My name is Meagan Arnold and I am a double major in Film and Video Studies and History at Mason. Since August I have worked with Helen Frederick and Nikki Brugnoli-Whipkey, within the School of Art, on the Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here (AMSSH) project. AMSSH is a book arts and cultural festival taking place throughout the DC area that commemorates the 2007 bombing of the historic bookselling street in Baghdad. Exhibits and events held through January to March shed light on the effects of the bombing.
My primary job is to record the events and edit them into videos for the web, though the team of interns and I are encouraged to actively participate in the project as well. Since being on this project, I have done everything from being a docent for an exhibition to studio print-making. These were all new experiences for me! Most times when I do event videography I am not emotionally invested; I film, edit, export, then I’m done. With AMSSH, I am asked to bring my own energy into the project beyond what my camera can record. This learning curve has helped me develop in my professionalism immensely. Aside from film, last month I wrote and helped edit a magazine that will be published mid-March about the project. Design and film are closely correlated, so I feel the experience expanded my understanding of both digital and print publishing.
I aspire to be a documentary filmmaker so this project has directly correlated with my career goals. It has helped me find a balance between filming and being actively engaged at an event, which is important in the field I want to go into. In the future I would love to be on another project like AMSSH.
You can view some of the artists’ books on campus! For more information on the project, visit: www.amsshdc2016.org.