Postcard from America #3

Re-enactors train station

Re-enactors train station

It looks like I’m going to be posting most of these cards from the UK due to my full on schedule. However, that will give me the opportunity to add some cool photos from the places in question. This one is coming from JFK airport wi-fi willing.

The next stop was Carlisle, Pennsylvania which we reached through some stunning countryside. It’s a lovely college town with lots of great eateries. The college focus on sustainability is really impressive. They have a farm which is powered by student labour and is self sustaining due to the patronage of local food lovers and the hard work of the team who run the programme. They also ‘green’ the curriculum (most colleges just green their operations) by identifying and encouraging the development of sustainability teaching and tracking the students who engage with these courses.

On the museum side of things I visited the Trout Gallery which was running a really powerful student curated exhibition about reporting and illustration during the American Civil War. I also got to

see the African objects in the store and had a browse through some catalogues for past exhibitions. The work the students produce is up of professional quality and it was an object lesson (pardon the pun) in trusting students with bigger projects. We got to have lunch with the student archive interns and they got us thinking about how we engage students with our special collections. The Goodyear Gallery was another example of a student focused space in which individuals had studio space to develop their own artwork.

Obviously smaller staff to student ratios help a lot when creating a rich student experience, but that’s no reason to be defeatist. I am heading back to the UK thinking about how we can adapt some of these ideas to work in our specific HE environment. In case you are wondering about the photo, that’s what met me when I boarded the train at Harrisburg …is this standard at American train stations?

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