35 Collaborative Digital Mixtape – Group Assignment

Authors: allia abdullah-matta, Angel Dye, Shauna Morgan, Dave Wooley

Target Audience: Advanced Undergraduate

Collaborative Digital Mixtape

This project should be completed in groups of 3-5 students

The Mixtape Project is your opportunity to explore an issue of race/gender/equity reflected through the poetry that we have encountered throughout the course. The foundational piece of this project is the production of a mixtape track. This mixtape track will consist of three distinct layers. Each layer should be between 90 seconds to three minutes long, and they should be fairly balanced in length. If there is a dominant layer, it should be the discussion of the issue, which is the second layer.

The first layer is audio from your subject poem. This may be a reading of the poem by the group or a reading by the poet or another speaker. However, your group must introduce the reading. You should focus your poem choice for this track on the theme or subject that you are exploring. The poem should speak directly to that idea.

The second layer is your commentary about your chosen theme, topic, or subject. In this section, you are explaining why this topic is important to our foundational course goal of inquiry into liberation and the Black poetic tradition. How is the idea of liberation in the tradition of Black poetics present in the foundational text, and what resonance does it have to a specific aspect of the Black experience in relation to an artistic tradition towards liberation? What is the poem’s effect on the audience? You might also choose to discuss craft and focus on the specific tools of poetic writing or artistic choices.

The third layer is where you bring in an outside source to inform your discussion. In this layer you will deepen the conversation around your topic by incorporating literary criticism, reviews, articles, or other secondary works to reinforce your position or to put your position in context with other texts.

Each of these layers should come together to form a cohesive audio track. You should be sure to introduce the layers and use appropriate transitions between layers so that your track is unified. You should also use appropriate music in transitions and, possibly, as a backing musical bed for the spoken elements of the track. The music should help to create the mood of your presentation, and it should not overwhelm your spoken pieces.

The other parts of your Mixtape Track “release” package

Cover Art: You must create a cover for your Mixtape Track. It should include a strong visual that represents the theme of your project, the title of your track, and your name. It should be saved as a JPG, TIFF, or PNG file. When you submit your image, also write out any credits for images you borrowed for your cover, or credit yourself if you create original artwork.

Liner Notes: These instructions are adapted from the template that was created by Dr. Tyechia Thompson and Dr. David Green. Your digital Mixtape Track must be accompanied by at least 500 words of liner notes for each student in the group. The liner notes must include:

  • the title of your track;
  • the names of the layers (appearing as “samples”) on your track;
  • explanations of each layer (the reason you made the choices that you did, and the significance of those choices);
  • your “mixing” decisions (why did you arrange, alter, etc. your track the way you did?); and
  • a significant detail about the theme for your track/mixtape.

The purpose of the liner notes is for you to reflect on your process and for you to explain the decisions you made in that process. Through your liner notes, we can gain a better understanding of your track, which will allow us to look for (listen for) things that we might have missed if we hadn’t gotten insight into your process.

Works Cited: The project must include a works cited page, presented in an appropriate citation format at the discretion of the course instructor.

Your Mixtape Release Package should be presented as a PowerPoint, Google Slides, Prezi, or other appropriate presentation platform at the discretion and approval of the course instructor. All presentation packages should be formatted with a Cover Art page, a Mixtape Track page (your audio production), individual student liner notes pages, and a works cited page.

Presentations will be presented in class by the groups.

Instructor’s Note: In this age of digital streaming, students may not be familiar with the concept of “liner notes,” which were where an artist (and representatives of the artists) could write about the process of creating the music, offer thanks to the people who supported the production of the music, or just write personal notes to the listeners and fans within the jacket of an album or a CD. It is in this spirit that liner notes are included in the project, as a space for reflection on the process. This essay might be a useful tool for explaining what liner notes do.


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The Furious Flower Syllabus Project: Opening the World of Black Poetry Copyright © 2024 by Anastacia-Reneé; allia abdullah-matta; Ariana Benson; Mary Beth Cancienne; Teri Ellen Cross Davis; Shameka Cunningham; Hayes Davis; Tyree Daye; Angel C. Dye; Brian Hannon; T.J. Hendrix; DaMaris B. Hill; Meta DuEwa Jones; Shauna M. Morgan; Adrienne Danyelle Oliver; Leona Sevick; James Smethurst; Dana A. Williams; L. Lamar Wilson; Carmin Wong; Dave Wooley; and Joanne V. Gabbin (preface) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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