Intern Helps Curator of Two Exhibits

Posted on: December 23, 2013

Marisa - CAS News ImageMarisa Hamel, a journalism sophomore who also majors in social relations and policy while balancing her time in the Honors College, was involved in the creation of two exhibits currently on display at the MSU Museum, "An Extraordinary Document of Our World" and "Detroit Resurgent." Both showcase the work of French photographer Gilles Perrin.

Hamel's internship opportunity with Journalism Professor Howard Bossen was decided before she even began her college career, interviewing for the position prior to her freshman year. Since her position began in August 2012, she has become a "right-hand student" for Bossen, along with his other "right-hand student," anthropology and Honors College senior Kathleen McLain.

"Marisa and Kathleen have been involved (with the exhibits) from top to bottom. They transcribed interviews, created educational materials, worked on the press release and selected final images," Bossen said. "It has been an amazing educational experience."

"For an 'Extraordinary Document of Our World,' we started with a large collection of portraits made by Perrin and wheedled them down to about 60 for the exhibition," Hamel said. "For both projects, we helped select matting and framing and layout space of the gallery, which was a new experience for me. Kathleen and I also put together educational materials for museum visitors and the media."

Hamel's favorite part of the experience was dissecting the "Detroit Resurgent" interviews. Hour-long raw audio files were turned into short quotes and messages from each subject to be paired with their portraits and used in the book.

"During the summer while writing and editing was underway, Professor Bossen asked my opinion on a poem written by Jessica Care Moore, one of the interviews I handled, that would be published and incorporated in the book. It was amazing to see it come full-circle," Hamel said.

Hamel, a Syracuse, New York, native, said her experience and organizational skills as an editor for her high school yearbook may have contributed to her eligibility for the position, but wasn't sure anything specifically prepared her for the experience.

"I came into it knowing little about journalism and even less about photojournalism and walked away from a year's worth of work with the knowledge of how to produce a museum exhibition and publish a book," she said. "I hope to publish my own books someday, and I learned the creative and practical processes of writing, editing and establishing a relationship with co-authors and the publisher."

One piece of advice Hamel said she would give to other students: "If they have the chance to have hands-on experience in their field, there's no good reason they shouldn't drop whatever they're doing and dive into the opportunity."

There's still time to see the MSU Museum exhibits. They are on display until Jan. 12. The exhibits then move to the Detroit Athletic Club for six to eight weeks, beginning in March, and then on to the MSU Detroit Center, 3408 Woodward Ave. in Detroit, in May until the end of 2014.

An online exhibition is in the works for "An Extraordinary Document of Our World." A book based on the "Detroit Resurgent" exhibit also will be released in April.

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