Against the backdrop of the imminent COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 transcreation project follows a story of communal solidarity and young creative minds rising to the occasion through participatory citizenship. We’re fortunate to have completed all site visits and interviews prior to the course moving online. The initial project plan, however, had to adapt quickly as a software for creating comics was no longer available due to the closure of facilities on campus. Students also lost the opportunity to present their work at the 2020 Diversity Conference, whose cancellation was unforeseen but understandable. Instead of using comics as an exclusive medium, the resultant project showcases students’ abilities to apply translation theories and their hands-on translation experiences gained over the first half of the semester to the final multimedia community-engaged transcreation project. Split into a film team and a graphic design team, they created an advertisement video and a set of posters and placemats, centering on Zoc’s Gourmet Burgers and Shakes on the Chili Business Corridor and Zoc’s work with local teens through the Southwest YMCA in Rochester.
The short video, as Emma Chang, Eva Guo, and Lingling Li wrote in their project proposal, sets out to “transcreate footages from site visits and customer reviews into a video,” highlighting the community orientation of Zoc’s Gourmet restaurant. Intertwined into the storyline are family members’ contributions to the design of the restaurant, Zoc’s support of the teen center programming at the area YMCA, and his other community building ideas. The promo ad celebrates “a welcoming and uplifting mood” with background music composed by a fellow student studying at the Eastman School of Music that the team reached out to. Their goal is twofold: first, to raise awareness of the unique business circle in southwest Rochester for young adults and college students like themselves; second, to promote patronage of Zoc’s burger joint amid the COVID-19 pandemic by ordering remotely.
Joanna Fang, Manasvi Chaturvedi, Rose McDonogh, and Roe Wang of the graphic design team, on the other hand, were especially mindful of striking a balance between text and visuals in their deliverables. Aside from the expected info found in a typical menu poster, for instance, theirs reveals the personal stories behind the unusual names Zoc gave his burgers. Similarly, the placemats are meant to be functional and community-engaging with its comic-like storytelling, bold use of colors and hand-drawing, and culturally sensitive presentation. Taken together, the posters and placemats convey their core message that as a representative local business owner in Southwest Rochester, Zoc demonstrates a great sense of responsibility for the community where he is raised, while his entrepreneurship and work with the teens will lift the community through the pandemic and beyond.