Revolutionary Teaching: An Experiment in Art and Learning
Michael A. Betts II
Existing in the space between teaching (communication) and learning (embodiment), this work seeks to impress meaning in each learner’s reality through forms of access that may lead to empathy. Through the imitation of life, interactive methods, and the use of inherently disruptive aspects of the language of the classroom, it engages a user’s inner child-like wonder, encompassing all the senses, and sparking knowledge that goes beyond being right or wrong. Includes “Patria o Muerte: The Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement’s Last Stand” An Interactive Live Documentary of Peru’s Japanese Embassy Hostage Crisis, 1966-1997.
Michael Anthony Betts, II is a native North Carolina Sound Designer who is passionately fascinated by the story of the world around him. His work tends to center around black and brown bodies and their existence in white space. Be it the music of a place, the sounds of a known or new environment, or the tales of another’s tragedy or triumph; Michael wants to hear it, experience it, and recreate it aurally for others the world over. Graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2011 with a BA in Communications focused in media studies and currently completing his MFA in Experimental Documentary Arts at Duke University, Betts has most notably worked as a Sound Designer for many North Carolina regional theater companies and provided exhibition audio for Hidden Voice’s None of the Above and Serving Life: Revisioning Justice. In early 2018, Michael was privileged to work on Howard Craft’s The Miraculous and Mundane. Most recently, Betts’ shot for NPR’s Marketplaces’ Marielle “Pass-through” episode back in January 2019. His design with Sonny Kelly’s The Talk – which debuted to acclaim and sold out audiences; travels soon to the Atlantic Coast Conference and Smithsonian Institute’s’ ACCelerate Creativity and Innovation Festival 2019.
Several of his current projects include bringing back Mike Wiley Productions’ Podcast Parallel Lives for another season, completing the first season of his first solo podcast Missing History, Sound design for Rob Hamilton’s The Misdirection of Henry Walker, A collaboration with death row inmate Michael J. Braxton on an album and audio memoir, producing for Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies Doc/X Lab’s Shortwave Radio, Mix Engineer for San Diego Comicon’s award winning independent film short, Push The Point, and Mix Engineer for Princess Grace award recipient, and Duke MFA|EDA alum, Sarah Riazati’s, Monumental.
As a firm believer in supporting other artists as they develop, Michael has consulted on Sanyin Siang’s LaunchCast (from the Duke’s Fuquay/Coach K Center on Leadership & Ethics), Jamilia Davenport’s The Elements of Blackness (working title), and Warren Perry’s Black Medicine (working title). He was formerly a consultant for Pratt School of Engineering Podcast This Engineering Life before being brought on as it’s Senior Editor.
In Summer of 2019, Betts was awarded a Flaherty Fellowship where the encounter cemented his change in practice from just Sound Design, to experiments in how people engage with learning through experiences. Embarking on a bi-campus endeavor with UNC – Chapel Hill professor Dr. Miguel La Serna surrounding the geopolitical armed conflicts of Latin America, Betts sought to bring the history to life, making it tangible for different learning styles. Betts is also the Co-Owner of Music Juice Studios located in Durham, North Carolina where he resides with his partner, Carmen.
In keeping with Duke University’s COVID-19 plan which includes instituting a series of social distancing practices to protect the health and continuity of the community, the public events, performances, and screenings for the MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts Spring Thesis Exhibition have been postponed to the Fall 2020 semester. Updated information and schedule details will be posted here, and additionally at mfaeda.duke.edu and across MFA|EDA, Duke Arts, and exhibition venue social media platforms.