, I appreciated the way this focused more attention to holding the student accountable to investing fully in the learning process rather than doing an art project as an easy short cut. It was also nice to know that the grading was going to be more objective. You do the time, you get the grade. With my first project for Dr. Goldingay, it felt like more of a gamble since the grade seemed contingent upon how the work hit him.
I understand that while linear argumentation is useful—and highly valued—in academia, some of you communicate and engage issues in non-traditional ways. These might include using the arts (e.g. drama, screenplays, poetry, fine arts) to reflect on these difficult issues. You must initially submit a proposal for approval by me, including reasons why you wish to respond in this medium rather than a research paper, how much experience you have had with this medium, and the project as you envision it including size (e.g., no. of pages or measurements of the canvas, etc.).
Evaluation of Plan B:
Such creative endeavors are extremely difficult to grade. Your grade will depend on two factors: the number of hours spent on the project and the quality of your reflection on the project (three full pages, double-spaced). Your reflection on your piece/project should indicate thoughtfulness and critical reflection on the topic in addition to being technically and stylistically sound. So, if you wish to exercise this option, you must contract with me according to the hours of work on the project to be eligible for grades as follows:
• 40+: A
• 35 – 39: A-
• 30 – 34: B+
• 25 – 29: B
• 24 – 28: B-
• 23 – 27: C+
• 22 – 26: C
• 21 – 25: C-
• 21 hours or less: not acceptable.
You must attach three documents to your alternative project: 1) Your typed-out, approved idea for an alternative project (signed by me); 2) a signed statement as to the number of hours you spent on the project; 3) a three-page reflection paper.
It was a joy to spend finals week last quarter laboring over a painting rather than struggling to fit 3 weeks of research into 1 week of frantic thinking and writing.
I used google image search and photo shop to cobble together something of a sketch to work from. The hands are central to the image I was going for but are always so tricky to draw well. I don't really feel like I got down the watercolor technique I was going for until the final pair of aged hands on top, pictured here.
This piece went up in the Catalyst (student center) for Arts Fest and had an abridged version of my explanatory essay of the painting that accompanied it as an artist's statement.
The central image of the child encased in needles is actually a piece I did during my wife's first pregnancy. Incorporating it into the center of this piece was central to the message I was trying to convey about the way the community of God transforms our experience of fear, uncertainty and danger, not by denying those things but by placing them within a larger story of a caring God whose hands are everywhere his people are.