Phase 4: Preparing to Share: Emerging Ideas

Updated 12 months 3 hours ago

After selecting my topic in Phase 0, posing thoughtful questions in Phase 1, found helpful resources in Phase 2, gathered information in Phase 3, I am ready to plan out my final product in Phase 4. 

To give me some ideas of what a final project looks like, I looked through Stella R.'sJie Ling T's, and Hillary C's. In Stella's project, she did a great job telling her journey and story in Xizhou. She added a lot of relevant videos and pictures of her doing her silversmithing. In Jie Ling's final product, she did something very unique. Her product included her telling the story through drawings and also added sound effects. Hillary's video clearly demonstrated her growth in Xizhou and talked a lot about what she did in the beginning, middle, and end of the trip. 

After looking at numerous final products, I have to come up with my own. I wanted to incorporate all the knowledge I have learned about jia ma, and my journey at Xizhou. After looking at more final products and considering the options, I decided that I would tell my story and journey at Xizhou through jia ma. This way, I could incorporate my knowledge, as well as telling my story and growth. Although I don't have time to carve each jia ma block and then print it out, I will be imitating the specific style of the jia ma through drawing. My audience for my final product would be anyone that is interested in jia ma, the Microcampus program, or just simply people who are interested in the Bai Minority culture. My intention for this product is to inspire someone to find out more about jia ma and the culture. Jia ma is slowly disappearing from the Bai culture, so I hope I can introduce more people to this highly interesting art. In order to understand my personal journey and growth of learning about traditional wood block printing (called "jia ma"), one must consider three time frames: before my arrival in Xizhou, my awkward first steps in Xizhou, and after I had settled in to my new home. I will illustrate my story in XIzhou through pictures of jia ma (which I will create myself) but the whole thing will be represented through a movie. I will include other pictures taken in Xizhou, along with some voiceovers. 


I. Introduction
      a. Why I am here / quick summary to the Microcampus program
          Students from SAS are given the oppurtunity to embark on a 28 day trip out to Xizhou, Yunnan. It is a chance to "get out of the bubble" and to experience something completely new. 
      b. Introducing the inquiry project
          The inquiry project is a project which all Microcampus students are required to do during their stay. Before embarking on the trip, students need to choose a topic. In Xizhou, they will then communicate with locals and find out more about their topic. 
      c. Thesis statement
           In order to understand my personal journey and growth of learning about traditional wood block printing (called "jia ma"), one must consider three time frames: before my arrival in Xizhou, my awkward first steps in Xizhou, and after I had settled in to my new home.

II. Before Xizhou
      a. My initial ideas of my topic
          I looked through the giant list of topics and decided to do Local Legends/Spirits/Stories
      b. Ficus trees
          After talking to Mr. T about my topic, he told me a lot of interesting things about the ficus tree and its role in Xizhou's culture. I was excited because I was pretty sure I wanted to investigate more about the ficus trees, and also I had a "focus". 
      c. Thoughts 
          I was confident when I left Shanghai. I thought that even though my Chinese is not that good, I could still get through and be successful. It would be a breeze. 
III. First Week
      a. First Session
          My first session was tough. It made me realize how challenging the next month would be. My first session was with Ms. Song, and we traveled to the nearby temples to see if they could tell me some stories. I was nervous and could not understand what they were talking about due to their thick accents. 
      b. Meeting Mr. Du
          Meeting Mr. Du helped me get back on my feet and each session with him gave me a ton of information. He told me everything he knew about his antiques, and also some legends and stories. I could not really understand the stories, because there were many references to things in Chinese mythology that I did not really understand. I learned a lot about the gods in the area and some important figures from him. 
      c. Searching for my focus 
          I had a lot of random information, but I still did not know what my focus was. I quickly discovered that I did not find ficus trees interesting, so I was out searching for something new. Without a focus, I did not know what questions to ask, and conversations tend to be a lot harder. I was very frustrated and confused. 

IV. Second and Third Weeks 
      a. Meeting Mr. Tian and going to his gallery
          Ms. Mai and I went to the Linden Centre in hopes of finding some staff that knew some stories. However, this led to meeting Mr. Tian, who had a huge gallery of jia ma. I was introduced to jia ma that day, and I was extremely interested in it. I knew immediately that I wanted jia ma to be my focus. Starting then, I knew what questions to ask and conversations became a whole lot easier. 
      b. Meeting with Mr. Yang, of the Old House Cafe
          Mr. Yang gave me a book about jia ma, which really helped deepen my understanding of jia ma. This helped me understand a lot of the vocabulary and the processes of printing the jia ma. 
      c. Meeting with Mr. Du (again)
          This time, I had a clear purpose in mind and had a lot of questions to ask him. Mr. Du had a pretty big collection of jia ma, so I asked him a lot about it. 
      d. Meeting Mr. Zhang
          Since there were not any jia ma masters in Xizhou, I needed to find someone outside. I traveled to a nearby town, where I met Mr. Zhang. I learned a lot more about how to make jia ma, and asked him a lot of questions. This encounter really solidified my knowledge and allowed me to ask some more advanced questions.

V. Conclusion
      a. My final thoughts on jia ma
          Jia ma is truly an interesting part of the Bai minority culture. The style of the drawings are very unique, and beautiful. I hope people will appreciate how much of an impact is makes in Xizhou's culture. 
      b. My final thoughts on my journey 
          I've grown a lot in Xizhou. I hae learned a lot of lessons and important things that I can never learn anywhere else. 
      c. Restating the thesis
      d. Final comments
          I am eternally grateful for my trip to Xizhou. It has given me unforgettable memories and important lessons that I will always cherish. 

Now that I have completed my plan, I will move onto creating my final product. 


Hello! My name is Debbie S. and I am 13 years old. I am Taiwanese and I love swimming and roller coasters. Applying for Microcampus was definitely one of the best decisions I have ever made, and it was definitely a once in a lifetime experience. Even though the experience only lasted for four weeks, the memories will stay with me forever.