Topics: Building Better Communities, Immersive Learning, College of Communication Information and Media, College of Sciences and Humanities

February 20, 2014

Four new immersive learning seminars at Ball State University's Virginia B. Ball Center for Creative Inquiry will enhance visitors’ experience at the David Owsley Museum of Art, help launch a traveling museum called Freedom Bus, examine religion in comic books and produce a series of short documentaries on the use of rail-based mass transit systems.

Leading the seminar are four new Virginia Ball Center fellows for the 2014-15 academic year:

Tim Berg, assistant professor of honors humanities

Beth Messner, associate professor of communication studies

Jeffrey Brackett, associate professor of religious studies

Chris Flook, instructor of telecommunications

Fall 2014

• The Infinite Museum - Tim Berg and his students will seek to enhance the experience of museum visitors by creating a range of activities, interventions and reimaginings of the collection in the David Owsley Museum of Art. Students will create a book, a website and a film project that will enable visitors to remake their museum experience and craft new, creative and surprising ways to understand art. The Owsley Museum will serve as the seminar’s community partner.

• The Freedom Bus: Celebrating East Central Indiana’s Civil Rights History - Beth Messner and her students will work with members of the Martin Luther King Jr. Dream Team to research, design, fabricate and install prototypes in the Freedom Bus. When completed, the bus will function as a traveling museum that can visit schools, community centers, historical societies, fairs, festivals and civil rights related events such as Black Expo and the celebrations of Black History Month. The project is supported by the city of Muncie and the Muncie Human Rights Commission.

Spring 2015

• Representing Religion in Comics – Jeffrey Brackett and his students will immerse themselves in the academic study of religion and comics to create and publish individual comic books on significant topics in the study of religion. The individual stories will be collected in an e-book that will be used as a textbook for courses in religion and popular culture. The owners of Alter Ego, a Muncie comic book store, will serve as the seminar’s community partner, facilitating interactions between the students and comic book artists and scholars.

• Central Indiana Mass Transit: A 21st Century Rail Industry - Chris Flook and his students will produce a series of short documentary films that will support the use, development, environmental impact and economic viability of rail-based mass transit systems in east central Indiana. The series will examine the role rail-based mass transit plays in Indiana’s economic development, and explore the need for a similar system today. Indiana Citizens Alliance for Transit will serve as the seminar’s community partner.

(Note to editors: For more information, visit the Virginia Ball Center's website, or call 765-287-0117.)