Creative Unessay project



Overview and reasoning:

I have been trying to find a way to let you engage with the material in a way that allows you to use one of the most important aspects of being human: Imagination. In that vein, the main project for this class will be an unessay, a project which allows you to engage with the material in any way you see



Creativity is at the heart of what makes us human (See The Human Spark by Agustin Fuentes). Imagination and creativity allow us find answers to problems in unique ways. Even if 1,000 people looked at the same issue, you bring a unique and distinctive view to the question based on your personal lived experiences. However, and quite sadly, creativity has been mostly “educated out” of us (see Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative by Ken Robinson for more on this). This is an experiment in a different way of letting you explore the class materials and topics in a way that is salient to your own goals in college (which are most likely different than mine!).

You can:

  • Choose your own topic
  • Present it however you want (written word, illustrations, music, video, etc)
  • Work in a group or on your own!

What is an UnEssay

Over the first 2 weeks of class think about a topic of relevance to the course that you think is interesting, important, and relevant to you. In other words, you can choose your own topic as long as it can be associated with the course material. Then you figure out how you want to present it. It can be a standard research paper if you wish (in fact, if I were taking this class I might go that route…) or something very different.

  • Make a music video about (look on YouTube for examples…).
  • Make a series of songs (like a musical or opera). -
  • Write a play.
  • Create a series of cartoons or a comic book that illustrates something associated with this class - Watercolor/painting/charcoal artwork
  • Write a longform essay on a subject (redlining, eugenics, third gender, etc.) that you post to a sharing site
  • Create a website/Wik about the topic
  • Collect specific data and analyses/present it in a unique way
  • Make a series of Buzzfeed style listicles (with a clickbaity headline!)
  • Embroidery, knitting project
  • Do a book review of a nonfiction or fiction book related to the class - An interview and discussion with someone.
  • Interactive website
  • Regular essay/research paper

See the slideshow below for some examples that other students have created


When you submit your project include a short explanatory essay (‘The Statement’) that explains what you did, why you did it, and how you went about producing the UnEssay. If you chose to do a standard essay/paper this can be your place to be more open about the process you used to create the piece.

This statement should be 1-2 pages long. If working in a group, everyone should submit their own Statement that reflects their personal views on the project.


Fill out these questions and submit with your project

1. Why did you choose this topic?

2. How did you go about creating the project? Did you learn something new while working on this

3. What did you find most difficult about this project?

4. What about this project are you most proud of?

5. What would you do differently next time?

6. If you worked in a group, do you think the group worked well together? Why or why not?

What to submit

  1. Proposal (due on Week 5) that gives a 1-2 paragraph overview of what you want to do and how you plan to do it

s             We will review these proposals and give feedback to help you with the project!

  1. The project itself (in all its awesomeness): reach out to us if you have any questions on how to show your project
  2. The statement
  3. your sell-assessment

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Some tips

  • On week 5 of class we will submit a 'proposal.' The point of this is to keep you on track and to make sure your idea can be done in the time we have. Some folks go really big which is great but also sometimes end up planning something that will take way too much time.
  • The hardest thing about this project is choosing a topic. You have complete control. This is much harder than it sounds. If you are having trouble let one of us know and we can setup a time to chat
  • I've been doing this for 3 years and almost every project I've seen blows me away
  • If you are doing a written piece do not worry about page length, citation style, or font style. This is your project. I'm just here to help it along

More info:

click through the slideshow below for some examples of UnEssays and more info as to why i use them

New Embed

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due dates

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