The first speech assignment, the cultural artifact speech, is what I like to sum
The first speech assignment, the cultural artifact speech, is what I like to sum up in a nutshell as the “college-level show and tell” presentation. Cultural artifact speeches give students the opportunity to share their personal backgrounds and interests with their peers. As all artifacts have symbolic meaning, they provide a more thorough insight into a culture that the audience may not have realized before. Upon completion of the cultural artifact presentations, students will understand the cultural diversity that exists within the classroom. They will also learn to create the foundations of developing and delivering a good speech.
A culture contains values, social activities, dress, religion, jargon, traditions, food, and music. It is not restricted to just ethnicity and race. Examples of cultural artifacts that have extended beyond ethnicity and race include a cosplay outfit to represent anime culture, ballerina slippers representing ballet culture, and a joystick to represent video game culture. Some artifacts have been as ornate as a floral Dia de los Muertos shrine while others have been as simple as a tortilla or chancla sandal.
In the body of the speech, the first main point will reveal the function of the artifact (what it does, how it works, the purpose(s) it serves) and what the artifact represents to the culture. The second main point explains why the speaker identifies with the culture. Students need to choose an artifact that contains both cultural and personal significance, is easily available and can be brought to class. Showing a photo or online video of the chosen artifact is not allowed. Students are encouraged to demonstrate the use of the artifact if necessary, but are advised that the demonstration must fit into the timeframe of the presentation.
Because students will be presenting an item they have a personal connection to, they will already have a certain amount of knowledge about the artifact. Thus, research about the artifact is not required. If a student believes some research will help the presentation, he/she is welcome to look into library resources or reliable online sources for more information, which if used in the speech, must be cited as according to APA guidelines. I am available for any questions regarding citing sources.
The required length of the cultural artifact speech is 4 to 6 minutes. One point will be deducted for every ten seconds the speech is over or under time.
The day the cultural artifact outline is due, bring a typed, full-sentence draft outline of the speech to class.
The day of your presentation, bring the following materials to class.
• A typed, full-sentence final outline of the speech. If references were used, include an APA list of references at the end of the draft.
• One 3” x 5” note card with a key word outline of the speech.
• The cultural artifact
Cultural Artifact Speech Template
I. Introduction (time approximation 30 seconds – 1 minute)
A. Attention Getter
B. Revealed Object
C. Thesis statement
D. Preview of main points
II. Body (time approximation 3 – 4 minutes)
Main Point 1 (cultural artifact represents):
Sub Point A.
Sub Point B.
Main Point 2 (why I identify with the culture):
Sub Point A.
Sub Point B.
III Conclusion (time approximation 30 seconds – 1 minute)
A. Review Thesis
B. Review main points
C. Closing statement
What should you avoid when choosing an artifact for your cultural artifact speech?
As it says in the instructions, please choose an item that represents a culture you belong to. It must be a physical, tangible item that you can hold in your hands or have it displayed next to you.
The following items are not deemed as artifacts, and are not allowed for the speech. I reserve the right to not give credit to speeches that use the following as artifacts.
Cultural events: the cultural artifact needs to be an item that’s physically present during the speech. An event like a parade, festival, or any type of group event obviously can’t be physically present, so they do not count as artifacts.
Photos or videos: photographs and videos may show visuals of cultural artifacts, but are not actual artifacts.
Movies, TV programs, books: these items may portray a culture or highlight a culture’s unique traditions, but they are not tangible items. They also often turn the presentation into a “fan” speech that only focuses on the plot, which is not what we want from the presentation.
Songs: You can’t hold a song in your hands. Songs can also turn into a “fan” speech that glorifies the musician, and does not address the objectives of the assignment.
Family heirlooms: cultural scholars do recognize family units as having their own unique culture, but it does not apply to this assignment. Pick an artifact that represents your ethnic, national, work, sport, music, or hobby culture isntead.
Famous people: A common question I’ve been asked this year: “Can I pick Kobe Bryant as my artifact for my cultural artifact speech? He represents basketball culture.” Um, you’re going to present Kobe in your speech? You can go to jail for that. Famous people, as iconic as some may be, are not artifacts, period.
iPods/iPads, laptops, smartphones: these are cop-out items that are used across many cultures. Unless you work for Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, or Google, you can pick something better.
Sports jerseys: This one is tricky. I actually do allow this artifact for whichever sports culture it’s representing. However, I don’t want a Lakers jersey or turn into a “fan” loveletter speech to LeBron James or Kobe Bryant. Nor would it be appreciated if a speech about a Dodgers jersey (for baseball culture) suddenly became an homage or Clayton Kershaw. If you select a jersey for your cultural artifact, I want to know what its colors mean, why a player’s name and number is on it, when is it appropriate to wear? I don’t want to hear a speech about a player.
Hopefully this advisement helps you in selecting your cultural artifact. Please know that you can always email me with potential ideas that you’re brainstorming, and I can help you with the process of elimination. Don’t, however, email me with the question, “I don’t know what to choose for my cultural artifact speech–what should I do?” I don’t know you that well and I can’t feed you ideas. Please give me something to work with so that I can provide the help you need.
example:Cultural Artifact Speech
By Irena Krivenko
A. Attention Getter: New Year’s Eve is one of the main celebrations in Russia.
Every household has four traditional things to celebrate the biggest night:
numerous bottles of champagne, fresh tangerines, Olivier salad, and caviar.
B. Revealed Object: Russian caviar is one of the most common and important
snacks served during the New Year’s Eve celebration.
C. Thesis Statement: Learning about the significance of caviar will give you a
deeper understanding of Russian culture.
D. Preview of main points: First I want to talk about the significance of caviar and
what it represents to the Russian culture. Second, I will explain why I identify
with the culture.
Main Point 1: In Russia, big part of traditional New Year’s Eve celebration is an
abundant table covered with appetizing dishes. It symbolizes celebration and festivity
of New Year’s Eve.
Sub Point A: The significance of caviar. Caviar has become a staple in Russian
households since the Soviet era. There are different ways to serve caviar during the
New Year’s Eve celebration. It could be used as a topping on thin slices of bread, or it
could be served as a separate dish. If it is served as a separate dish, it’s usually placed
in a small silver or porcelain bowl and chilled on ice. To some families it could
represent wealth and luck. While growing up in Russia, I remember my mother
always made sure there is red salmon or sturgeon caviar on our table to celebrate the
New Year. To this day I remember my mother thinly slicing a baguette, spreading
some butter, topping each slice with fresh salmon caviar, and adding a tiny slice of
lemon and parsley on top as a garnish. The taste of caviar always symbolized the
beginning of New Year.
Sub Point B: Why caviar represents culture of Russian New Year’s Eve
celebration. Numerous people asked me why caviar is such an important tradition of
New Year’s Eve fete in Russia. If you watch some of the most popular Soviet
comedies showing New Year’s festivities or read cooking books from those times,
one dish is always central on the celebratory table. It is red salmon caviar served in
porcelain dishes. While growing up in Russia, every New Year’s Eve in our
household was marked with dishes of this fresh, crisp delicacy. The taste of caviar is
unforgettable as well: tiny, salty bubbles with buttery texture slowly melt in your
mouth. Caviar’s taste always reminds me of New Year’s Eve celebration in our
Transition: Now that I have talked about the significance of caviar in Russian
culture, I will explain how I identify with this culture.Main Point 2: Even though I currently live in the United States, I was born and
raised in Russia. I was very fortunate to have been brought up in one of the most
unique and interesting cultures. My parents taught me numerous Russian traditions
which I plan to pass on to my children.
Sub Point A: My background in Russian Culture. While growing up in Russia,
many celebrations and traditions were sacred and passed from generation to
generation. My mother used to tell me stories when she was a little girl growing up in
Soviet Union. The New Year’s Eve celebration was always filled with festivities, and
included a large table filled with Russian traditional dishes. One of them was always
red salmon caviar. It was not always easy finding caviar at the grocery stores during
Soviet times. When people had it on their tables, it was considered a delicacy and a
sign of wealth. My grandmother taught my mom how to prepare and serve caviar for
the celebration of New Year’s Eve. She had a special porcelain saucer for caviar. My
mother passed that saucer to me, and I use it every New Year’s Eve to serve caviar in
Sub Point B: How I have used caviar. While living in the United States, I learned
and got accustomed to new holidays and traditions. However, my childhood in Russia
will always be very special to me. Ever since I came to America, I kept most of my
family traditions and celebrations alive. Every New Year’s Eve celebration, I ensure
that I have some of the most important things on our table: champagne, fresh
tangerines, and a bowl of crisp caviar. Every year, I drive to the Russian grocery store
in Los Angeles to get some authentic salmon caviar. A few hours before our family’s
New Year festivities begin, I slice the baguette, spread creamy butter and top it with
Russian caviar. I also use my grandmother’s saucer to serve fresh caviar on our table.
It always reminds me of my childhood and how we celebrated New Year’s Eve back
A. Review Thesis: Today you learned the importance of caviar in Russian culture.
B. Review Main Points: First I told you a little about the significance of caviar and
what it represents in Russian culture. Second, I told you about how I identify with
C. Closer: Although I currently live in the United States, Russian culture and
customs will always be sacred for me. I always incorporate my family’s traditions
into my life in America. New Year’s Eve celebration is one of the most important
holidays in my family, and having authentic Russian caviar on our table always
makes the celebration more joyful.