UAB Art Professor Doug Baulos “RE/Presents Peace” with ASFA-CW’s Students and Faculty

ASFA-CW’s Ashley M. Jones is partnering with UAB Art & Art History professor Doug Baulos on a project investigating the language of peace and hope. In conjunction with the 2017 Peace and Justice Studies Association (PJSA) Conference, an international gathering of academics, K-12 teachers, and grassroots activists that will be held later this month on the UAB campus, Doug is curating an exhibit entitled “RE/Present Peace.”

Having worked with ASFA-CW in the past on our 3-D Poetry Initiative, Doug knew this was a project that would not only pique our students’ interest but tap into their multiple talents. To that end, he visited with us this past Thursday and asked ASFA-CW students and faculty to use visual and textual elements—namely, the tools of printmaking, typography, drawing, and poetics—to investigate themes of peace and social justice.

The work we created will be included with that of the conference attendees and then showcased at the exhibit opening on October 27 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Project Space in the UAB Humanities Building. Ashley coordinated Doug’s ASFA visit and will also give a poetry reading and lead discussion on these themes at the exhibit opening. The event/reception is free and open to the public—so come on out and “RE/present Peace” while supporting ASFA-CW’s growing arts-activism and community-building efforts!

But wait, there’s more! To offer some further insight about the event and the issues surrounding it, Ashley took some time to answer a few questions about her involvement with the PJSA and her thoughts on the role of the arts in social justice initiatives. Here’s what she had to say. Continue reading

This I Believe: Values and Evaluations

First Things First:

This is not school.

This is a shared (sacred) space for all of us to do what we love.

This is “How to Do What You Love.”

We’re here at ASFA because “what we love” has at least something to do with what’s on the white board below:

And what’s on this one below:

But how do we evaluate whether we’re doing “what we love” in the right way?

Turns out, “what we love” requires the ability to work autonomously.

That’s why self-evaluation is the most important kind of evaluation.

That’s also why outside objective evaluation (grades, numbers, etc) is (a) very difficult and (b) not very useful when it comes to the things we love to do.

I am not very interested in attaching a number or letter grade to you. I do it because I am required to do it.

I am very interested in giving you my honest, direct opinion about your creative process as I see it.

I am also very interested in getting your honest, direct opinion about my creative process as you see it.

I don’t differentiate my teaching from my writing.

Teaching and writing (and reading and thinking) are related components of my entire creative process.

They are the most important activities in my life and they’re guided by the white boards above.

They’re also guided by the materials we’ll discuss this week, including this article from a recent NY Times Magazine article: What If the Key to Success Is Failure?

I promise you two things: (a) I will always take your work seriously (even if you sometimes don’t) and (b) I will never give up on you and your creative process (even if you sometimes do).

I believe those two promises define whether or not I’m successful in my work at ASFA.

I ask only one thing of you: that you make those same promises to yourself.