Julie Elman and Taylor Skelton
Julie Elman explains her process to Taylor Skelton during Friday’s hands-on session. (Photo by Kenney Marlatt)


Julie Elman, associate professor at Ohio University, begins her session by raising a hammer above her head — just one of the many tools she brought to help participants build a time capsule. She then explains how they would fill the blank panels she provided in a way that would describe life as a visual journalist in 2017. Her examples, handcrafted by herself, show a combination of colors, texture and handwritten words detailing her own personal experience.

In Elman’s hands-on session — called “Illustrating hopes, dreams, fears” – participants were instructed to decorate their panels in a way that would tell their story. With supplies that ranged from paint, glitter, string, unique papers, glue and more, participants began illustrating each five-by-seven-inch panel.

Elman says no one knows what is around the corner, and this made her think we need to take a snapshot of where we are today and make it something tangible.

Her idea is that each panel — individually crafted by those in her session today — will be strung together in a quilt-styled display and saved in a time capsule for 25 years. Although she has yet to secure where exactly that time capsule will be, she promises they will be kept safe.

Taylor Skelton panel
Taylor Skelton’s panel representing one step in her process of becoming a visual journalist.


Elman says the strung-together display will be a chronicle of lives as visual journalists. The panels represent the answers to questions like who are you, what do you do and what sorts of problems are you solving now?

Her presentation included a copy of her father’s handwritten journal entry, written just months before he died, and explained the importance of distinguishing days. She emphasized creating tangible documentation, as exemplified in her hands-on session.