The group project assignment was designed as an opportunity for Fellows to share some of the observations, reflections, analyses and skills that represent their collective fellowship experience. Fellows were divided into six collaborative work groups at the start of the Fellowship. Each work group was comprised of four people. Some time for group project development was built into the overall program schedule and groups were also strongly encouraged to meet regularly outside of scheduled Fellowship activities to plan and develop their projects.
Projects were not required to indicate a specific thesis or advocacy position. In fact, Fellows were given broad license to create a project presentation and set of final deliverables that respond to the John Lewis Fellowship theme of Grassroots Solidarities. However, teams were instructed that their projects should comprise at least two of the following components, which corresponded to a workshop or planned learning activity in the “field”:
- Photographic essay or narrated photo slideshow
- Audio podcast
- Short documentary video
- Field interview or oral narrative
- Archival artifact analysis and reflection
- Campaign organizing concept or tool
- Brief reflection statement from each team member
- Something creative that was not on the John Lewis Fellowship program curriculum
Ultimately, some projects were threaded together by a single sub-theme (eg: art and social justice, gentrification, immigrant rights, etc.). Other projects reflected a compilation of sub-themes or issue areas. The groups themselves were responsible for deciding the components to be developed and the narrative or concept around which the components cohere.
On the last day of the Fellowship program, each group delivered a 30-minute multimedia presentation. All group members were expected to participate in the presentation, which showcased the rationale of the project; a discussion of the project context, process and challenges; a description of the group’s work process or collaborative learning style and collective take-aways from the experience.
As you explore, I hope that the Fellows’ dedication and full engagement with the program shines through as it did in their live presentations. Importantly, I hope you will see a positive and compelling artifact of the Fellows’ summer learning and your generous investment in it.