Ross Immersive focuses on using photography as a vessel to connect with Muncie community members and share their stories in the process.
Ross Immersive is an immersive learning project funded by Ball State University. In this immersive learning opportunity, Ball State University's Ross Immersive Learning Team (JOUR-302 Diversity and Media course) partnered with the Ross Community Center and Muncie Community Residents to create visual ethnographies and engage the community with photography. Ross Immersive worked this semester to highlight various cultures and traditions present in Muncie through the use of modern media.
Ross Immersive follows a research method called "Sight Beyond my Sight" created by Dr. Gabriel Tait. This research method offers an opportunity for the residents of Avondale to share their perspectives of the neighborhood through a series of photographs. In September, the team lent each participant a professional-grade Canon camera for two weeks. During those two weeks, community participants were instructed to capture images that truly encompass their community, with the theme of community revitalization in mind. We also instructed them not to delete any of the pictures they had taken.
In February, the Ross immersive team met the community members to interview them about their picture-taking experience. In the interviews, participants were presented with all of the photographs they had taken and were instructed to narrow them down to their "top 20 photos". Once the participants had established their top photographs and assigned them themes, we then asked them to choose their top 3 photographs.
In April, students met with all of the participants to conduct a focus group. In the focus group, each participant was able to talk about their experience and share it with the other members of the community. They were asked to pick three photographs that represent their community the best out of each participant's top three photos. The top three photographs chosen would be the highlight of the final presentation for the community to see.