Bringing the Classroom to Downtown Chicago: Photogallery

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Trinity students utilized the proximity of Chicago for their course discussion as they traveled downtown for a “Talkabout Walkabout.” Students from Dr. Craig Mattson’s Foundations of Human Communication and Communication Criticism courses and Professor Ellen Browning’s Intermediate Graphic Design class teamed up to explore the various forms of public messaging in the city.

“The point of the trip was to think about three very different kinds of rhetoric. High art, popular art, and commercial advertisement,” Mattson said.

The students made several stops including the Palos Heights Metra station, Chicago’s Union Station, and the Picasso sculpture in Daley Plaza. Professor Dayton Castleman of the art department explained the history of the artwork at each location while the students attempted to connect what they are studying in class.

“It was a good bonding experience for us as a class,” said Mike Merlino ’11 of Holland, Michigan, a student in the Communication Criticism course. “It is always nice when you have those kinds of friendships where you can be hanging out as a class, but have it feel like you are just with some friends downtown.”

Studying public art forms and advertisements, the students took pictures of the sculptures, artwork, and forms of advertising to bring back to class for discussion.

Mattson leads the field trip early in the semester to give students the opportunity to get to know one another.  “They’re working together in teams throughout the day, capturing images, and taking notes, which we later discuss in class,” said Mattson. “We even have a contest for who can come up with the most perfect images of oral communication, written communication, and electronic communication.”

Sliding down the Picasso, navigating their way through Union station, and getting caught in “guerilla advertising” (being stopped by a team of movie promoters), the students experienced fun and fellowship walking through the streets of downtown Chicago.

“I really enjoyed this trip as it was nice to see these forms of communication that we had studied in class were visible in the outside world,” said Dan Thayer ’12 of Buchanan, Michigan. “This is a true perk of Trinity—we are so close to downtown that we can take field trips there.”