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The Knotted Line

Evan Bissell, Author

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Flipping the Script: Making History with Media

Download: The Knotted Line Curriculum

Project Overview

What follows is a suggestion on how to use The Knotted Line curriculum for an extended research and creative media project. In high school classroom settings this has often taken place as an end of the year project.

The range of materials and media used to create the final works is extremely flexible and based on your time and capacity. In the past, participants have created short audio clips, songs, board games, playing cards, digital collages, books, paintings, videos and more. Many of these forms have come through participants’ interest, not through the decision of the facilitators.   

Foundational Understandings

  • Different understandings are revealed when history is studied chronologically compared to when it is studied by the relationships between events/forces/themes throughout time.
  • Historical narratives are often framed by “the winner” or dominant society, and bury other stories.  Anyone can be a part of creating and uncovering the other stories.

Essential Questions

  • How does the past live in the present?
  • What is the story that you will tell?


  • Participants will develop critical thinking around who tells history.
  • Participants will see themselves as active authors of history.
  • Participants will expand their understanding of the connections between history and the present.

Facilitator Preparation

  1. Familiarize yourself with the workshop sequence.
  2. Collect materials and resources that can support participant choices and ideas for the form of their final projects.


Length of Time:  Four hours per week, four to six weeks
Recommended Age Range: 14-23
Ideal Number of Participants: 15-30

Materials Needed:

  • See materials in each workshop
  • Additional materials based on the form of the final projects


Week 1

Project Introduction & Overview: 
  • In this project we will be asking the question: How does the past live in the present? We will also be asking you to think about the story you want to tell about this, because you will be making media about it.
  • Through research and working with a project called The Knotted Line, you will create media pieces about a topic of your choosing.
  • Show participants The Knotted Line. This is the project that we will be working with. You will also have the opportunity to submit your final pieces to the The Knotted Line in the end. 

Go through the following workshops from this guide:

Week 2
Go through the following workshops from this guide:

Participants should identify a topic of choice by the next session.

Week 3

Go through the following workshops from this guide:

Participants come to this session with a topic of interest already chosen. This topic will be the subject of their further study and to construct the x-y axis in the second half of Exploring the Knotted Line. 

Participants should review the following examples of Flipping the Story participant work and begin thinking about the form and focus of their final project by filling out the Project Pitch below. 

Week 4-6

Project Pitch
  • Participants each present their 30 second “elevator pitch” to the rest of the group
  • A sample script, one sentence each
    * My project is about ________________ (x-moment or theme of interest)
    * It connects __________ (historical y-moment) and ___________ (historical y-moment 2)
    * I will use ______________ (materials/mediums) to create my project.

Continue research as needed
   * Depending on time and style of your classroom/group, this may be better done in class or as homework/independent work.

Create the work! 

Artist statement
   * Participants should create a brief artist statement that: 
      * identifies the transhistorical elements of their project.
      * explains why they chose their medium.
      * describes how the project has impacted them.

Celebration and sharing. This is an important way to make real the claim that the participants are media makers and historical authors. It makes their work accountable to the public as well. 
   * Invite parents, community members, teachers.
      * Art exhibit
      * Performance
      * Publication
      * Submit pieces to The Knotted Line!

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