The Milwaukee Visionaries Project

Emily Moen, “The Milwaukee Visionaries Project”
Mentor: Kim Cosier, Art & Design

The Milwaukee Visionaries Project (MVP) is an after-school arts program which combines UWM and creators with Milwaukee community middle and highschoolers. The research will be a qualitative study that explores how students describe the impact of MVP. We will be seeking to understand how they see MVP supporting them as artists and filmmakers who communicate and express themselves through the use of specific art mediums. A second outcome we will measure is students’ ability to cooperate and collaborate with teams. The goal of the program is to create films ready to apply to the Milwaukee Film Fest. In MVP students pitch ideas to the whole group and for stories to be told through video and/or animation. Teams of students form through discussions and the teams work together to realize a vision of a story that has been collectively developed. Differences of opinion are resolved through open dialogue and consensus building. In-process critiques give each team a chance to engage in every project. Through critique, ideas are shared, strengthened, and challenged in a supportive environment. In these ways, cooperation and collaboration are central to the mission of MVP. This study is relevant because it centers on student voice and highlights the importance of art programs and their benefit on students who do not have access to art resources. It also informs students on new ways to communicate and collaborate with fellows creatives. The methodology will include observation, notes and surveys. As well, we will be producing a short video including in-person interviews conducted on camera. The story will be rounded out through capturing relationships among students and staff. We hope to host the video on our website to draw more students into the program by sharing the story of the impacts of MVP among Milwaukee community students.


  1. Emily,

    This turned out to be a lovely story. Thanks for keeping positive as the pandemic threw our plans into a tailspin!

  2. Emily Moen,
    I love this project, and your presentation reflects the impact of the program. I’ve stopped by the classroom at KSE several times, and always enjoy seeing young artists and their creative work. So much energy!! I can only imagine how students will integrate this strange, challenging, and pivotal (pandemic) experience into their art making!
    Thank you for sharing this story! By the by, I had to “prove you are a person and not spam” by typing words in a window below before posting. The words I had to type were “hug merit”, which is very appropriate!

  3. Emily, thank you for your work despite the difficulties this semester. I am glad you are experimenting with video and media as a way to reflect on student success and qualitative surveys. Here are some areas you could develop your project in future years.

    1. Make your viewer aware of the questions you asked. Maybe a list of questions or indicating the question the interviewee was answering (as a caption) would help.
    2. It was a good idea to ask the student to introduce himself at the beginning. But I would supplement that with a text for those who may need that additional text.
    3. I know how difficult it is to capture sound. Hence I am glad you are experimenting with sound. Usually interviewing people in a silent space helps reduce background sound.
    4. Also glad that you are experimenting with slicing multiple sound clips. What program did you use? I use Audacity. It is free and it allows me to bridge over the space between clips so that the clips don’t sound abrupt. Also recording room-tone (check that out) helps bridge the spaces between clips and pauses.
    I hope you continue experimenting with media in the future. There is much to learn, but the learning process is very satisfying.

  4. Great work, Emily! This is an important topic. Have the middle and highschoolers interviewed expressed that they have taken the collaboration and communication skills they are learning in MVP and applied them to other aspects of their school or personal life?

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