The Writing Project

April 1st, 2000 - December 31st, 2001 | PROJECT

Ways of Knowing, Inc. is developing "The Writing Project," two one-hour television documentary programs about the science (the archeology and written history, anthropology, and cognitive science) of writing systems and, at the same time, about "creative writing," from cuneiform tablets to e:mail. The programs will show how writing is a different thing from speech, and how it did not evolve, like speech, but had to be invented. The goal of the project is to inform a wide, general audience about the most important technological invention since the beginning of civilization, to introduce them to the science of writing systems (grammatology), and to create an original "Introduction to Writing" for colleges and high schools. During this planning phase, the staff will conduct the research needed to bring order and focus to the topic and develop a treatment for presenting the topic in the two films. The PI and his colleagues would draw upon the wisdom of numerous experts in the field of science of writing including three world renowned scholars: William Bright, University of Colorado, Professor Emeritus, UCLA, and editor of "Written Language and Literacy;" Peter Daniels, author, scholar, lecturer on grammatology, and editor of "The World's Writing Systems;" and Victor Mair, Professor of Chinese at U-Penn. On the literary side, writers to be interviewed in the planning phase include Kurt Vonnegut, Elmore Leonard, and Helen Vendler. Specific costs involved in the nine-month planning phase include travel; producer, writer, and researcher fees; fees to consultants; and mini conferences of experts.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Team Members

Gene Searchinger, Principal Investigator, Ways of Knowing, Inc.


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: ISE/AISL
Award Number: 9910843
Funding Amount: 53186


Audience: Adults | General Public | Museum | ISE Professionals | Youth | Teen (up to 17)
Discipline: History | policy | law | Social science and psychology | Technology
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Broadcast Media | Higher Education Programs | Informal | Formal Connections | K-12 Programs | Media and Technology