Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology Shalini Ayyagari received a Summer Stipend for Curricular Innovation through Pitt's Humanities Engage Project for Summer 2021. She received the award to develop a new graduate seminar in the Department, Transmedia and Sounding Publics: Refugee Stories in Pittsburgh. Ayyagari will spend this summer developing the course and making non-profit and community connections in Pittsburgh.
This interdisciplinary course, which will run during academic year 2022-23, will draw Humanities Ph.D. students from diverse backgrounds. Run in collaboration with Sharing Our Story, a Pittsburgh project-based initiative that works with local organizations to bring together communities through storytelling, this course will guide PhD students in learning multimedia skills, conducting ethnographic research, working with local non-profit organizations, and collaborating with refugee communities in Pittsburgh. Transmedia and Sounding Publics will innovatively shift focus from the traditional graduate seminar format to hands-on skills training in filmmaking, photography, and sound recording; collaborative teamwork among seminar colleagues; participation with Pittsburgh-based non-profit organizations; and engagement with local refugee communities. As a course listed through the Department of Music, emphasis will be placed on sound as a medium for communication, and the ways music, spoken communication, and everyday sound create relationships, contest meaning, and shape the world we live in.