CSTPR has closed May 31, 2020: Therefore, this webpage will no longer be updated. Individual projects are or may still be ongoing however. Please contact CIRES should you have any questions.

Creative climate communications
ENVS 3173/THTR 4173

Course Requirements

Class attendance and participation 10 pts
Video interview of partner 10 pts
Reading responses
(3 points each x 8 times during the semester)
24 pts
Composition #1 25 pts
Composition #2 25 pts
Contribution to Final Showing of Trash the Runway videos
on May 8
6 pts
TOTAL: 100 pts#

# there will be 1-point extra credit opportunities (up to 2 points total) for attendance & participation in seminars on selected Wednesdays at noon in CSTPR conference room during the term (January 23, February 6, February 20, March 13, April 17), Information is here or for attending CU Museum Family Day on Saturday March 16th, based on Drawdown solutions, Young Women’s Voices for Climate

All who are enrolled in the course must mindfully, productively and enthusiastically participate in each session. This is critical to the success of the class, and it requires that everyone is consistently present in each class, arriving prepared to critically engage with the class topics, concepts, activities and materials of the day. Our class-time interactive explorations and discussion inevitably will build upon previous sessions. Two unexcused absences are allowed before your grade is then dropped by 1/3 for each additional unexcused absence (Ex. Dropping by 1/3 means a B would become a B-, or that an A- would become a B+) Also arriving late to three sessions = one unexcused absence.

Class Participation
Participation will be evaluated through your engagement in the class discussions, contributions through class preparation and group activities, participation in guest visits (e.g. preparing to ask one question of each guest), collaborative efforts in composition work, and involvement in additional class activities (e.g. the stand-up comedy rehearsal April 24 at 7:30pm and event April 25 at 6pm; the Trash the Runway event at Boulder Theater March 12 at 7pm and the post-show event at the CU Museum of Natural Science, May 8 at 4:30pm).

Video Interview of a Partner (due in class Feb 14)
You will each be creating a video interview of a partner based on what is at stake for each person regarding climate change. This is broadly conceived and intended to be open-ended. Ideally, the interview questions you design will deepen each student’s consideration of what they care about most deeply, to energize their commitment to creative climate communication, and explore what specific aspects of climate/sustainability/environmentalism rise unbidden from each person’s heart. Attempt to embed this in a story. Gather b-roll footage to augment and enhance your interview. Consider a music track that compliments or contrasts this interview. Be creative. Each video must be under 2 minutes.

Reading Responses
What central question arose from the reading for you? (clearly and concisely write the question as the header, write a robust question to inspire a meaty answer) Then, provide your answer to that question. Make evident that you meaningfully engaged with the reading. To that end, draw from the readings specifically to substantiate the answer to your question. These are limited to 300-350 words each response, note word count.

Students will create two Compositions over the semester.  These Compositions are original expressions that will take forms to be discussed in class. Each Composition involves four steps/parts:

(1) A “Pitch and Feedback” session- your group will describe what you are intending to do for the class and will receive feedback; For interviewing a partner and for Composition 1, come prepared with your interview questions, be prepared to refer to your research/idea already richly explored; underconsidered ideas will be poorly evaluated, well-considered ideas will earn good credit (4 points)

(2) A ‘Completed Draft’, a fully completed version of your composition by the deadline (15 points); in the case of Composition #1, one person from the group must successfully deliver the video recording from your hard drive to our designated external hard drive, clearly marked ‘2019Spring_composition1_[title]_[lastname(s)]’. 

(3) A Composition Description (See Appendix I) also due when you deliver/present each Composition (6 pts). These 2-3 page descriptions are intended to deepen your critical engagement with your creative process. In the description, these seven elements are also required:

  1. list authors (students) names
  2. project title
  3. 50-word description of topics covered in the interview/composition
  4. name(s) and credentials of anyone interviewed (relevant for composition #1)
  5. date it is turned in for posting
  6. list any music credits, and any additional photo or video footage credits
  7. attach all release forms for reproduction of your composition: these are required for anyone who is featured in your compositions, even yourself (we will discuss this in class), label what composition the release applies to and give a brief description when necessary

(4) A completed Confidential Peer Assessment form, with feedback from your group activities (for groups in which there was discrepancies in what each group member contributed; these are not required; they are available if needed)

See Appendix II below for the grading rubric for each composition.

These compositions are designed to build skills in collaboration and critique.  Compositions will require us to also consider not only the work itself, but how we will make it resonant, meaningful and appealing to an audience, both live and in its final (recorded) format as appropriate. 

Thus, as part of this process, we will work throughout to identify our target audience.

Composition #1 Trash the Runway with Recycled Couture (RR10)

In this first composition, individuals or pairs will shadow a young Boulder designer (grades 6-12) and interview them as well as document their work leading up to the evening show on Tuesday March 12, 2019 in the historic Boulder Theater. Groups will gather b-roll, documentation of process and interviews of the designers during two scheduled sessions. Editing will take place in the weeks following the show, and completed drafts will be shown during an event with designers and their families at the CU Museum of Natural Science at 4:30 on May 8th. Products will be up-to-2 minute videos on each designer (to be shown at the event on May 8th), and two small group projects both with up-to-2 minute videos (one depicting process, to be shown at the RR10 show on March 12; another depicting the overall RR10 project to be shown at the event at 4:30 on May 8th). Students will select one of these options in class.

This program, subtitled ‘teens transforming trash’ because they make garments and accessories from found materials, is now in its tenth year. Trash the Runway is a guided independent study workshop for teens to make garments from found materials that culminates in an impressive fashion showcase for the Boulder community. Workshops are led from February by Rachel Lubanowski and Tanja Leonard at Common Threads in downtown Boulder. More information to be discussed in class.


Composition #2 – Stand Up for Climate—(Drawdown, Stand Up!) Comedy about Climate Change

In this second composition, we will be stepping beyond video to embrace and confront multi-modal forms of creative climate communication and focusing on humor/comedy as a vehicle for creative climate communication through the live performance of comedy. We will provide the framework of a show that is focused on activating specific Drawdown solutions (ideally within our local context).

You will be creating the content with skits, stand-up comedy, or structured improve. Importantly, our work on composition #2 will culminate in a performance at historic Old Main auditorium on Thursday April 25th at 7pm, plan accordingly (and for a tech rehearsal April 24 at 7:30pm). That evening of April 25, we will record these performances – limited to about 2-4 minute acts each (unless a special appeal for more time is made in advance) – and those will serve as the final products for this composition. More information to be discussed in class.