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An exciting collaboration

January 18, 2017 In Lakeland University Blog
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Combine powerful, emotional writing with eye-popping imagery and appealing design, and the final result is a real source of pride.

Just ask the Lakeland University students who were in Monique Brickham’s Digital Page Layout/InDesign (ART 103) course or those in Jodie Liedke’s Writing in the Genres (WRT 115) course last semester. The classes joined forces and created 20 layouts that were compiled in a literary magazine the students titled, “Struggling Work of a Dysfunctional Community.”

“My students thought it was an awesome experience,” said Liedke, Lakeland’s assistant professor of composition. “They got to see this fantastic process that involved words going from their minds onto a page, and then becoming a published piece of art.”

Brickham, Lakeland’s assistant professor of art, constantly thinks of ways to make her courses simulate real-world graphic design work. As she contemplated the InDesign course, she wanted her students to work with real material – not placeholder text. She met with Liedke, who was immediately on board. The two professors paired up students from their respective classes, then watched the collaboration blossom.

"For the first part of the project, my page layout students met with their writing student partners to discuss how the words should be designed on the page,” Brickham said. “This gave the page layout students a feel for what it’s like to meet with real clients, just like they would as a professional graphic designer.

“Then, for the second part of the project, they learned how to combine all of the different layouts into one 48-page literary magazine."

Liedke’s class focused on fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction and screen writing, so the final PDFs, printed on high-quality paper in LU’s Mac Lab, were diverse.

"Graphic design is all about creating something that visually communicates and further explains what the words are saying,” Brickham said.

Said Liedke: “I was blown away, not just by what the art students created, but by what my students wrote. These pieces were their lives. To give their work to someone they may not even know, you have to vulnerable.”

So successful was this collaboration, Brickham is eagerly anticipating a similar project this semester, one in which her page layout students will partner with Karl Elder’s poetry students to design posters that visualize their poems.

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