WC: Affinity Spaces, Propos, and Memes... Oh My!

In this hands-on lesson demonstration, participants will experience how affinity spaces in the classroom open up entry points for connecting literary and real-world events, while creating a more democratic learning space based on shared knowledge of an imagined world.  A team made up of a middle school teacher, a multimedia teaching artist, and 8th grade students from Columbia College Chicago’s TEAM program (Transforming Education through the Arts and Media) will guide you through a digital art-making and art-sharing process, aligned with Common Core Standards, meant to build student engagement and critical thinking skills, as well as participatory literacies.  


These two instructors have cultivated an affinity space in the classroom around the Hunger Games phenomenon.  Using the trilogy as a thematic anchor for everything from revolution to metaphor to human trafficking, students can freely explore a wide variety of ideas and concepts in a community with a shared culture and language.  


The workshop will explore and compare the concepts of “propos” (government-produced propaganda films) from the books and memes from our current social media landscape.  Memes are an inverted form of propaganda, as they are created by citizens, and anyone with the internet has the ability to create and disseminate, rather than being owned by a powerful elite or regime.  This activity requires artists to find connections between their world, popular culture, and the world of the Hunger Games.  Using an online meme generator, participants will create their own composite memes that illustrate and comment on those comparisons and analogies, and then we will share them with the world using TEAM’s social media outlets.  


Ample time will be dedicated to discussing strategies for using this activity with students of all levels and assessing student learning.

Liz Radzicki
Dina Alikakos
Kristina Gosh
Patrycja Kaluzynska
Yaziria Cisneros
Glenda Villalon