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Holt students’ photography to be displayed in Nott Hall

Becky Robinson

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The University of Alabama has joined forces with Holt High School to create a photography exhibit, which is now open in the Nott Hall Gallery.

Elliot Knight, an instructor at the University, created the class “Engagement in Education through the Arts” after Jason Worley, Holt’s art teacher, had expressed a desire to expand the arts program.

“The Honors College is constantly looking for ways to partner with the local community, which not only enriches our community, but also allows honor students to learn experimentally,” said Sarah Saint, a graduate student majoring in school counseling.

In previous years, Worley’s art classes had been a mix of different artistic concentrations. Some students would be doing photography while others were learning about 3D. Worley and Knight worked together to produce a class that would allow more of a focused art class for the high school students.

Knight was also influenced following his work on “Black Belt: 100 Lenses.” The program Black Belt is aimed at getting students in the Black Belt of Alabama to tell their stories through photography. Knight’s class worked in much the same way.

Each week, 14 members of the Honors College and 22 students from Worley’s high school art classes would meet and work on the project.

“We wanted to give the Holt students an opportunity to look at their school and community closely and think about the strengths as well as challenges of their school and community,” Knight said.

Last summer, Knight kicked-off the program by spending a few weeks working with a small group of Holt students taking pictures of the recovery effort from the April 27, 2011 tornado before beginning the semester’s class.

The Honors class was based on Paulo Freire’s Education for Critical Consciousness model, “which advocates the co-creation of knowledge in education instead of a unidirectional knowledge flow,” Knight said.

Saint said although she was not part of the group that went to Holt each week for class, the “excitement and pride in the Holt students’ eyes” at the opening event “was beautiful and inspiring. Each was excited to tell the story behind their photography.”

Knight could see similar joy conveyed by his UA students. He said many felt a greater sense of community and more enthusiasm toward future service projects after taking the Honors class.

The UA Center for Community-Based Partnerships also offered a hand in the creation of the exhibition. The organization supplied the cameras used by the Holt students as well as refreshments for the opening show, which was held Feb. 8.

The exhibit will be displayed on the second floor of Nott Hall Gallery until March 26.

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Holt students’ photography to be displayed in Nott Hall