Gino Canella, John Craig Freeman, Nejem Raheem, and Homa Sarabi.

Beyond The Classroom: Updates From Engagement Lab Faculty Fellows

Thursday, March 9, 2023

From scholarly articles to augmented reality, from film screenings to community engagement projects, the faculty fellows at the Engagement Lab have produced a variety of interesting and valuable projects outside the classroom. This month, we are highlighting recent work from professors Gino Canella, John Craig Freeman, Nejem Raheem, and Homa Sarabi.

Gino Canella

Gino Canella is faculty in the Department of Journalism. He published two articles this year that highlight labor organizing and collaborative teaching. The former focuses on Starbucks Workers United (SBWU) as a case study to show how worker-led campaigns are reshaping the structure and composition of the US labor movement. 

In the latter, titled Grassroots Pedagogy: Practicing Justice in Collaborative Classrooms, Canella “argues that teaching grounded in radical honesty and social justice upends traditional notions of expertise, strengthens higher education’s commitment to service, and promotes a culture of democracy." 

Canella also produced a short documentary about the nursing strike at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester, MA, which lasted more than 300 days. The documentary has been accepted into the 2023 Massachusetts Independent Film Festival this April. Stay tuned for more about the schedule for the festival!

John Craig Freeman

John Craig Freeman is faculty in the Department of Visual and Media Arts at Emerson and a fellow at the MIT OpenDoc Lab. He co-authored Choragraphy of the Virtual City, which argues that image categories function for networked digital media the way Aristotle’s word categories functioned for literal concepts. Freeman also created an art installation titled MIT Augmented, Climate Change Migration Stories, using augmented reality technology to transport users to the US/Mexico border. The virtual scenes are created using photorealistic scans of locations in and around the border, providing a realistic and immersive experience for users. The project explores the impact of climate change on migration patterns, highlighting the experiences of those who are forced to leave their homes due to environmental factors. The installation is currently on exhibit across the MIT campus and can be accessed through the Hoverlay augmented reality app on mobile phones.

Nejem Raheem

Nejem Raheem is chair of the Department of Marketing Communication. He was interviewed on WBUR's "Brilliant Boston" about a course he teaches with Jon Honea and about his research on indigenous culture and conservation. He has also been working with staff from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Coral Reef Conservation Project facilitating meetings which seek to better understand how to integrate what are called "Ecosystem Services," or the benefits that humans derive from nature, into planning for coral reef conservation. You can read a recent paper he co-authored with Dr. Danielle Schwarzmann, the chief economist at NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries about that process here

He is currently hard at work organizing Emerson’s Teach-In on Sustainability which will take place March 27-30. Stay tuned! 

Homa Sarabi

Homa Sarabi is the Director of Production and Safety for the Department of Visual and Media Arts and will be teaching a studio on climate imaginaries in the fall. Co-presented with Roxbury International Film Festival and the Boston Women’s Film Festival, she has curated a program featuring the work of women directors in Iran. Titled Subtle Images of Everyday Revolt, the collection of short films spans a wide range of topics, from war to immigration and the everyday lives of the people of Iran. The event is part of  the Bright Lights series at Emerson College TONIGHT ( Thursday March 9 at 7pm). 


Sharon-Hephzibah Mohie,

ELab Writing Assistant