Attached is our artist statement.
The purpose of the comic is to show first and second year students who may be hesitant about taking humanities courses that the thematic approach may be more fun and intellectually rewarding than the traditional depth and breadth approach. As such the audience is primarily intended to be WPI students who are in the engineering field and are reluctant to take humanities classes. The narrative follows two WPI students who are discussing the humanities requirement and learn that the thematic approach may be a better format to pursue their specific interests, in this case, anime. We wanted to appeal to ethos by building in a relatable experience to connect with the audience. John, having already completed his humanities requirement in “Medical Humanities and Ethics” describes the possibilities and flexibility that the thematic approach offers, specifically giving examples of how Matt may be able to complete his humanities requirement thematically in Japanese Popular Culture in order to coincide with his interest in anime. The ending broadens the scope so that the comic may be more relatable with any topic, rather than just anime.
We needed to revise our artist statement to better reflect why we did what we did instead of what we did.
The purpose of the comic is to show our audience that the thematic approach may be more fun and intellectually rewarding than the traditional depth and breadth approach to the humanities requirement. The audience is primarily intended to be first and second year WPI students in the technical disciplines who may be hesitant about taking humanities classes. In order to establish ethos with the intended audience, we put the characters in a situation that is relatable; specifically, we introduce a student who is struggling to figure out how to best complete his humanities requirement. When he is approached by a friend who assists him with the humanities requirement, we intended to allude to WPI’s ideology of peer learning. This also serves to augment the conditional rhetoric that students are exposed to by subtly encouraging students to help one another find solutions to their problems. We decided to use the theme of anime because to again establish ethos, as anime is a common cultural trope among engineering students and is easily recognizable, even to students not directly familiar with its intricacies. However, students at WPI are interested in a variety of different topics and focus areas, and not everyone is interested in pursuing a humanities requirement in anime, or Japanese Popular Culture as we call it. Consequently, we didn’t want to get too tied into the example of anime. Based on feedback from the class, we decided to broaden the scope towards the end of the comic and make the thematic approach more relevant to any theme that students are interested in. We wanted to make sure to visualize the requirement using something that would be familiar to any WPI student, the degree tracking sheet. We created an example schedule and filled it in the tracking sheet to show how simple the thematic requirement is and what type of thematic relationship can exist between the classes, from Asian culture to animation courses, and an inquiry seminar in media revolutions throughout history. This also served to visualize the the thematic requirement and condense it into a simple and relatable representation that makes the thematic approach more approachable.