Brooke Hessler collaborates with makers and thinkers of all ages and social circumstances to learn about themselves and their world through hands-on projects that typically involve field research, collaborative inquiry, and critical reflection. They also just make things for fun.
Brooke has taught and co-facilitated workshops and college classes in many media and modalities, from theater and physical movement–such as mime and yoga–to book-making and assemblage, mobile game experiences, and digital storytelling. Her training includes intensives with the Lincoln Center for Arts in Education, the Penland School of Crafts, StoryCenter (the Center for Digital Storytelling), and the Niroga Institute.
Brooke’s presentations on arts-integrated pedagogies include talks and interactive workshops at the National Collegiate Honors Council Conference, the Assembly for Expanded Perspectives on Learning Conference, the Conference on College Composition and Communication, the National Coordinating Center for Public Engagement Conference (United Kingdom), the Transformative Learning Conference, the Carnegie Academy for Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, and the biannual International Digital Storytelling Conferences.
Brooke’s methods have also been included in a number of published anthologies, such as Campus Compact’s Engaged Faculty Institute Curriculum, Bowen and Watson’s Teaching Naked Techniques, and Jamissen et al’s Digital Storytelling in Higher Education: International Perspectives.
One makerspace-style example is conceptual flash assemblage, which challenges writers and researchers to tap into nonverbal ways of knowing. Projects are typically made in a studio environment within a narrow timeframe (1 to 3 hours) as prompts for dialogue, inquiry, and critical reflection.
Dakoda’s work is an exploratory critique of heteronormativity reinforced by interactive online personal product ads.
The project was composed as the second draft in a rhetorical analysis assignment sequence: (1) a conventional verbal academic paper; (2) a nonverbal assemblage; (3) a final verbal paper drawing upon insights arising during the 3D composition process.
This example is from a studio-based dialogue experiment: faculty and students in Brooke’s team-taught “Mapping Subcultures” course (with sociologist Julie Cowgill and artist Sunni Mercer) constructed assemblage artworks that incorporated found objects and sounds from archival and field research, using the process for critical reflection and collaborative inquiry regarding mythologized communities, such as OKC’s Underground Chinatown and Deep Deuce.
To engage students in questions of social media, public memory, and civic literacy, Brooke encourages classes to experiment with Living Newspaper performances, verbatim theatre, and rhapsodic translations of contemporary epics from current events and popular culture (i.e., 21st-century Homer). Brooke’s Fall 2015 students researched and performed living history profiles of people buried in a century-old, semi-segregated cemetery, laying the groundwork for an ARIS mobile device game based on that research.
To explore where books come from and how they get transformed as objects and as interfaces Brooke leads workshops on papermaking, bookbinding, altered books, and augmented reality interactive narratives–embodied and digital.
In Fall 2019, Brooke began an autoethnographic study of co-creativity, apprenticeship, and transformative learning in collaboration with faculty and students in the California College of the Arts Glass BFA program. Now relocated to New Mexico, the project continues with guidance from local artists at MAKE Santa Fe and Bullseye Glass Resource Center.
From The Stories Mom Tells by Brooke Hessler