The Deepwater Horizon Tragedy: A Scientific and Artistic Inquiry
In the summer of 2011, seven students explored the Deepwater Horizon oil spill from a artistic and environmental perspectives in the course "ENVS 380: The Deepwater Horizon Tragedy: A Scientific and Artistic Inquiry." The course began with classroom lessons followed by a 10-day trip to the Gulf Coast region, which included visits to laboratories, research institutions, tours of the wetlands, as well as visits to affected communities to meet the people who live there.
By exploring the gulf oil spill from both an artistic and scientific standpoint, students were able to learn the science of the Gulf Coast region and the ecological impact of the oil spill. They also learned artistic tools and methods that will enable them to understand science at a deeper level, and make the research and the meaning of that research visible to an audience through their art. The course concluded with a multidisciplinary performance created by the students and encompassing all of the different skills learned in this course.
The course was co-taught by Barry Chernoff, director of the College of the Environment, and Leigh Fondakowski, head writer of THE LARAMIE PROJECT, a play based on interviews with the townspeople of Laramie, Wyoming in the aftermath of the brutal beating and death of gay University of Wyoming student, Matthew Shepard.