This installment of Student Voices features work from undergraduate students at the University of Vermont who were enrolled in Helen Morgan Parmett’s interdisciplinary seminar, “Culture in the Mediapolis.” The papers in this section explore the connections between media’s symbolic and material capacities as they play out in a range of cities, including Singapore, Detroit, London, and California’s Bay Area.
In addition, this issue of Student Voices includes a special feature on student responses to COVID-19. This special section features three short films produced by students reflecting and responding to the pandemic’s effect on student lives.
Culture in the Mediapolis
Helen Morgan Parmett and Conn Holohan introduce this installment of Student Voices. First, Helen Morgan Parmett discusses the themes of her seminar course, “Culture in the Mediapolis,” from which student essays in the section are drawn. Morgan Parmett emphasizes the ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic influenced the course and her students. Conn Holohan then provides an introduction to the short films students’ submitted as part of the section’s special feature on student responses to the pandemic.
Cultural Desert to Cultural Garden: The Uncertainty of Singapore’s Cultural Policy
Caitlyn Williams analyzes the popular romantic comedy film Crazy Rich Asians in conjunction with contemporary cultural policy efforts in Singapore that emphasize the creative economy. Williams finds that the film exemplifies Singapore’s efforts to capitalize on the creativity of its diverse, multicultural population in ways that rarely benefit those on whose back that creativity is built.
Detroit and the Glorification of the Past
Christian Golden compares the use of “ruin porn” in the documentary Detroit: Comeback City and the fiction film Gran Torino. Golden argues “ruin porn” is ubiquitous in representations of Detroit, and its use in these two films resonates with the city’s efforts to attract business and investment through imagining a nostalgic past that can be retrieved to renew Detroit’s future.
Sherlock Holmes and Tourism in London
Michael Naim discusses the phenomenon of Sherlock Holmes tourism in London. Naim argues that Sherlock tours stem from earlier forms of literary tourism, but the series’ multi-generational and multi-media expansions have created a more immersive form of media tourism. Thus, even as Sherlock tourists visit well-trafficked London sites, they experience those sites as unique and “authentic” because of their relationship to the Sherlock Holmes universe.
A City’s Lost Identity: An Analysis of The Golden State Warriors’ Relocation from Oakland to San Francisco
Abigail Rhim explores the departure of the Golden State Warriors from Oakland to San Francisco, arguing that media discourses circulated by the team, fans, and residents of both cities following the move demonstrate the significance of the team to Oakland’s sense of place-based identity. The move highlighted existing tensions between the two rival cities, further exacerbating the class divides between these two cities across the Bay.
Student Voices Special Feature: Student Lives in the Pandemic
In a special feature of this issue of Student Voices, we are highlighting student responses to the COVID-19 outbreak, which had an unprecedented effect on student experiences around the world. This special feature will be ongoing, and we invite students to submit their work for future installations of Student Voices: Student Lives in the Pandemic by emailing your submission to Helen Morgan Parmett at firstname.lastname@example.org and Conn Holohan at email@example.com with the subject line “Pandemic Responses.”
Amidst the rolling landscape outside a car window and close ups of a driver and passenger, Lena Stevens, a student at Vassar College, reflects on the (in)significance of everyday moments and connections as they are unexpectedly lost in “Long Way Home.”
In “You are the Film I Started to Make but Never Finished,” Eleni Kalantzi, an MA student studying Film Production and Direction at the National University of Ireland Galway, exposes the inner thoughts and emotions of a student on what’s happening on the “outside.” The film project is in essence a journal turned into a visual poem, encapsulating the author’s perception of the situation and their way of coping with being away from their country and loved ones.
Stanley Nugent, an MA student in Film Production & Direction at The John Huston School of Film, N.U.I.G., explores the effect of the lockdown on their 18 year old son in the film “Springtime 2020.” The film provides a look at how the pandemic has played out in Ireland through the lens of an individual, while giving insight into the unique effects COVID-19 has had on teenage students and athletes.