Photography and English IV Students Collaborate on Interdisciplinary Storytelling Project

Students in the Upper School’s introduction to photography and English IV: Latin America short stories classes came together for an interdisciplinary storytelling project that brought a compelling visual element to student writing.

The collaboration was brainstormed by photography teacher Amanda Albanese and English teacher Kimberly Kim and planned for spring 2020 as part of the school’s interdisciplinary summer grant program in 2019, but was postponed for more than a year by the pandemic. The teachers persisted in making the project happen, and the results were inspiring examples of creative collaboration.

The students partnered with a peer from the other class, where writing ideas and visual ideas were swapped. The writers worked on a short story based off the writing styles of Latin American writers such as Jorge Luis Borges and Juan Bosch.  

“Students began with a meet and greet, where the artist and the writer exchanged ideas,” Ms. Albanese said. “Photo students brought portfolios and writers brought writing samples. This acted as a brainstorm session and 'jumping off point' for photography students to create artwork for the stories.”

The collaborators kept in touch via individual Google sites created by the students. After the English IV students wrote their short stories, the photography students created layout designs including an image through a desktop publishing program.

Ms. Albanese and Ms. Kim plan to print copies of the short story collection to showcase the student work.

“It has been amazing working with another colleague on campus and engaging students to think critically through an interdisciplinary and collaborative approach,” Ms. Albanese said.
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