Project Summary: Writing I and Writing II

Please use the Project Summary Template introduced in Session 2: Project Scoping and post your updates here.

Project Summary: Heritages of Change (tentative)

Project Leads: Kisha G. Tracy, Associate Professor, English Studies, Fitchburg State University


Maura Reilly defines curatorial activism as “the practice of organizing art exhibitions with the principle aim of ensuring that certain constituencies of artists are no longer ghettoized or excluded from the master narratives of art.” For my Writing I and II courses, I expand that definition from only “art” to focus on “cultural heritage” more broadly. After I have applied anti-racist pedagogy since participating in an Anti-Racist and Community-Engaged Teaching Pedagogy Workshop, this approach directly addresses anti-racism and related issues, giving students an opportunity to explore not only the heritage of these issues but their own stances, experiences, and beliefs while also delving into curation and exhibit-making. Then, more importantly, it emphasizes how their writing can address those issues, seek to rectify the exclusions from cultural heritage spaces. I want them to understand the impact that their writing can have on others and what they can convey when they write both effectively and passionately. This textbook would include principles of writing and information literacy, but it will do so through the lenses of curatorial activism, cultural heritage, and curation/exhibition. In Writing I, students focus on Disability Heritage, especially local disability heritage by working with the Fitchburg Historical Society and the university’s Disability Services as well as historical ancient and medieval disability, and contribute to a digital exhibition on the topic, but they need a broader understanding of cultural heritage and disability heritage in general in order to apply the concepts through their writing. In Writing II, students focus on creating full mini-exhibitions for the Heritages of Change physical and digital exhibition. Heritage topics that students focus on include (but are not limited to): anti-racism, #MeToo, indigenous peoples, women/gender/LGBTQIA+, climate change, etc. This textbook would introduce them to those topics, but also how to communicate about and research them.


After consultation with cultural heritage experts in the field, it is clear there is no textbook appropriate for undergraduates and especially first-year students that addresses curatorial activism and, further, none on cultural heritage more broadly. In addition, there are by extension none that do so from a writing or communication perspective, especially with the use of exhibition creation. This project would fill that need for myself and for others who are using curation especially as a tool by which to teach writing and information literacy. The principles of cultural heritage and curatorial activism are transferable to different courses, and the writing and information literacy pieces of this book will certainly be transferable with or without the cultural heritage lens.

Course and Audience

Writing I and Writing II (first-year composition sequence) students

Significant Learning Outcomes

  • Students will be able to understand the purposes of writing within specific and varied discursive communities.
  • Students will be able to demonstrate in their writing a knowledge of rhetoric, uses of evidence, process-oriented writing, and academic community as related to the course topic of cultural heritage and curatorial activism.

Course Materials Needed

Using Existing OER?

I plan to link to an existing composition OER textbook (TBD) to match up with the appropriate sections of the cultural heritage pieces.


  1. Chapter Structure: If you are creating a textbook, how will the textbook be structured? (e.g. 3 parts to every chapter, student-facing text plus instructor handbook etc.).
  2. Adapting/ Remixing: Will you be drawing on existing OER? In what ways?
  3. Supplementary Materials: What (if any) accompanying elements (e.g. instructor resources, presentations, quizzes, maps, data sets) will be produced or collected? If you are creating these, how would these be structured?
  4. Inclusion, Equity, Diversity: What voices and representations will you want to use to help convey specific information in your OER? How will you embed the diverse perspectives?


Explain what license the OER will carry and why. You may want to link to external resources where readers can go for more information on the CC BY license, such as the Creative Commons website, or the Rebus Community Licensing Policy.

Anticipated Timeline

I teach ENGL 1100 Writing I in Fall 2022 and ENGL 1200 Writing II in Spring 2023. My plan is to use those sections of the courses to plan a substantially new open textbook, collecting needed materials, in order to teach writing and information literacy through a cultural heritage curatorial activism lens. Then, in Summer 2023, I will finish creating the textbook and publish with an open license, and then it will be ready for my use and that of others in Fall 2023 courses.

Measures of Success

  • How will you know if you’ve met your goal?
  • What constitutes success, and how will you measure it?
  • Consider indicators along the production process like number of participants, diversity of perspectives (geographic, cultural, social, etc.), feedback opportunities, number of adoptions etc.
  • Also think about student success beyond traditional metrics of grades and focus on deeper learning measures. Do students feel joyful and empowered in the course?
  • These don’t have to be comprehensive, but help to clarify what success means to your project, beyond just writing a text.
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Cultural Heritage

  • What Is Cultural Heritage?
  • Identifying Cultural Heritage
    • Local
    • Global
    • Historical
  • Why Cultural Heritage?
    • Heritage Cycle
  • Heritage in the Making
    • Three Examples of Cultural Heritage in the Making
  • Further Reading

Heritages of Change

  • What Is Marginalized Cultural Heritage?
    • Exercise: Cultural Heritage in Perspective (image)
  • Why Focus on Marginalized Cultural Heritage?
    • Curatorial Activism: Maura Reilly
      • Using Your Voice: Junior Pena?
      • BSU President?
      • Writing II Student M?
  • Three Examples of Marginalized Cultural Heritage
  • Further Reading

Disability Heritage

  • What Is Disability?
    • Exercise: Disability Minor?
  • Models of Disability
  • Language and Disability
  • Historical Disability
    • Myth-Busting
    • Exercise: Assumptions (ROARS?)
  • Current Events and Disability
    • Writing: Opinion
  • Intersectionality
  • Disability in Cultural Heritage Spaces
    • Exercise: First Impressions
    • Writing: Review
  • Three Examples of Disability Heritage
  • Further Reading

Creating an Exhibition

  • Choosing an Audience
  • Finding Marginalized Heritage
  • Pairing Heritage Together
  • Project:
    • Writing: Proposal
    • Writing: Research
    • Writing: Effective Catalog Entry
    • Writing: Essay
  • Further Reading

Writing Sections Needed

  • Thesis
  • Organization
  • Sources/Bibliographies
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