Art has played a fundamental role throughout history, and currently, we can definitely say that we are living in historic times. At my school, the idea of having a creative anthology started at the beginning of the pandemic, with many people exploring writing, painting, and even photography. Anthologies were held, and art became an important tool to give students a voice and opinion on the matters that were surrounding them.
A creative anthology that touches on social issues is a great way to foster creativity within your school and to encourage others to elaborate on their own perspective regarding a current problem in a unique form of expression! Here are a few things you may want to take into consideration if you decide to take on this project:
1. Creating an outline
The first thing you need to do is define the theme and the characteristics of your anthology. To have it all clear, make an outline explaining the intention behind the project and the requirements that the participants must follow. If possible, create a set of ethical guidelines that the artworks must adhere to to ensure a safe environment where all points of view are respected. The topic used in my high school’s anthology was the pandemic and its effects on the creative process of writing. Even though it affected all of us differently we—and the world—had that experience in common.
2. Choosing the mode of presentation
You can use a digital platform, such as Instagram, Facebook or a website, to post updates about the project. You may also include matters that may be related to your topic such as quotes, news, and featured artworks. This can call the attention of people that could be interested. Additionally, it is a great way to keep the current participants engaged. If you want to keep it simple, you can just notify those involved through a group chat or through posters. In the literary anthology I participated in, they published works on the literature club’s Instagram as an exhibit of our texts in the weekly anthology. By doing this, they also got more people interested in the dynamics of the project.
3. Formalizing participation
Make a Google Forms or use an app of your choice to keep track of the students participating. Knowing how many participants you have will be useful in determining logistics, such as how many editions you will make. Make sure to also ask for their consent to share their works; it is very important to specify the platform in which the artworks would be showcased and who can access them.
4. Showcasing the final product
After receiving all the artwork, check that every one of them complies with your guidelines and requirements. Finally, share it with your school or body in which you carried out the whole process. It is up to you how formal and how much diffusion you want to give to this activity.
5. Expanding the idea
You can do this project periodically and even create its own platform to share it. This way, you can reach more people and make a larger and more diverse anthology.
Now that the process of the creative anthology project has been outlined, here are a few ideas on how to present your anthology depending on the art form(s) you are showcasing. Below, you can also find some resources to carry out the activity. These are just my recommendations, so feel free to use any tools that you have in mind.
A virtual gallery is a great option as a form of display for the visual arts. Even though I have not participated in one of these myself, virtual galleries have become increasingly common during the pandemic, and they are often used by professional artists. Designing a virtual gallery gives a polished look to your project, offering an interactive experience to the spectator.
- artsteps: This is a free digital tool where you can create a 3D virtual gallery from scratch, or pick a template that offers a space that has been already designed. It is very simple to use: after having the gallery designed and ready, just upload the images from your device.
- Example: Exhibitions (Melbourne High School)
If you take Film at your school, this can be a great way of applying some of the knowledge acquired! Get your favorite video editor app and open a call for short films. I suggest you don’t put too many requirements for this one. People tend to view film-making as something you have to be very experienced to do, so try to emphasize that you are not looking for highly technical works. After you have made the compilation, upload it to Youtube, Instagram or even Tiktok! Here are some easy-to-use video editors (they don’t have the most advanced tools, but their interface is very friendly):
- iMovie: This app allows you to edit your videos, offering features that elevate the quality of your videos, such as background music, filters, and more. The only disadvantage is that it is only available for iOS and macOS.
- VEED: An online video editor that makes editing really simple, it basically offers most of the tools that iMovie does. It is a website, so it is accessible to Android, Windows, and iOS users.
Literary Anthology (e-book)
This type of anthology is one of the most common, so you are likely to receive more works by doing it. I recommend dividing the texts into two categories: prose and verse. For this, it is very important to specify the extent of the texts, as you want to have a diverse and entertaining compilation. My recommendation is 3 pages maximum for prose and 5 pages maximum for poetry. Although this takes more revision time, you don’t need a special tool to compile all of the texts. Just define a format in Word and copy-paste the texts that you receive. If you want to make it more attractive for viewers, design a cool cover on Canva that matches the theme of your anthology, and you’re good to go!
From my experience, I can say that a creative anthology is a great way to not only develop your artistic skills but also to gain critical thinking by reflecting on how you feel about the current events happening around you. Finally, it is a great introspection exercise that I think a lot of students would be interested in participating in. I hope you got some inspiration for a Creative CAS project from this article, and I wish you the best of luck!
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