Exploring African Art and Culture Through Interactive Story Mapping

Art, in all its forms, is about telling a story, and the Art History class taught by Dr. Nancy Demerdash-Fatemi is certainly no exception. However, this story has a twist: her students had to use interactive mapping in order to tell their stories about African art and culture.

In conjunction with students in a similar course at Ohio Wesleyan University, students were asked to create a story focusing on telling the real stories, not the myths or misconceptions, of African art and culture practices. The students had to find images of historic African art that related to a selected topic, and then elaborate on the significance and origin of each artifact. As a part of the project, each student will present their interactive maps to the class, and explain why they chose each piece and how it relates to their topic. Through these maps, the work of the students will encompass true stories of Africa and of African art, and in that, bring more understanding and appreciation of the culture.

Utilizing a browser-based program called StoryMap JS allowed students to create their interactive stories by connecting content with a specific location, and presenting that information to others in an engaging manner.

If you would be interested in using or incorporating StoryMap JS into a future classroom project visit storymap.knightlab.com to get started or contact for training.