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Student Life During Covid Book

A book with creative perspectives from those who lived it

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All poetry, music, drawings and illustrations highlighted as key pieces are submissions sent in by U of A students and Alumni: Ishan.A, Malou Brouwer, Mari Alice Conrad, Jordyn Frederick, Andrea Larsen, Holly Munn, M-A Murphy, Priscilla Ojomu, Gabriela Roth, Morgan Wong, and Neha Vashist.​​​​​​​

 

Thank you to The Community Student Engagement Group at the University of Alberta and Jenna Clarahan, for having me work on this project and for providing me with critique throughout the design process of this book.

Click here to access the digital e-book

Acknowledgments

Project Context

In 2021 of April, the University of Alberta Library and Wellness Supports, invited U of A Students to participate in a community arts initiative to explore and express their student experience during COVID. They were encouraged to reflect on their experiences as a post-secondary student during the pandemic, of their resilience and tenacity, and of their overall wellness — and then was invited to creatively express what it meant to them. How they chose to do that was entirely up to them. And in the end, 11 student submissions were received in a variety of mediums such as paintings, poems, and a music score.

Project Goal

My goal is to present these 11 student works in a bound publication as well as a digital format that will be a resource for other students as they face continuing impacts and challenges of post-secondary education during COVID. Ultimately it will serve as a permanent artifact of the University of Alberta pandemic experience.

Project 
Criteria

Overall Requirements

• Fit within the U of A branding guidelines 

• Represent all submissions equally.               

• Have a page with copyright information.

• Book production must cost less than $500

Print Version Requirements

• 50 final printed copies

• Must be bound

• Must have a front and back cover

Digital Version Requirements

• Must be self-contained and accessible 

• No need for maintenance

• Accessible web format

Research and Planning

I started this project by reading through the different artist statements of each pieces and analyzing the individual pieces, to get an idea of variety of experiences that were lived by the students during Covid-19. Many pieces shared common themes or words while other remained distinct, so in order to chart these findings I began word mapping.

Common Words

Connect

Hope

Anxiety

Isolated

Overwhelmed

Disparities 

Co-exist

Complacency

Helplessness

Haunt

Collapsed

First Draft

The first draft of the the book included a typographic and illustration representation of some the words pulled from the initial word-mapping experiment, the specific words being: coexistence, connect, hope and anxiety.  (anxiety later turned into frustration)

As fun as the illustrations were, they ended up being too type heavy and I paired them down to include basic shapes, forms and elements like hands , flowers and cords to represent the theme rather than spelling it out.

Final Draft

Book Specification & Organization

8 inch by 8 inch: square book

Saddle-stitched stapled book

The book is organized into four sections using the word mapped themes, and takes the viewer on a journey, related to how many of our experiences occurred throughout the height of the pandemic. Starting with the struggle of connecting and the attempt to re-connect and ground ones self in a very troubling time. Next being the frustration that we have all dealt with during the peak of Covid-19, being stuck at home with most places being locked down, overwhelmed and often glued to a screen. Third is coexistence, after lockdown ended we have learned to not be afraid of Covid-19, but to live along side it. We are aware that it might always be around in one form or another and that life must go on. Finally is hope, it lives along side coexistence and with hope, perhaps the reality that we have lived over the past two years will one day become a distant memory.  

Spreads

Mockups

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