Over the past several months I have begun working with Dr. Romero, a Sociology professor at Texas State University, on developing a new project. This project will be a great combination of my interest in sociology and the digital media skills I have been learning in my Mass Communication program. I am really excited with what we have come up with!
East Austin is a controversial area of Austin. The area has gone through many changes in its history. The hip and trendy reputation this area has garnered in recent years is not the same vibe of the East Austin of 50 years ago. Housing and business continue to be in flux and are constantly undergoing radical change.
Over the next two months, I will be learning all I can about East Austin. I am trying to take a digital “snap-shot” of this interesting part of Austin through pictures and video. I also plan to conduct interviews with people who live and work there. At the end of the project, I will put together a short documentary film with all of the footage I have gathered. I will be using this blog to document the experience.
I have to admit, when I first realized the scope of what I was getting myself into, I was uncomfortable. I have never completed a project on this scale before. Dr. Romero and I had several discussions on the subject matter and what direction the project should take. Even after our conversations, I just felt lost. There are so many different avenues to explore when it comes to East Austin. Additionally, a great deal of work documenting this area has been done already. After much thought and discussion, the whole idea for the project has become much more clear.
I do not want to rely too heavily on any one idea. I am going to cast 100 different lines and see what I can catch. As things unfold, I will document them and do my best to stay out of the way. I want to do more listening than talking and let the geography and the people dictate the direction the project takes.
Dr. Romero and I will be meeting four times in different parts of East Austin. She studies the street art of downtown Austin and has spent a great deal of time in East Austin. We will discuss readings she has given me and we will also talk about the sociological significance of different areas of Austin’s east side. I will be using this blog to respond to some of the readings.
Outside of our meetings, I am going to start by exploring the area on foot. I guess you could call it urban hiking! All of the photographs you see in this blog are going to be from those walks.
I also need to start gathering interviews. This task is a bit more daunting. I am going to have to figure out how to find people and convince them to let me do an interview. I have a few ideas about how to make this happen. Any suggestions anyone might have would be most helpful!
I’m not exactly sure where all of this is going but I know it is going to be interesting. I am looking forward to documenting and sharing the journey!