Requirements + Assignments

Class Attendance and Participation: 20%
Concept Library: 15%
Fieldwork: 20%
Fieldwork Dossier: 15%
Final Report and Presentation: 25%
Self and Group Evaluation: 5%  

Berenice Abbott, [Photomontage, New York City], 1932, via Ryerson Image Centre


Our class is a collaborative workshop, and its success depends on your regular attendance and reliable participation. What does it mean to “attend” and “participate”? It means showing up on time to scheduled class, group, and individual meetings; completing the readings, screenings, and exercises in advance of each class session; contributing to verbal discussions and/or live chats and collaborative notes; and being prepared to engage constructively and respectfully with one another. It means fully participating in our fieldwork weekend and being supportive of and accountable to your classmates. 

See below, under “Policies and Procedures,” for more on our commitment to inclusion and respect. 

I’m required by The New School to take attendance each week. For our synchronous classes and group meetings, I’ll do so at the beginning of each session. If you arrive late, I could miss you; thus, your timely arrival is appreciated! 

While I hope you’ll all be able to join us every week, everyone gets two free absences, no questions asked. I simply request that you please notify me of your absence in advance, if you can, so I can plan group activities accordingly. If you miss five or more classes, I’ll advise you to withdraw. Please note that absences include missed individual and small group meetings, as well as those days you might miss at the beginning of the semester because of late registration. When possible, I’ll record our plenary sessions and save the chat transcripts, and I’ll make these resources available through a shared Google Drive folder. If you’re unable to join us live, I encourage you to review this material. 

I strive to create an inclusive, accommodating classroom – one that’s responsive to students dealing with tech or connectivity issues; students with specific access needs, etc. –  that should enable (and, I hope, incentivize!) all of you to attend and engage. If additional obstacles or personal challenges arise for you over the course of the semester, please feel free to bring them to my attention; we can work together to discuss alternative means of engagement. 

While I’m happy to work with you to tailor the class’s content and assignments to your interests, and to help you develop strategies for project planning and time management – and while I aim to be sympathetic to any challenges you might face both inside and outside the classroom – I ask that you please also respect my time and acknowledge my heavy load of responsibilities. I cannot allow expectations for accommodation to compromise my own health. Please see my deadline policy below. 

Early in the semester we’ll work together to develop a community agreement regarding the principles and practices that will shape our interactions. I’ll post this agreement on our class site for continual reference. 

Attendance and participation are worth 20% of your final grade.


We’ll be creating a communal “library” of critical concepts and theoretical frameworks that could both guide our observation in the field and inform our analysis. In Week 2 we’ll explore two critical themes that are central to ONHY’s work – but we want to benefit from our collective wisdom and build an analytical framework that synthesizes our individual critical and creative concerns and commitments. So, we invite you to contribute resources – academic articles, videos of scholarly or thoughtful popular lectures, multimodal scholarship, critically-informed podcasts or design projects or popular press, etc – to our Concept Library. This is where your interests and expertise can help to shape our collective critical apparatus. 

Please share on Notion your document/link/media file with a brief (no more than 150-word!) abstract that (1) summarizes the piece’s main argument and/or critical contribution (this should be the bulk of your text), (2) explains why it resonates for you, and (3) explains how you think it could aid our conceptual-critical work in the class. Brevity and clarity are important, since we’ll all be contributing and browsing everyone else’s submissions 😉 We want to be respectful of one another’s time and make resource “discovery” as easy as possible; your abstract will help folks determine whether it’s worth their time to read / watch your recommended resource in full. 

You’re all invited to submit one entry by end-of-day on September 30. Graduate students: you’re then invited to submit a second entry by end-of-day on October 28; this piece will ideally reflect how your critical sensibilities have evolved through your fieldwork experience. You’re all welcome to submit more than the bare minimum – and you can submit as early as you like, whenever inspiration strikes; these dates are simply the deadlines for submission phases, so the collection can inform our fieldwork prep and our post-fieldwork analytical work. Your contributions are worth 15% of your final grade. 


While our class addresses critical concepts, methods, and skills that have relevance and utility outside the context of the OHNY case study, our weekly lessons do serve in large part as “scaffolding” for our participant-observation of OHNY Weekend, on October 16-17! We hope this work will be enjoyable and stimulating, and that it’ll feel more like a unique New York experience – something you’d be inclined to undertake on your own volition, even if it weren’t a course assignment 🙂

Graduate students are invited to spend a total of twelve hours in the field, and undergrads, eight. You’ll then need to dedicate additional time to generating and organizing your fieldnotes. To accommodate folks’ schedules and interests, we invite you to distribute your fieldwork hours over several categories of activities: 

  1. Visiting and observing (a) publicly accessible OHNY exhibitor site(s) – and perhaps speaking informally with folks there – prior to OHNY Weekend (and then assessing how that site and its community are manifested in their OHNY Weekend presence). OHNY will share with us as soon as possible a list of Weekend participants, which we’ll post on Notion
  2. Sitting in on OHNY planning meetings: OHNY will update us on their meeting schedule, and we’ll share options, and sign-ups, on our class Notion. We don’t want to be obtrusive, so no more than two students should attend simultaneously. 
  3. Studying OHNY’s Airtable workspace, where the entire team coordinates its planning efforts; this platform is essentially a virtual manifestation of the organizational culture – and the Weekend itself! Observing Airtable constitutes a form of digital ethnography! You’ll find login information on our class Notion. 
  4. Engaging in self-initiated informal or formal interviews with OHNY staff/volunteers and exhibitors before or after OHNY Weekend, as they prepare for or reflect on the event. Please aim to limit any OHNY interviews to 20 minutes. 
    • Some instructors require interviews for student ethnographic projects; I’m reluctant to make this a requirement because it places a great burden on on our collaborators, and it links your grade to their availability. If external contributors are willing to make time for you, that’s fabulous. If not, that’s okay 🙂
  5. Attending OHNY Weekend virtual events and site visits on October 16-17 (this should constitute at least half of your total fieldwork hours)
  6. Another type of activity we hadn’t anticipated! Please feel free to speak with Shannon and V! 

Your participation in this field experience, which you’ll document in your dossier, is worth 20% of your final grade.

Margaret Bourke-White, Bird’s eye view of Manhattan for Erwin, Wasey & Co., New York City, 1934


In the few days between OHNY Weekend and our Thursday, October 21, class, I invite you to prepare a dossier documenting and reflecting upon your fieldwork experience. Take some time to review the various jottings, fieldnotes, media assets, and other records you’ve gathered, and reflect on the following, in an informal (i.e., rough but still thoughtful and legible!) 300- to 600-word memo at the end of your fieldnotes page in our Fieldnotes Repository on Notion:

  • one thing that surprised you about your weekend fieldwork,
  • one or two seemingly significant patterns (or striking inconsistencies!) you’ve identified in your documentation thus far, and
  • one or two conceptually- and theoretically-informed insights that seem pertinent to our research questions.

Please also include a brief, bullet-point recap of your weekend itinerary: the events you attended, the sites you visited, any other notable meet-ups, happenings, or interstitial conversations.

While I, Shannon, plan to skim through everyone’s fieldnotes, I’d appreciate your help in guiding me through your records. Thus, ask that you please “curate” a collection for me that crystallizes your weekend experience; you could feature highlights, emphasize patterns, riff on a theme, etc. Point me toward five samples from your weekend documentation: I’d love to see at least one of your daily write-ups, which you’re welcome to supplement with other collected jottings, journal sketches, annotated maps or screenshots, photos, videos, or records in other media. Perhaps you could even flag those specific records with stars or some other emoji, so I can find them easily on your Notion page 🙂

To recap: your dossier, which you’ll post at the end / bottom of your Notion fieldnotes page, consists of:

  1. Your 300- to 600-word reflective memo
  2. A brief, bullet-pointed itinerary documenting where you went and what you did
  3. Five samples from your field documentation 

Please organize and post your dossier before our October 21 class. This reflective exercise is worth 20% of your final grade. 


We’ll all be contributing individually, in small groups, and as a full class to our final report for OHNY. We’ll discuss in class how we’d like to design this report, and we’ll divide responsibilities for its production. Our success depends upon both our individual contributions and our support of and accountability to one another. We’ve structured our weekly activities from late October through early December to allow us to progress collectively and incrementally toward the report’s completion. We’ll then share our work with our OHNY partners, and solicit their feedback, in our penultimate class. 

Groups are invited to submit full drafts of their contributions by, at the latest, end-of-day on Tuesday, November 23, so Shannon can review them over the holiday. She’ll provide feedback by November 28, and groups can revise before we conduct our final assembly on December 2. 

The report and presentation account for 25% of your final grade. While this is a collective effort, I will take into consideration any anomalous circumstances regarding folks’ individual contributions, which you’ll document in your final evaluation, below.


In this short survey, you’ll describe your own contributions to your group’s collaborative effort and reflect briefly on each of your group mates’ contributions. This evaluation is worth 5% of your final grade.