IAHI OfficesEstablished in 2012, the IUPUI Arts & Humanities Institute (IAHI) supports research and creative activity across the Indianapolis University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) campus; serves as a campus liaison to the central Indiana community; and fosters ongoing partnerships and ventures that advance arts and humanities endeavors at IUPUI and in Indianapolis.

The IAHI showcases and promotes the major intellectual and scholarly contributions that IUPUI faculty members from across the disciplines are making in the arts and humanities, serving individual faculty members, groups, and interdisciplinary teams through grant programs, workshops, symposia, and research collaborations.

As an urban-based institute, the IAHI works closely with the Indianapolis community, connecting local institutions and residents with IUPUI. Working with Indianapolis’ diverse publics to create engaging new programming and forums for dialogue, creativity, and experiment, the IAHI also facilitates experiential and service learning opportunities for faculty-led student teams in academic programs across campus.

The IAHI seeks to become a national model for an urban-based arts and humanities institute that is both a leader in academic research and creative activity and an active participant in its community.

The IAHI is a collaboration between the IUPUI Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, the School of Liberal Arts, the Herron School of Art and Design, the IUPUI Library, the School of Informatics and Computing, the School of Engineering and Technology, the School of Science, and the School of Medicine.

IAHI Launches “An Anthropocene Primer”

The IUPUI Arts & Humanities Institute and the Rivers of the Anthropocene project is proud to announce the official launch of An Anthropocene Primer, Version 1.0 on October 23, 2017. An Anthropocene Primer is an innovative open access, open peer review publication that guides learners through the complex concepts and debates related to the Anthropocene, including climate change, pollution, and environmental justice.

This born-digital publication ( is a critical and timely resource for learners across multiple fields from academia, to industry, to philanthropy to learn about issues and topics relating to the Anthropocene, a framework for understanding environmental change that highlights human impact on earth systems.

An Anthropocene Primer was created to provide learners in museums, schools, non-profits, and formal research institutions with an entry point into some of the big concepts and debates that dominate discussions about the Anthropocene. The primer is not intended to be comprehensive (this is, after all, An Anthropocene Primer, not The Anthropocene Primer), nor is it intended to be didactic. The primer is a framework to guide individual and collaborative learning from the beginner to advanced levels.

Version 1.0 of An Anthropocene Primer is available for open peer review from October 23, 2017 through February 1, 2018. Open peer review allows users to contribute to and engage with fellow readers and the authors as the editors develop it for a final print and open access ebook version. A video tutorial on how to participate in open peer review is available at

Edited by Jason M. Kelly and Fiona P. McDonald, An Anthropocene Primer emerged from the “Anthropology of the Anthropocene” workshop ( by the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute in May 2017. The participants from this workshop make up list of authors: Jason M. Kelly (IUPUI, USA), Fiona P. McDonald (IUPUI, USA), Alejandro Camargo (University of Montreal, Canada), Amelia Moore (University of Rhode Island, USA), Mark Kesling (The daVinci Pursuit, USA), Ananya Ghoshal (Forum on Contemporary Theory, India), George Marcus (University of California, Irvine, USA), Paul Stoller (West Chester University, USA), Dominic Boyer (Rice University, USA), Serenella Iovino (University of Turin, Italy), Rebecca Ballestra (Artist, Monaco/Italy), Eduardo S. Brondizio (IU, Bloomington), Jim Enote (A:shiwiw A:wan Museum and Heritage Center, Zuni, USA), Ignatius Gutsa (University of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe), Cymene Howe (Rice University, USA), Sue Jackson (Griffith University, Australia), Phil Scarpino (IUPUI, USA). This workshop was funded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation and the IU New Frontiers in the Arts and Humanities grant program.

Cultural Ecologies Project

The Cultural Ecologies Project is a public research program of the IUPUI Arts & Humanities Institute (IAHI). It asks the seemingly simple question, “How do cultural interventions transform cities?” We work with community stakeholders to examine the impact of the arts and humanities across multiple scales — from the personal to the neighborhood to the city level. Our goal is to provide artists, cultural organizations, funders, policy makers, and others with:

  1. A central research center that can offer expertise in cultural planning, assessment, evaluation, and reporting.
  2. A suite of open access tools to help individuals and organizations continuously assess their cultural programming.
  3. Reports that contextualize Indianapolis’ arts and humanities environment within national and international conversations and practices.
  4. A model for cultural analysis and planning that can be replicated and scaled to meet the needs of other cities.
  5. An applied PhD program that supports the community by embedding students in cultural organizations and prepares them for jobs in the cultural sector.

Rivers of the Anthropocene

Rivers of the Anthropocene is an international, transdisciplinary research network of humanists, scientists, artists, social scientists, policy makers, and community organizers who focus on global freshwater in the Anthropocene.

80% of the world’s population is under the imminent threat of water insecurity and biodiversity loss. These stresses on the environment threaten nearly every person on the planet and have the potential to lead to catastrophic disease, hunger, and warfare.

This problem is one of the most pressing challenges of this century, and it cannot be solved by creative technological or policy solutions alone. It requires a multidisciplinary approach and set of solutions premised on an understanding of the complex historical and cultural dynamics between human societies and their environments.

Humans’ relationships with their environments — particularly freshwater environments, such as rivers — are rarely simple. Rivers, for example, often serve as resources upon which humans impose conflicting demands. Most obviously, rivers have served as both sources of clean water and as sinks for domestic and industrial waste. Often, the consequences of human use is unintended and unanticipated, and, importantly, these consequences emerge from multi-local activities which have complex roots in disparate political, economic, social, and cultural systems and practices.

Over the past 250 years, the impact of humans on river ecologies has been profound. Population growth, fossil fuels, global commerce, and industrial chemical processes have combined to amplify and accelerate the environmental consequences of human development. Human migrations have been accompanied by the decline of native species and the introduction of exotics. Agricultural runoff and factory emissions have transformed river ecologies far away from the point of pollution. And, a combination of dredging, building levees and locks, and wetlands development, have altered habitats and stressed ecosystems.

Rivers of the Anthropocene seeks to bring together scientists, humanists, social scientists, artists, policy makers, and community organizers to begin a new type of discussion about humans and their river environments — one in which specialists can speak across disciplinary and professional boundaries; one in which which the methods and scholarship of each field informs the others. The Rivers of the Anthropocene Research Network recognizes that only by bringing together our areas of expertise — by bridging the humanities, human sciences, earth sciences — are we likely to discover sustainable solutions to the complex environmental problems that we face in the 21st century.

Museum of the Anthropocene

The Museum of the Anthropocene is a globally networked museum made up of interactive exhibitions that utilize urban topographies to demonstrate scientific concepts and the consequences of human activity.

The concept of the Anthropocene—that humans are now among the major global forces transforming the earth’s biophysical systems—was first popularized by Nobel Prize recipient Paul Crutzen in the early 2000’s. It has increasingly become a framework through which scientists, social scientists, humanists, artists, and policy makers alike understand our contemporary environment. And, with coverage in the Smithsonian, Scientific American, National Geographic and other mainstream magazines, it’s an idea that’s rapidly entering the public consciousness. While the date when humanity entered the Anthropocene is still a matter of debate, there is little doubt that the period between 1800 and the present has been crucial in forging the conditions of the Anthropocene. This is the period in which industrialization, urbanization, and capitalism reshaped humanity’s relationship to the environment, sparking a massive influx of C, P, and N into ecological systems; climate change; rising sea levels; destruction of biodiversity, and more.

MoA uses the landscape of Indianapolis as an exhibit space to elucidate the history of the Anthropocene as well as the environmental processes that have been reshaped by anthropogenic action. Indianapolis was founded in the early 19th century and grew into a major Midwest industrial, commercial, and transportation hub. Consequently, its landscape suffered from the largely unintended and unanticipated consequences of the city’s development, e.g., shifting land use patterns, point and nonpoint pollution, siltation, habitat loss, and decline of native species. By the last third of the 20th century, due to an expansion of scientific knowledge, the shift to postindustrial economies, and a growing environmental movement based on popularized ecology, Indianapolis’s inhabitants began to imagine the urban environment differently. Attitudes and expectations shifted, resulting in new ecosystems, cultural perceptions, ecological priorities, and policies. As such, Indianapolis is a microcosm of the Anthropocene — revealing the complex interplay of biophysical and human systems.

MoA will be composed of a network of interactive sites, which will be held together through a schema that focuses on both historical and scientific knowledge. The sites will pay particular attention toproviding large scale interpretations that allow visitors to situate themselves within social, environmental, political, and cultural processes as well as to giving voice to diverse contemporary and historical experiences through the integration of oral histories. Each site will consist of an analogue interpretive mechanism (e.g. signs, images, etc.) as well as a digital mechanism that allows visitors to use their mobile phones to play recordings that help them experience the site. The museum will be connected to a digital infrastructure consisting of interactive maps and other activities.

The first MoA exhibition will be implemented with the Memory, Place and Community in Global Water Systems Working Group, one of twelve working groups of the Sustainable Water Future Programme of Future Earth.