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  1. The lecture by Prof Pushkar Sahoni was so full of information on how we are living in a shrinking world. It was amazing how there are so many sites available for information.

    • I have used the program ARTSTOR for images from museums throughout the world to enhance my teaching. However, Prof Sahoni introduced so many different sites which can be used in many ways. The world is certainly becoming increasingly accessible due to both cultural and technological changes. Access to visual materials is indeed common which creates a universal language for art which can certainly be good for our students.

  2. I was really impressed by the level of information that can be gotten from the various models of Mosques as presented by Professor Elias. It also struck me when he asked how many of us had seen what the pilgrimage pilgrimage site at Mecca looks like. I had never actually seen it. I knew of it but had not seen it. It was especially impactful to see the sheer numbers of people present during the pilgrimage. It was also very interesting to see the added feature of the new “Big Ben” and it’s implication relative to the telling of time from The Arabic vs. UK perspective.

    On the other hand the presentation from Professor Patel really gave me insight into guiding students in the process of how we derive meaning from art. The discussions on Rasa and Bhava gave me a new insight into discussions that can be had with students on a level in which they can engage their sensibilities to understand what art is making them feel and how it relates to the subject of study we may be engaged in.
    Edited by Jose Ramos on Jul 18 at 3:36pm

  3. The use of images from different world regions adds new perspective on how we view, interpret, and interact with different regions of the world. Often the images make it available for us to see these regions of the world in a contemporary context that may have been absent from our experience in the past. Students can also contextualize the different periods of a society’s development and see these changes form images.

  4. Something that struck me this morning during the lecture was the idea that globalization and shared or copied ideas in art or architecture or technology is not a modern concept. Often, I think of globalization as we use the word today as a product of the internet and the world being more connected as a result. While it is true that the internet expedites this connectivity, it by no means began the intermingling and copying of different cultures. Moreover, I found looking at types of architecture fascinating to illuminate this concept. The one example of the decorated pillars from Persepolis being appropriated in a sort of incorrect manner showed a very old instance in which a type of art or architecture was appropriated and used. The images of buildings in England and India as well were surprising to see what each culture is pulling from the other. Where I think this idea of appropriating becomes problematic, like the lecturer mentioned, is when one culture is praised as an innovator and the other is deemed a copier. Who gets to decide this value and why? I would like to challenge my students with this idea of shared ideas and designs between cultures and create a larger discussion of where we place value and why and how we can begin to change our mindsets.

  5. The images from the first presentations of each day given by Professor Elias and Professor Sohoni wonderfully broke down the foundational understandings we have of particular cultures and thus energized our thinking of different world regions. As many have mentioned, our perception of Mecca has now completely shifted due to our understanding of its placement by Big Ben and the tower. Professor Sohoni helped us to expand our theory of what is “typical” of any given culture to the point that many of us could not even guess the city of Shanghai based on its skyline.
    This program has wonderfully “messed up” our perception of a variety of cultures by looking beyond and behind the typical images so that we have a more comprehensive grasp thereof.

    • Kaley,
      I love your use of the term “messed up” as it relates to the way we think about things. There is a wonderful article I read several years ago that speaks to this idea of “messed up” it is called “Willing to be disturbed by Wheatley, Margaret J. If you are interested it can be downloaded at:

      Thank you for sharing.

  6. Information is being digested visually for our students as Pushkar reminded me. I am always looking to make ancient history more visual, and the resources shared this morning were wonderful. Using two pieces of art side by side to explore a common theme is both simple and rich. I loved the juxtaposition of the colonial architecture in India next to the Indian-inspired building in Brighton, or the Greek sculptures that look very Egyptian in composition. Cultural diffusion (or cultural appropriation?) examples abound. I think about asking my students for examples of “borrowed ideas” that they see everyday. “Art as a dialogue with the past” and “looking beyond the obvious story” are concepts that I will fold into my classes. The Digital Public Library of America resource Pushkar mentioned is incredible. I had time to explore this website further. The ease of this resource makes it user friendly for students, and the depth of the images included yields amazing pieces. The visit to the Perelman Building also ignited ideas about how to use images/ objects/ art in the classroom. I wish we had more time to explore the photography exhibit, though. Seeing modern urban Africa through the lens would evoke great conversations with my students. But the highlight of the trip was the textile exhibit “Vlisco: African Fashion on a Global Stage.” Using African cloth, one could explore so many topics including global markets, African proverbs, changing roles of women in trade, and material culture. Follow up questions for students: Where have you seen African fashion/ fabric in your world? What trends have emerged with African textiles and what do these trends illuminate? There is so much to dig into here!

  7. The morning session with Mr. Sohoni was most informative, emotional and “hands on”. I loved the way he introduced the idea of intellectual appropriation. It made me think of the Spanish saying “there is nothing new under the sun”. His approach to what could be considered “the pure art” in contrast to the interpretation of art was very appealing to me. Coming from Spain, where the Arab and Jewish influences melt with the Christians’, made me think about the continuum of human and art expressions I later felt in the Museum.

    Yesterday we were presented with the idea of the elevation of art in the form of the rugs created in Anatolia, more than twenty thousand years ago. We were presented with the inner need in humans to create, meet a purpose, continue traditions, honor the heritage. Today, at the African Art exhibit, I found myself contemplating the geometrical shapes in other rugs, this time created many miles away. Same as some oriental rugs are used for religious purposes, I felt today that the wooden power figures in Africa were also a means to connect with a power beyond. What I learned today and yesterday is that the basic human emotions or eigth Rasas are found in art no matter how primitive the society or humble the materials.

  8. I enjoyed the whole day immensely. I liked Pushkar’s use of comparison of images. This is a devise I use, but I felt he took it deeper. I am always looking for methods to engage my seniors in deeper dialogue. I also appreciated Jose’s idea of a group discussion about appropriation and plagiarizing ideas. I was also grateful that Pushkar gave us some wonderful new resources.

    This afternoon was also wonderful. I am personally very interested in African
    design and art. I loved seeing the beautiful pieces I have seen at Penn Museum displayed in a well lighted and respectful manner. The gallery was beautifully hung and annotated, which enhanced the importance of the articles. I enjoyed seeing the other two shows also. I loved seeing the skill and craftsmanship of all of the art. I cringe at the fact that until about 15 years ago this was referred to as “primitive art.” While I appreciate the graphic impact of Dutch fabric, I much preferred the work in the upstairs gallery. This is definitely a group of shows that I will take my students to.
    One of my favorite parts of the day was seeing my friend Ian’s husband Adam, as our museum educator. I liked his easy teaching style and could tell he intensely researched the shows.
    And finally, it has been a while since I have been to the educators lab and it was great to be reacquainted with the area.

  9. Images from different world regions can energize our thinking about these areas. By looking at images of art, architecture, crafts objects, and literature, we are engaging with primary sources from world cultures. This evidence teaches us an enormous amount of information about groups of people. When students learn autodidactically, they are immersed in their topic. One such lesson can begin by projecting 2 images. Ask students to list questions they have about the images, and how they are or are not related. Students spend a few moments quietly writing down their questions. Students share-out and questions are written on the board. As a class, go over the questions and instead of answering them right away, hone them into a list of a few rigorous questions. Students then work to answer their own curiosity. This is done in small groups. The groups share out with presentations of their responses to specific questions they chose to answer. In the end the list of questions is answered and students had ownership in their learning.
    One set of images used to initiate learning could be art works taken during conquest. Students might see a Benin relief and a Maurya architectural element.

    Other image pairs could depict public squares, children at play, portraits of royalty, mythic creatures, hybrid architecture (such as what we saw today), ancient textiles, migration, animals, ships, pottery, houses of worship, etc.

    (Lesson idea came from this book, which I read a couple summers ago:
    Make Just One Change: Teach Students to Ask Their Own Questions
    by Dan Rothstein )

  10. What struck me most from this morning’s lecture was the Theme idea. Taking a theme and using a compare/contrast observation technique it with several images. Prof Pushkar helped me do this at lunch time today with one of the search engines he spoke about. This is a tool I could use in the Music room to introduce my students new global music. Later on in the afternoon someone mentioned a similar idea but with asking questions about the images. I think that would be an interesting approach too.

    I also would like to say that we have had so much information over the last two days that I find it hard make some connections. But, I agree with Kaley in that it’s a wonderfully “messed up” our perception.

  11. The Annenberg Foundation produced a video series for high school students that connects many artworks from around the world. Its called Art Through Time: A Global View. The first video in the series is called Converging Cultures and it teaches how cultures influence each other. Here is a link:

    They also have art videos for younger students and videos on other classroom subjects.

  12. I will introduce a unit on a North Korean prison camp escapee by showing students various vantage points of skylines of major world cities including Pyongyang’s. Students will compare/contrast these identifing them by distinctive architecture. Discussion will touch on the practical, symbolic, etc., intentions and implications of such. Then I will show students satellite images of the world at night, ultimately landing on the dark spot on the Korean Peninsula. Students will consider how to reconcile this with the Pyongyang of Google. Zooming the lens in further, students will notice the ubiquity of uniforms and, again, consider these practically, politically, and symbolically, etc.

  13. I spent most of the day thinking about how my English language learners. Images have always proved to be the most helpful bridge for spanning a language gap. Seeing the image allows them to think of the word in their native tongue and then connect that word to the new English vocabulary. I think the Metropolitan Museum timeline will be most helpful for finding authentic images to allow my scholars to build off their prior understandings.
    Like many others, I also greatly enjoyed the Creative Africa exhibit. The exhibit on fabrics particularly spoke to me – the rich colors and histories behind the fabric patterns and names made me think about clothes in a whole new light.

    • Laura,
      I would imagine all of the things we are learning this week are a treasure trove relative to teaching EL students. I find the Arts and other media tools are an excellent gateway for EL learners.

  14. Hi class! What a day!

    The field trip to the Philadelphia Museum of Art was incredible. I am so invigorated to teach my units on the early trading states across Africa and modern fashion. I teach a lesson on evaluating the culture of the early African trading states prior to European imperialism. Europeans of the Imperialism Era often feel that they brought culture to the continent of Africa. I have students use old writings and maps to disprove that ethnocentric theory. I am also going to include the Benin bronze works next year to tie in art for the assignment. I really hope that having a visual helps the students learn the greater objective of the lesson more.

    I would also like to introduce an Africa fashion slideshow and reading for my 10th grade classes. It is so easy to only talk about the negative side of African countries post-imperialism. Highlighting the fashion would allow students to see global connections and how Africa challenges the American and European view of fashion. I would also love to incorporate gender roles, seeing as how the man does the sewing.


  15. Images are a daily part of all my history lessons. Having a strong background in art history I use works of art and architecture in ways similar to Pushkar’s presentation. He focused on how art can demonstrate to students the concept of cultural borrowing and syncretism, which is one of the major themes of a world history course. When studying Buddhism, for example, you can have students trace the spread of Buddhism by finding images of the Buddha from various cultures over time.

    I was also impressed by the quality and beauty of the African exhibits at the PMA. In the fall I usually take the AP world class to the Penn Museum. I am more encouraged now to take them to the PMA instead and include Creative Africa. The Vlisco fabrics stood out to me as something that connects to key world history themes. The company and fabric design could be researched from different perspectives – Dutch colonialism, economics, cultural appropriation, textile & design history, Second Industrial Revolution & early globalization.

  16. The online resources Mr. Pushkar Sohoni shared, especially Europeana.eu will be a huge asset to my art curriculum planning. I decided I would work with more themes in the upcoming school year and Europeana will provide comparisons by themes in art, architecture, and text from different periods from all regions of the world. I believe this process will give my students a deeper and more vivid understanding of the world regions.

    In addition to using Europeana I think Blooms Taxonomy can give me ideas on how to gamify lessons on themes to energize student thinking. For example, role-playing a realtor comparing two architectural styles, classmates submit gameshow style questions about certain artworks for their classmates to figure out, debate the meaning or reasons for why or how certain artworks were made and collaborate with classroom teacher to go into a bit more depth (research time).

  17. I found our final conversation on museums, presentation, and funding very interesting. The Creative Africa was so inviting and accessible. I took so many notes about the interactive components of the exhibit — puzzles, categorizing masks, designing your own cloth, matching patterns of fabric, lying under videos of scenery, building shared architecture through straws, walking through hundreds of ropes, creating patterns through blocks. It was all so enjoyable.

    I keep returning to Power Figures of the first exhibit — the stances, the use of mirrors, bundles, and nails, and their representation of collective promises. They were so human to me, powerful yet vulnerable. They served a purpose for ordinary people, like the Anatolian rugs, and were not just art for kings.

    • Jen ,
      I don’t know if you are familiar with the Program at the Barnes Foundation but they have a program on African Masks that involves a pre and post classroom visit as well a s trip to the Barnes. It is free for Title I schools. I have done it 2 years in a row. It is an excellent way to get students involved in exploring the nuances of different African Cultures.

  18. I love the ideas discussed this morning regarding using visuals to aid students’ explorations of different times and places. I am excited about putting together lots of materials on traditional Chinese villages, and then encouraging students to venture in-depth into those places. Using visual aids, they would be tasked with finding possible answers to big questions: How does the community function? How are traditional Chinese values represented in the physical spaces of the village? How have these concepts translated to massive Chinese cities in the 21st century?

  19. I took away from Dr. Sohoni’s talk the potential of images to interest the audience/students. I realize I have been using pictures and film to connect my students to works of literature. But I can do it more intentionally, especially at the outset of a new book, to ‘hook’ students to the story. Interdisciplinary connections can also be made throughout. The accessibility of pictures is really helpful in this regard, especially using resources like the ones we learned about today. It allows us to take full advantage of the visual mode of learning. When possible, interacting with the actual artwork as we have done at museums, is even better. Bringing the learning alive and making it relevant is the goal.

    As the first speaker, Professor Elias said, we need to be aware of whose story is being told. The selection of images and the narrative that accompanies it should take the context into account to ensure that an accurate representation of the story is told.