With the Academy Awards approaching, UT's Spanish department will put on an Oscars presentation of its own.
This event, entitled "The Cultural Oscars," will be held Wednesday, Dec. 4, at 2 p.m. in the Black Cultural Center.
For the second year in a row, students in intensive 150 and 112 Spanish classes created a semester-long video project that depicts aspects of Spanish culture, and the department will host an awards show where the students' work is judged and graded.
"There are several topics for them to choose from – for example, music, dance, art, food and sports," said Patricia Harriman, a Spanish professor who helps with the event.
The videos are generally around five minutes long, put together by students in groups of three, and uploaded in advance to YouTube or Vimeo so they can be viewed at the event.
The project is worth 10 percent of the students' grade, and since it's a semester long project, professors make the students have certain deadlines throughout the semester so students don't get behind.
At the "Cultural Oscars," students can win prizes if their video places in first, second or third. If a group places first, they win $150, and second and third get monetary awards as well.
The judges are a panel of Spanish professors who judge on a rubric that places heavy influence on creativity as well as a focus on perspective in Spanish culture.
"We really wanted to access culture," said Doll Young, the Spanish language program director who is in charge of the event. "... It's not the only way to access culture, but it's a very creative one for students."
Young said in the past the videos made by the students were so creative that the department had to do it again this year.
"The most rewarding thing is to see what students can do," Young said.
Young said she was happy to see that students went beyond what they learned in the classroom last year for their videos.
A standout video last year compared Spanish art in World War II to art in America during the same time, as it was interesting for both students and professors to learn how perspectives of what can be going on in the world can vary by culture despite that it's all occurring at the same time.
In the previous year, the turnout for the event was so large the organizers didn't have enough chairs for people who showed up.
The event's funding is largely due to Young's generosity, who pays out of her own pocket, according to Harriman.
"I'm really proud of the students more than anything," Young said.
Following the video presentations, there will be a reception for attendees. Admission is free for both students and the public.