What is a Sense of Place? This is the question we were asked this fall in our English 11 class at the Academy of Science and Entrepreneurship, this being the 4th consecutive year this project has run.
Early this September, our teacher, Ms. Bahr, kicked off the project by showing us Breaking Away, a movie filmed in 1979 right here in Bloomington. As we watched the movie, we were fascinated and excited as we noticed numerous familiar places and landmarks that many of us had seen before and grown up going to, while being just as captivated by how different our town looked back then. We discussed the differences and similarities we noticed throughout the movie, and what changes Bloomington has undergone throughout the years. We read a Limestone Post article by Sarah Gordon, titled “Are Market Forces Ruining B-town’s ‘Sense of Place’?” (2016), which talked through the rebuilding of the Chocolate Moose and about the outcry it caused with longtime Bloomington residents. The article supplied the idea that the town could very well lose its ‘sense of place’ if it continues to grow and expand by renovation. After reading the article, we moved into the next phase of the project.
“How can you, as a resident of Bloomington, share your ‘sense of place’ in an immersive audio tour?” This was the driving question we were presented with, and each of us got to work on deciding what our sense of place was. For some of us, it was easier than for others, but everyone soon uncovered a place that resonated with them, that they felt comfortable in. We analyzed and compared past students’ audio tours, and then got to work on our own. We gathered images, videos, and audio of our own specific and significant locations, describing them and their significance to us. We gathered all our material together into one video to create short, unique tours that display a little piece of each of our lives and us as individuals. After all our projects were finished, we took a short walking trip to the Chocolate Moose to reflect on the project and get a small taste of Bloomington. This project portrayed different meanings to all of us, but it all connected to show and explore what a sense of place really means. We hope you enjoy exploring our sense of place, and who knows? This may even inspire you to discover your own!
—Aidan Reef, English 11 ASE Student