College of Fine Arts and Communication

Research and Creative Activities

COFAC Colloquium 13 — Friday, March 4, 2011 — Art Lecture Hall, CFA 2032 2:30 - 4:30pm

Pop Politics? Celebrity Issue Advocacy Campaigns and Their Influence on Situational Involvement, Complacency, and Apathy

Amy B. Becker, Assistant Professor, Mass Communication & Communication Studies

Becker Pop PoliticsUsing data from an experimental study conducted among undergraduates in the fall of 2009, the study considers the impact of exposure to celebrity issue advocacy appeals on situational involvement, complacency, and apathy. The research uses the global refugee crisis as a case study, contrasting Angelina Jolie’s involvement with that of an issue expert, Antonio Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. The results suggest that receptivity toward celebrity involvement in issue politics has a negative impact on complacency but no effect on issue apathy. In addition, situational involvement with the issue debate is negatively related to both complacency and issue apathy. Finally, the results suggest that exposure to celebrity issue advocacy messages can impact issue engagement, but this impact often depends on the prior perceived importance of the issue and the favorability ratings of the celebrity advocate. The findings inform an understanding of the relative impact of celebrity involvement in issue politics on political engagement.

Paper accepted for presentation to the Political Communication Division at the May 2011 annual conference of the International Communication Association, Boston, MA.


Pedagogy in Service Learning and Civic Engagement–Integrating Teaching, Service and Scholarship

Nahid Tootoonchi, Professor, Department of Art + Design, Art History, Art Education

Homeless Poster

We create change in the world by using advertising and graphic design to present important ideas, to raise awareness, and to stimulate thought. The rapidly changing world is creating new demands and uses for advertising and graphic design and new opportunities for what you can do with these powerful, influential forms of communication.

In spring of 2010, our focus in Graphic Design: Social issues course was to address the problem of homelessness in the city of Baltimore. A successful partnership between faculty, students and community partners was the key to engage students in a research, creative work, and a meaningful service
learning experience.

Poster Design by Jonmathew Sweinton


From the Land of Pleasant Living: Translating Themes from Page to Site

Amanda Burnham, Professor, Department of Art + Design, Art History, Art Education

On January 2011, my solo exhibition, “From the Land of Pleasant Living” opened at Chelsea gallery Benrimon Contemporary in New York City, featuring a large site specific installation piece. This work, essentially a three dimensional drawing that you can walk into and experience from within, is representative of a general impulse in my recent work to transpose images and themes from my small works on paper to large interactive works.

Both bodies of work stem from my explorations of cities. I’m interested in the aggregate influence exerted by often competing forces on the built environment and, in particular, the surprising and unusual imprints humans leave on the places we pass through.

College of Fine Arts and Communication
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• COFAC faculty and professional staff members submit your proposal for the next COFAC Colloquium. The deadline is Jan. 22 2010.






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