In the week of April 9, Team Kenan asked couch-goers to consider how we determine what the nature of community is, how our links to communities are chosen, formed, dissolved and signified and how the social and academic environment at Duke affects our relationships with our communities.
At the height of the semester, Team Kenan chatted with peers about their experiences during Spring Break, asking whether it was spent on campus or off, whether it was actually a “break” and what those experiences revealed about Duke. From the resulting conversations, students reported that their classmates often resorted to humblebrags or were only interested in sharing details of their break experience for show – especially, if expensive, flamboyant, or provocative. Students who went home or stayed on campus, shared that they felt judged by their friends for lacking an “exotic” experience.
In anticipation of Spring Break, campus is abuzz with stories of students engaging in crash diets and spending all of their free time in the gym. During the week before Spring Break, Team Kenan invited classmates to sit on the couch to talk about how they care for themselves and the ways in which Duke does or does not support them. Conversations revealed unspoken pressures on campus to strive for an ideal, how college life has affected their self image, and how their lifestyle has become healthier (or not) as a result of Duke campus culture.
In conjunction with 2018 TEDx Duke’s theme, “Righting Histories, Writing Futures,” TeamKenan asked their classmates about how they have been taught history and how they have learned about the past. Questions explored who and what shaped their viewpoints, what has been omitted from the record and how today will be remembered. The responses reflected upon the malleability of the present and the past, and the power vested in who and how history is told.
During the week after Valentine’s Day, TeamKenan posed questions about the nature of art, its function in our lives, how it affects the way we view the world around us. Couch-goers reflected upon whether art is created for the self or others, if they have the technical skill and/or talent to make ‘good art, and the subjectivity of viewership. In the end, the experience of talking on the couch changed students, themselves. “I find myself expanding and broadening my definition of good art the longer I sit here.”