Monday, November 25, 2013

undergraduate RA position in social media and urban ag (spring 2014)

I am looking to hire an undergraduate research assistant (RA) for spring 2014. The RA will work with me on the first stage of research towards the Jesuit Garden Network, an online/offline community of faculty, students, and staff at US Jesuit colleges and universities interested in sustainable agriculture. With the Jesuit Garden Network, faculty, students, and staff will come together to share seeds, skills, and curricula in sustainable agriculture.

Ideal candidates for this RAship will have advanced interests and skills in social media and urban/sustainable agriculture as well as experience with the USF Community Garden. The RA will work approximately 10 hours a week, for 15 weeks, and be paid $10.55 $10.74/hour.

The RA's responsibilities will include:

1. Searching, locating, and identifying people, projects, and programs in organic gardening, urban/sustainable agriculture, and food distribution at all 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the US;

2. Contacting and communicating with faculty, students, and staff (from US Jesuit colleges and universities) who are involved in urban/sustainable agriculture projects and programs;

3. Maintaining a database of all relevant people, projects, and programs (from US Jesuit colleges and universities) in urban/sustainable agriculture; and

4. Coordinating with students and faculty in 2 USF spring 2014 courses – Urban Ag: Spring (ENVA 140) and Community Garden Outreach (ENVA 145) – to create social media about growing, harvesting, preparing, and distributing organic food.

If interested, please send a brief email expressing your interest and qualifications for the job to Professor David Silver (dmsilver [ at ] usfca [ dot ] edu) by Wednesday, December 4, at 5 pm. Decisions will be announced the following week.

Monday, November 04, 2013

a day of comments assignment

for students enrolled in digital media production

1. on tuesday, november 5, refrain from posting original content on all social media sites.

2. comment all you want. comment on your fellow classmates' wordpress blogs, their flickr sets, and their photos on instagram. on twitter, feel free to reply, to retweet, or to favorite. just don't tweet. in other words, spend a day commenting on other people's social media, not creating your own.

3. when the day is done, reflect upon your experiences. type, write, or draw one page worth of reflections upon what it means to use, give, and get social media. bring the page of reflection to class on wednesday.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

cool class alert: tapping the apocalypse

this spring, novella carpenter returns to USF to teach two courses, including this exciting new class. spread the word.


ENVA 390: Special Topics in Urban Agriculture: Tapping the Apocalypse
Mondays, 11:45-3:25
Novella Carpenter

Urban agriculture tends to take hold first in places that can be defined as apocalyptic. These damaged zones, in cities like Oakland or Detroit, have suffered from years of poverty and neglect, and are now hosting some of the most vibrant - and urgent - urban farms. This class will begin with an examination of how agriculture came about in the first place and how industrial agriculture (creating an apocalyptic landscape of its own) came to dominate our food system. The class will then delve into the revival of small-scale farms and urban farms, questioning what forces came to pass that allowed this turning point to occur. We will take field trips to urban farms and meet guest speakers who work on the ground. Students will create a food experiment loosely based around an apocalyptic or catastrophic event. We will also write personal essays based around a turning point in our lives where everything changed, when an old self was destroyed, allowing a new self to germinate.

Novella Carpenter is an urban farmer, freelance journalist, author of Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer, and co-author The Essential Urban Farmer.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

wordpress assignment

for students enrolled in digital media production

1. sign up for a wordpress blog.

2. read three chapters of Simple WP Guide:

a. Writing Posts
b. Formatting Content
c. Using Images

3. write and publish a post using wordpress. the post should include 2-3 paragraphs of text, at least 1 photograph (one of your own!), and at least 1 hyperlink. hint: don't knock yourself out trying to write the best blog post ever. the key to this assignment is to get up and running in wordpress prior to wednesday's in-class workshop.

4. you are welcome but not required to share your post via twitter. if you do share, be sure to include #dmp13

5. wednesday's workshop will be on wordpress. bring a laptop or tablet to class.

Monday, August 26, 2013

3 photos assignment

for students enrolled in digital media production

1. take 3 photos, make them public, and tweet links to them. be sure to include #dmp13 in your tweet.

2. the 3 photos must include: a) a selfie; b) a shelfie; and c) a view from where you live. one goal of these photos should be to convey something meaningful about yourself to the rest of us.

3. the 3 photos must somehow relate - a similar theme, object, filter, color, whatever. as we discussed in class, if these 3 photos were part of a large photo album, we should be able to easily identify them.

4. your work must be finished, made public, and tweeted by the beginning of class on friday. be ready to demo your work in class. if you do not have work to demo, do not come to class.

tips and advice:

a. follow directions.

b. take way more photos than you end up using.

one more thing:

on wednesday, you will workshop your work in class. bring work - on your phone, camera, sketchpads, journals - so another student can offer you feedback. be ready to share your feedback with others.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

twitter assignment

twitter assignment for students enrolled in digital media production:

1. if you have not yet joined twitter, join twitter.

2. create a profile. in either your user name or bio (or both), use your real name.

3. make your profile public. if you already have a twitter account that is private and wish to keep it that way, create a new account for this class.

4. find and follow all members (students and professor) of our class. also follow @GleesonLibrary.

5. by friday's class, post at least one tweet that relates directly or indirectly to digital media production. be sure to include our class hashtag: #dmp13

6. get into the habit of checking twitter at least once a day.

Friday, August 16, 2013

digital media production, fall 2013

MS 320: Digital Media Production
MWF 11:45-12:50 (Section 2)
MWF 1:00-2:05 (Section 1)
Kalmanovitz Hall 211

Professor David Silver
Contact: dmsilver [ at ] usfca [ dot ] edu
Office: Kalmanovitz Hall 141
Office hours: MF 10-11 & by appointment

Digital Media Production is a media studies production course designed around creating, sharing, and collaborating with social media. Using words, photographs, animation, and maps (not to mention links, sets, and hashtags), students will explore and experiment with social media, participatory media, or what we might as well just call contemporary media. Along the way, students will research and participate in an issue, organization, or movement that combines social justice and social media.

Learning Goals:
1. To learn how to use many different social media tools and platforms quickly, independently, creatively, and collaboratively;
2. To dig deeply, through research and participation, into a particular issue, organization, or movement that combines social justice and social media; and
3. To develop, through social media, a unique voice that combines creative expression and engagement with others.

Course Texts and Costs: All readings will be made available for free – online, via Gleeson Library, or outside my office. All students are required to make at least one $25 micro-loan, via, which will be returned in full.

Calendar: In general, Mondays will be spent discussing readings, Wednesdays will be devoted to workshops and field trips, and Fridays will be guest lectures and Demo Days (class periods when students demo new work). On Fridays, the professor, in collaboration with the students, will decide next week’s topics, readings, workshops, and assignments.

Course Grading:
20% Quizzes and homework
20% Class participation
30% Individual projects
20% Group projects
10% Collaborative content project with students enrolled in Adam Fish’s Viral Video Production course at Lancaster University, UK

Attendance Policy: Missing class, or attending class unprepared, will significantly affect your final grade. If you do miss class, contact a classmate or two to find out what you missed. After doing this, if you have questions about missed material, visit me during office hours.

Course Rules:
1. No late work accepted.
2. If you have no new work on Demo Day, do not come to class.
3. Starting Friday, 8/23, no drinking out of non-reusable containers in class.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

summer squash sauté

now that the front yard squashazoid is going crazy, i'm searching for new squash-centric recipes. here's my favorite so far.

summer squash sauté

2 lbs summer squash and/or zucchini, cut into coins or slices
1 tsp salt plus more
1/4 cup sliced almonds
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
black pepper
fresh herbs, including marjoram, parsley, and tarragon (optional)

1. place squash in a colander over a large bowl and add 1 tsp salt. mix gently. let stand for 10 minutes.

2. toast almonds in a large dry skillet over medium heat, teasing occasionally, until they are lightly browned, about 3 minutes. transfer to a plate and let cool.

3. heat oil in skillet. add garlic and red pepper flakes. cook, stirring often, until fragrant but not browned, about 2 minutes.

4. add squash and cook, tossing occasionally, until crisp and tender, about 5 minutes.

5. fold in parmesan and season with salt and pepper.

6. fold in almonds.

7. top off with fresh herbs (optional)

serve immediately. consider serving over fresh garlic bread or a baquette!

Monday, June 24, 2013

summer reading

every year, roy christopher gets folks to compile their summer reading lists. he's been doing it for ten years (ten years!) and this year's list includes a few notes from me.

Monday, June 03, 2013

ray trayer, animated

one of the great finds from last month's trip to the black mountain college collection in asheville, north carolina, was a series of photographs of ray trayer, the farmer at BMC from 1946 to 1951. this was a big deal. for over two years, i could not find a single photo of ray trayer on the farm.

trayer was a quaker, a pacifist, and a conscientious objector during world war two. in september 1946, he arrived to black mountain college where he joined friend and fellow quaker, clifford "cliff" moles, to run the farm. using methods of organic gardening and farming, trayer and moles focused on improving the soil and, in the process, greatly increased the farm's efficiency and productivity.

due to trayer's abrasive personality, moles left the college in 1948, the same year trayer developed a course called "soil and steel" which explored common difficulties facing US farmers and factory workers. finally, after a fifteen year search, BMC had a farmer who could both farm and teach.

felix krowinski was a student (and avid photographer) at black mountain college from 1947 to 1948 (and perhaps through 1949). his collection of photographs -- the "felix krowinski, sr. collection" in the "project papers" within the black mountain college collection -- includes dozens of photographs of everyday life at the college. the collection also includes a wonderful series of photographs of ray trayer working with student bernard carp.

using a basic animated gif tool called make a gif, i strung the images together creating, i believe, the first brief video - or mini-movie! - of everyday life at black mountain college.

0ps2y5 on Make A Gif, Animated Gifs

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

jobs in the USF community garden this summer

USF Urban Agriculture Program is currently looking to hire three research assistants to manage the USF Community garden this summer. Responsibilities include watering, weeding, composting, planting, and harvesting the garden.  The research assistants are also responsible for organizing garden workdays, workshops for the community, and working on monthly community dinners at St. Cyprian's.

Ideal candidates have experience in the USF Garden (either through workdays and/or classes), work well in collaborative situations, are self-directed, and enjoy working with the public.

Each summer research assistant will work a total of 150 hours over the summer and be paid 10.55/hour.

If interested, please send a short letter expressing your interest and qualifications for the job to Melinda Stone (stone [ at ] usfca [ dot ] edu) by Thursday, May 9, NOON.  Decisions will be announced the following week.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

my office walls: a (voluntary) mid-sabbatical progress report

i started my sabbatical in summer 2012 with a goal to research the history of the farm at black mountain college (1933 - 56). i began where BMC began, in north carolina, to attend and participate in the information professionals 2050 conference, organized by gary marchionini of the university of north carolina. i gave a talk, titled "digital natives on a media fast," which described a media fast i assigned (twice) to the students in my intro to media studies class. i also spoke briefly about green media and seasonal syllabi.

from chapel hill i drove west to asheville where, with support from USF's faculty development funds (FDF), i spent a week in the black mountain college collection, at the western regional archives. with help from archivist heather south, i became acquainted with the amazing and enormous collection and dug deeply into farm and food-related folders, documents, and photography. my work with (and love for) the bmc collection was featured in jon elliston's article "NC state archives opening its first western branch" in the carolina public press.

in july i began taping my research to the walls of my office. i started with a few photographs of students, faculty, and staff building a barn (in summer, 1941).

in august i flew to los angeles to spend a few days with the MC richards papers at the getty research institute. i learned more about MC's (BMC faculty, literature and drama, fall 1945 - summer 1951) proposed book on the history of black mountain college, located ray trayer's (BMC farmer, fall 1946 - summer 1951) 5-page syllabus "soil and steel," and discovered herb cable's (BMC student, still working on exact dates but sometime between 1945 - 1951) unpublished short story and poetry about the farm at black mountain college. by the end of summer, my office's east-facing wall, the one representing the farm at black mountain college in the 1940s, looked something like this:

in fall i returned to asheville, to attend and participate in the "re-viewing black mountain college 4: looking forward at buckminster fuller's legacy" conference and to conduct further archival research at the BMC collection. the conference, organized by the black mountain college museum + art center (BMCMAC) and hosted on the beautiful campus of the university of north carolina, asheville, brought together local, national, and international scholars and followers of black mountain college and (this year's conference focus) buckminster fuller (BMC summer faculty, 1948 and 1949). i gave a talk titled "the farm at black mountain college" which traced the development of the farm through the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. with help from archivist heather south, my talk featured a table of farm-related "live artifacts" from the western regional archives. before and after my talk, i invited attendees to approach the table and witness the artifacts first hand. "if you like them," i said, "you should check out the whole BMC collection at the western regional archives."

the conference ended with a field trip to the lake eden campus. at the end of the regularly scheduled tour, alice sebrell, program director of BMCMAC and our excellent tour guide, invited the field trippers to walk to the farm where i would give a brief history. sharing my knowledge about the farm at black mountain college while at the farm at black mountain college was a true sabbatical (and career) highlight.

after the conference, and with help from FDF, i spent a week at the BMC collection, working primarily with the ted and barbara dreier collection, faculty meeting minutes, and photography of the farm.

much of winter was spent growing and tending my personal research archive of the farm at black mountain college. through google, i located and began corresponding with former members of the BMC community, including ron robertson (BMC student, 1950 - 51) and trueman machenry (BMC student, 1949 - 1951; worked on farm 1951). through emails with katherine c. reynolds, author of visions and vanities: john andrew rice of black mountain college, i learned about the john andrew rice collection at the south caroliniana library and obtained recordings of 8 oral histories with former BMC students, faculty, and faculty family members. i also continued (and continue) to build "a bibliography of the farm at black mountain college," a real-time, photo-based bibliography of the campus farm that now contains over 100 photo-entries.

the walls of my office also grew. soon i had three walls representing three decades of the farm at black mountain college. taped on my office walls were farm and farmer photographs; farm plans, maps, and planting charts; faculty and student discussions about the farm; and paintings, poetry, short stories, and personal memoirs about the farm. by the end of winter, my office walls looked like this:

i am excited by and focused on my remaining sabbatical activities. in april i will return to north carolina, to raleigh, for a two-day visit to north carolina state university. here i will give a series of talks (and hopefully classroom visits) on social media, learning, and libraries as well as a talk about the farm at black mountain college. from raleigh i go to boone, to appalachian state university, where i will give a talk titled "the farm at black mountain college: a history in five acts with lessons for today"; the talk is co-sponsored by the sustainable development program and belk library and information commons. while at ASU i will visit the john a. rice papers in belk library.

depending on FDF support, i will then go to asheville, again to the BMC collection, with a focus on the black mountain college research project, the recently-catalogued helen post modley collection, and, if they are ready by then, mary emma harris' black mountain college project papers.

in may, again, depending on FDF support, i will fly to washington, dc, to colonial williamsburg, to conduct research in the a. lawrence kocher archive. kocher (BMC faculty, architecture 1940 - 43) worked with students, faculty, and staff on numerous construction projects including, most famously, the studies building (completed in 1941). kocher also designed and worked with students, faculty, and staff to build many of the farm structures on the lake eden campus, including the barn, a milking house, two corn silos, and a machinery shed/corn crib.

finally, in july, i will return again to north carolina, to chapel hill, where i will give the keynote talk at the triangle research libraries network annual meeting 2013. from chapel hill, i will drive to - where else? - asheville and conduct research at the BMC collection for as long as possible.

between all this travel i look forward to watching my office walls grow.

it's been an exciting and fulfilling first half+ of my sabbatical and i look forward to what remains.