Thanks! and Meeting Round-Up

Thanks to all who came out for our first meeting to share their wisdom and soak up some pizza.  It was exciting to see people from so many disciplines taking time out on a busy Thursday. Architecture, Education, English, American Culture Comparative Literature, Creative Writing, Screen Arts and Cultures, Anthropology, History, the African Studies Center and the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching  were all well-represented! We were able to go over some of the events that we’re working on for fall/spring 2010/2011, get some useful suggestions for future panels, and do a preliminary workshop sign-up. For those of you who expressed interest in the meeting but had a scheduling  conflict (or just those of you who–like me–tend to quickly forget the things that they hear but don’t read) here’s a quick round-up of some of the events that we’re working on or thinking about:

  • Day-trip to the Grand Rapids ArtPrize on either Fri/Sat 2/3 October: The Grand Rapids ArtPrize is, as its official website says, a “radically open competition”: its artist-participants match online with locations throughout the city that are willing to host work including sculpture, film, installation, performance and 2-D media.  Then, from its opening on September 22 to its closing on October 10, visitors vote on their favorite artists. The winning artist receives $250,000; the runners-up are also generously compensated. In its second year, the competition has been receiving a lot of media attention and shows work by artists from around the world. See the official website for more information.  University vans will leave Ann Arbor in the morning and return in the evening and the trip is free to all University participants. We may be accompanied by an exhibitions expert who can lead a discussion about this brave new curatorial model. We may also need volunteers to drive the University vans, depending on interest in the event.
  • Panel on Visuality in Religious Traditions: Tentatively blocked in for the fall semester.
  • Guest Lecture and Possible Paper Workshop on December 2-3 with Associate Professor Eliza Richards, UNC Chapel-Hill: Eliza Richards is in the English and Comparative Literature Department  at UNC, specializing on 19th-century American poetry, literature and media. She has written about Edgar Allan Poe and the poetesses in his circle, Emily Dickinson and photography, and lyric theory. She is at work on a book-project on Civil War poetry and journalism.
  • Possible event in conjuction with the Institute for Humanities’  exhiition The View From Below: Photography and Innovation on the Lower East Side (curated by VCW’s own Sara Blair!) open from November 12 to mid-December: Dependent on participant interest. See the Frankel site for more information.
  • Event in conjuction with the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit’s exhibit of Edgar Arceneaux’s work (February/March): Tung-Hui Hu’s generous suggestion, with some open possibilities for events, including a trip to the exhibit opening in Detroit and/or lecture in Ann Arbor. Edgar Arceneaux is an LA-based artist whose installations incorporate drawing, sculpture, film, science and music. He is the executive director of the Watts House Project, a collaborative art-project for neighborhood revitalization.  He is the co-author, with Julian Meyers,  of the forthcoming Mirror-Travels in the Motor City, a book about the Detroit riots and earthworks of the 60s. See some of his recent work here.
  • Panel on Pedagogy and Visuality in different disciplines: This was an idea that came out discussion at the meeting. Email vogchris@umich.edu for suggestions or possible panelists.
  • Panel on the Arts and Sustainability issues: My vague dream-panel, with some great suggestions for possibilities from the meeting. A possibility for spring or next fall. Email vogchris@umich.edu with any suggestions.
  • Workshops, Workshops, Workshops: Eight brave souls– both faculty and grad students–have expressed interest in having their work-in-progress discussed by the group. To join this list, or to ask questions, email vogchris@umich.edu. Workshops are usually informal affairs, and we’ve discussed everything from a collection of images to 20 pages of relatively polished writing. Seminar papers, book chapters, article-in-progress, and vague ideas are all welcome. Workshops usually last about an hour and include a lunch. The work to be discussed is pre-circulated among participants.

I think those were the main points, but some possibilities for co-sponsored events have also come up– these will get posted on the site as their dates approach. Thanks again to all who participated, and feel free to add anything I may have missed to the “comments” section, and to email me with any questions/suggestions.

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