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German faculty host a visual storytelling workshop

March 11, 2019

Upcoming within the Screen and Stage Arts department at UW-River Falls is a visual storytelling workshop on April 2, 3 and 4 at the Chalmer Davee Library in the computer lab 162.

SASA is partnered with RheinMain University Media Conception and Production, a college based in Wiesbaden, Germany. “This is a partnership that UWRF Stage and Screen Arts has had for quite a number of years now,” Erik Johnson, associate professor in the Stage and Screen Arts, has coordinated with RheinMain since 2011.

Erik Johnson discusses the benefits of the RheinMain workshop and transfer program. (Kacey Joslin/Student Voice)
Erik Johnson discusses the benefits of the RheinMain workshop and transfer
program. (Kacey Joslin/Student Voice)

“We’re apart of an Erasmus Plus grant,” Johnson said. “It’s an international grant/partnership deal, and we’ve been fortunate to become beneficiaries of this grant. They’re paying for Germans to come over here and teach our students for free, basically.”

The schools have participated in “collaborative projects” in which RheinMain faculty and students visited UWRF for a week’s time in order to film and produce videos spotlighting the life of a UW-River Falls students. A similar video was produced on the RheinMain campus by Johnson and his students. The partnership culminated during “The Year of Germany,” the SASA department hosted a live-from-Germany show at the University Center. It was a life television show was simultaneously transmitted to the screen in the Kinni Theatre. “It was an eight hour time-shift, so it would’ve been super late or super early over in Germany,” Johnson added. Since the success of the simulcast, the program has only expanded.

“Another part of this partnership is a faculty exchange,” Johnson continued. “This next workshop coming up with roughly be in the evening, from 6:00 to 9:30 PM.” Exact details are still pending.

The events will include instruction in software programs that all students to tell visual stories.

Tilman Schwarz and Elena Schmidt of RheinMain University will be teaching Tuesday and Thursday evening. Their workshop will likely entail assigning individual and group assignments, such as a slideshow project. The visual and aural content will be edited by the software programs Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Audition, as well as Adobe Premier.

Further details are still pending, but Johnson believes that the event should be open to everyone. “It’s a SASA thing, but I think that it’s important that other students get to attend. It’s something that anybody can learn something from it,” Johnson said.

“You never know, trying something new could lead to good things. The challenge is facilitating the amount of seats for it. Last workshop, it was first-come, first-serve. I’m thinking maybe some sort of sign-up form.”

“I would say it’s an opportunity to learn some new skills, and to be creative and there’s that international component, as well,” Johnson continued. “It’s kind of cool to meet people from a different culture, a different part of the world, and have them share their skills and passion for storytelling. The technical and the creative sides, those are the selling points. And it’s free! It’s totally free!”

Attending the workshops will likely serve as extra credit to most SASA programs, as well as some photography and journalism courses.