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February 23, 2017

On Tuesday, February 28, the University of Kentucky College of Law Diversity Committee, in collaboration with UK Analytics and Technologies’ Media Depot, the Media Arts and Studies (MAS) Program, and the Writing, Rhetoric and Digital Studies (WRD) Program, will screen the first episode of a new video series entitled, Perspectives. The premiere event will take place in the auditorium of William T. Young Library from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. and conclude with a town hall discussion. Refreshments will be served following the event.

Perspectives, a new initiative that strives to increase awareness and appreciation for a diverse and inclusive community across campus, consists of a video series created and produced by students from the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Communication and Information, and College of Law. Each film will explore student and faculty views on a specific topic, unique to each episode. Episodes are then showcased three times a semester at events on campus. Each event also features a town hall discussion with distinguished faculty and notable guest speakers within the Lexington community, to actively engage attendees and foster discussion among them.

The first episode, Perspectives: Whose Protest is it Anyway, will highlight 11 different viewpoints about protests in America – more specifically, how they are conducted, how they are viewed and their effectiveness. Panelists for the town hall discussion include Devine Carama, Lexington hip-hop artist and activist, and Jim Embry, director of Sustainable Communities Network. David Luke, Associate Director of the Martin Luther King Center at UK, will serve as moderator.

So, exactly where did the idea for Perspectives come from? Zach Smith, Computer Support Specialist at UK Law and a non-traditional UK student majoring in MAS and ICT with a minor in WRD, came up with the idea after producing a video that captured student and faculty perspectives on diversity and inclusion for law school orientation. He decided to apply for an Inclusive Excellence Grant through the Office of Institutional Diversity and received an award for the project. He is the producer and director for the film series.

“Faculty and staff across campus have played a significant role in securing funding for this project,” said Smith. “Without the support of Beau Steenken and the UK Law Diversity Committee, Dr. Marksbury and Jeff Rice from the WRD Program, Dr. Zixue Tai and Professor Scoobie Ryan from the MAS Program, and Kirk Laird with the Media Depot, none of this would have been possible.”

Each of the four departments play a key role in the ongoing collaborative effort. UK Law students, as tomorrow’s policy-makers, select relevant topics and policies for consideration, as well as organize the town hall for each event. WRD students draft prompts for interviewees and identify themes for editing footage. MAS students film students across campus and edit footage, while the Media Depot provides technical support. MAS and WRD students are also eligible to receive internship credit.

Perspectives will continue throughout the spring semester. Future events have been scheduled for March 28 and April 25.