Graphic Design + Poetry = Stunning Collaboration

Graphic Design + Poetry = Stunning Collaboration

Students in Robert Finkel’s Intro to Graphic Design class collaborated with creative writing students in Keetje Kuipers’ Poetry of Southern Witness class on a project commemorating the 50th anniversary of integration at Auburn University. Graphic design students were paired with poetry students to visually interpret their poems that related to the themes and issues surrounding integration and the Civil Rights movements. The designers spent three weeks conceptualizing, sketching, and designing each poem. Sixteen broadsides were created. At the final presentation, poets read their works, and the designers discussed their process and design decisions.

As Kuiper, Assistant Professor in the Department of English, explains, “In asking my students to write about the history of integration at Auburn on this 50th anniversary of that great event, I hoped that their own poems would honor both our celebration of integration and the memory of Jake Adam York, an Auburn alumnus who wrote four collections of poetry, all bearing witness to Alabama’s difficult past. Seeing the clean, crisp broadsides that Robert Finkel’s students produced from those poems was a revelation—not only did it deepen the power of the work on the page, but I was so moved by the care and attention that both the writers and the designers took with this weighty material. I am proud to have been part of a collaboration that brings art together with a greater awareness of social justice on our campus.”

The broadsides are currently on display on the first floor of Wallace. They will be on exhibit until the end of May.