Faculty conversations: John Monberg
"At MSU I get to work with colleagues, graduate students and undergraduates with all kinds of interests that allows me to put together really exciting projects in a way that would be impossible at other places," said John Monberg, assistant professor in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric and American Cultures.
Monberg, who has been at MSU for five years, said his research mostly focuses on the way new media reshapes society. That's why one of his favorite classes to teach is called "Media Mobility."
"There we look at the arts and culture, and the political, and social and economic implications of art cultures in cities across the world: Berlin, Sydney, Manila, Buenos Aires and then we compare the arts and culture in greater Lansing," Monberg said.
In addition to teaching, Monberg also has been a large contributor to the recently completed project called "The Ave." The project consists of eight multimedia stories that help shed a positive light on businesses in the city of Lansing, specifically along Michigan Avenue. A placard, which designates that a business is featured, allows smartphone users to watch the stories on their phones by taking a picture of the placard's QR code. Those without smartphones can still listen to each story by dialing the individual phone number on each placard.
Monberg said his involvement began four years ago with a similar project called "Our Michigan Avenue," which was the foundation for what eventually became "The Ave."
"It has been a very rich collaboration where lots of different people with lots of different skills fit together and create a resource that should be important to people," he said.
Monberg said projects like this help to create an identity for Lansing, a city he believes is struggling to find a clear vision for itself.
"This is one step in creating an identity for Lansing, so that when people are on Michigan Avenue they will have a sense of the history and other people in the community," he said. "They will recognize what makes Lansing distinctive, and they will look for ways to build on the culture of Lansing."