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This course will guide you through the process of researching, contextualizing, and framing the thinking around your final project.

Broadly, we will be investigating these questions:

  • What does it mean to consider your interests in the context of your own work?
  • What is the 'frame' in which we describe our work and interests?
  • How can these processes go out into the world and involve a public?

Specifically, you will be examining these questions by researching, writing, and discussing:

  • Collecting and annotating texts, images, and objects and creating connections and conclusions about how they relate to your emerging practice.
  • Composing a text that elucidates the underlying interests informing your final project and contextualizes your concerns as a graphic designer.

The class will be split up into three sections – Inquiry, Processing, & Framing.

Class time will be used as a forum to discuss assigned readings, review/critique work, and conduct in-class projects.

Learning Outcomes

  • Identify and investigate topics of interest important to the student’s developing role as a graphic designer

  • Demonstrate the ability to frame questions, devise appropriate methodologies for answering them, and collect evidence of an ongoing perspective of critical theory.

  • Apply critical thinking skills, writing skills, and research skills

  • Compare and contrast the ideas and arguments of varying texts

  • Collaborate with other students in class assignments, discussions, and critiques.

  • Reflect on past, present, and future interests and concerns, assessing personal investment in contemporary subjects relevant to the field.


Otis Attendance Policy

Attendance is critical to learning and academic success; students are therefore expected toattend all class meetings. Students who incur more than two absences in a course that meetsonce per week, or more than four absences in a course that meets twice per week, will fail thecourse, barring exceptional circumstances as determined by the Chair. Exceptionalcircumstances include, but are not limited to: death in the family, serious medical conditions,hospitalization, observance of religious holidays, and some approved disability accommodations.Students wishing to claim exceptional circumstances must provide the Chair with appropriatedocumentation. At the Chair's discretion, numerous absences due to exceptional circumstancesmay necessitate course withdrawal or failure. Three tardies (including arriving late or leavingearly) equal one absence.

Otis Grade Scale

This course is graded on a Pass / Fail basis. If you get less than a D in this class you Fail the course.


Plagiarism occurs when a person deliberately uses another person’s concepts, language,
images, music, or other original (not common knowledge) material without acknowledging the
source and/or making substantial modifications. While referencing or appropriating may be part of
a studio or Liberal Arts and Sciences assignment, it is the student’s ethical responsibility to
acknowledge and/or modify the original material
Specific examples of plagiarism include:

Submitting someone else’s work in whole or part (including copying directly from a sourcewithout documentation and/or alteration, or turning in studio work that is not your own).Having someone else produce, revise, or substantially alter all or part of a written paperor studio assignment.

Cutting and pasting any textual or image-based work from the internet without proper
documentation or clarification of sources.
Failure to cite sources.

Proper citations in MLA style and a Works Cited page must accompany all papers.You can find citation information through the Library website.

Using the writing, editing, or creative services of another person who quantitatively and/or qualitatively revises the paper and/or studio work significantly.

An editor often fixes the paper without the writer learning how to do it him/herself.Sometimes the editor changes so much of the paper that it is no longer the studentwriter’s work and thus plagiarized. A trained tutor helps the writer to learn how torevise the papers and eventually not need the tutor’s assistance.

Instances of alleged plagiarism are reported to the Academic Integrity Committee for review. Fora complete description of the Academic Integrity Committee process, please go to:


Otis provides an excellent tutoring program, free to all students, located in the Student ResourcesCenter (out the front doors, then left and left). They offer drop in tutoring (when available),a ppointments, and online tutoring. (See website for more information.)

Disability Services

If you are a student with documented disability services (physical, learning, or psychological)requiring reasonable academic accommodations, you must contact Disabilities Services (locatedin the Student Resources Center, ext. 2554) before you need any accommodations. Retroactiveaccommodations are not provided, so please be sure to make your request early in the semester.All discussions will remain confidential.

For additional information, please visit:



As a group, you will create a 45 minute long 'sound collage' reflecting on your travels to and from the L.A. Art Book Fair. Through the use of sound recording alone, you will investigate and try to capture the experience of yourself and the people around you on your journey. Using the examples below as points of departure, think about how language can be broken down into sound, how sound could be used to create a disembodied 'visual', and how listening can become active.


You can use the following open-ended structure to help organize your recording.
Divide yourself into groups of 2-3:


Beyond thinking about how each of these concepts can relate to geography and place, for example:
OUTSIDE INSIDE Arriving outside of LAABF
INSIDE INSIDE The experience inside of the book fair
INSIDE OUTSIDE The space outside of the book fair after your have experienced it

Think also how these concepts can relate to a greater political, cultural, social context.

Each section has a recording of at least: Person, Place, Thing.
Each section has someone reading from something.
A recording of each of your voices.

some examples:
Interview a stranger
Record something without permission
Record 1 unknown sound (heard or made)


Wed. Feb 22 –
Project Intro
Break off into groups, develop ideas for each direction

Thurs. Feb 24 – Sun. Feb 25
Complete rough 9 min edit for each section

Thurs March 1 –
Compile and present rough edit
In Class: Finalize