The pilot cohort of Who is American Today? began in August of 2017, and was the first form of an ongoing investigation.




Who is American Today? was started in collaboration between Flávia Bastos, PhD. and James Rees, who met to discuss and put into action their research interests in August of 2017. The pilot phase of this project was then furthered in Provo, Utah with James Rees' students, who completed their Digital Stories in October of 2017.

Since then, both Flávia and James have presented this project across the globe, analyzing the first set of Digital Stories and sharing emerging themes with art educators and research professionals alike. Keep up with this project as it navigates exhibitions, presentations, and other interesting events on our Events page, or on our social media!

In the time that has passed, the project has grown into its next phase: recruiting multiple educators and their classrooms to participate - if you are interested, please navigate to our Participate page, or click the button below to get started.

Digital Stories | Student Generated October 2017



Emerging Themes

Digital Media

  • Digital media and social media platforms are accessible

  • "Digital media" and "social media" mean the same thing to several students

  • Spreadable media facilitates conversation

  • Students consume digital media avidly, but the majority had never made films or digital stories before

  • Students need time yet to reflect upon the impact of learning this technology

Who is American Today?

  • Being American is an issue that brings out controversy and anger

  • These are difficult and complex topics that give us the opportunity to think about these ideas and become more educated

  • At the other side of it this issue is the possibility of articulating positive views, which would be necessary for promoting collaboration

  • Surprise that there are so many opinions, such as differences between the perspectives of immigrants and that of more entitled Americans who have acquired wealth and been in the country longer

  • Distance between the ideal of being an American, with an emphasis on patriotism and respect, and today’s reality of dissent and controversy

Art in Education

  • Art is a good way to express a variety of opinions

  • The power of art is to articulate more delicate, persuasive, and poetic perspectives that have potential to be broadly understood

  • Art can give people a voice

  • Art can help examine what it is to be a citizen