Tag Archive for environment

Conference at IUPUI explores transdisciplinary approach to problems with earth’s river systems

rivers image

Since the dawn of civilization, access to freshwater, especially in river environments, has helped determine where human populations have flourished on planet Earth.

Over the past two centuries — an age that many geologists are now calling the Anthropocene — humans have reshaped the planet’s biophysical systems, threatening the availability of freshwater and consequentially the stability of ecologies.

This situation has created one of the most important and complex problems that humans will face in the 21st century, according to an international group of researchers convening in Indianapolis this month to launch a seven-year study of how to mitigate the threat of water insecurity.

The researchers will hold the Rivers of the Anthropocene Conference on Jan. 23 and 24 in the Klipsch Theater, on the lower level of the Campus Center at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis in downtown Indianapolis.

The conference, which brings together 25 scientists, humanists, social scientists, artists, policy makers and community organizers from five countries, is open to the public and is the kickoff event for The Rivers of the Anthropocene Project, a long-range research effort. Leaders say the project will take a transdisciplinary approach to help us better understand the complex dynamics between humans and their river environments. Faculty from IUPUI are partnering with faculty from Newcastle University in the United Kingdom as project leaders. The IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute is organizing the event.

“The majority of the world’s population is threatened by water insecurity and biodiversity loss,” said Jason M. Kelly, IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute director and a Rivers of the Anthropocene Project director. “Even here in Indianapolis, we face potential water shortages in the next decades. We can solve these problems, but the solutions are not simply technological; they are cultural, social and political. They require experts from across the disciplines working hand-in-hand with communities and policy makers.”

By mapping the ecological, geographical, cultural, social, political and scientific histories of river systems, the Rivers of the Anthropocene Project will provide insight on issues of relevance to public policy, environmental conservation and heritage management.

For the January 2014 conference, presenters will offer case studies from around the globe, with particular emphasis on the Ohio and Tyne rivers. Topics for discussion and papers presented at the conference include human geography and river environments; the challenge of Anthropocene rivers; rivers on a human scale; earth systems; and the relationship between human systems and river systems.

Speakers include Bill Werkheiser, acting deputy director of the U.S. Geological Survey; and environmental artist Mary Miss.

Support for the conference comes from Keramida Inc., the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute, Indiana Humanities, IUPUI School of Science, IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, the Center for Earth and Environmental Science at IUPUI, the Center for Urban Ecology at Butler University, the IUPUI Center for Urban Health, Newcastle University, the Newcastle Institute for Research on Sustainability, IU Office of the Vice President for Research, IUPUI Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and IUPUI Office of the Chancellor.

Admission is $45. Registrants may purchase lunch. Discounted parking will be available on the ground level of the adjacent Vermont Street Garage.

Rivers of the Anthropocene Featured in IUPUI Center for Research and Learning Newsletter

Lynette Taylor, Keenan Salla, Anthony Bozzo, Dr. Phil Scarpino, Dr. Jason M. Kelly

CRL Feature: A MURI Team

This month, the CRL would like to feature a Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Research Institute (MURI) team.  We are very excited to have a team led by Dr. Jason M. Kelly, Dr. Phil Scarpino and Dr. Owen Dwyer.  The students are working on “Rivers of the Anthropocene – Stage 1: A Comparative Study of the Ohio River and Tyne River Systems Since 1750” 

The team will create a methodological and conceptual framework that better integrates Earth Systems Science with the human sciences and the humanities.  Secondly, it will provide a model for interdisciplinary and comparative studies of Anthropocene rivers systems.  Students will create:

  • a 3-day academic symposium/workshop
  • open-source data sets of historical GIS data relating to the Ohio and Tyne River Systems
  • an open-access, peer-reviewed edited volume featuring articles, revised from papers given at the symposium
  • a co-written research paper submitted to a major academic science journal

The students participating on this project are: Anthony Bozzo (Anthropology), Jeremy Maxwell (History), Keenan Salla (History), Lynette Taylor (History) and Andrew Townsend (History).  Andrew Townsend said “I joined the MURI team to get experience working in a group doing real world work.  Also, I thought it would look good on my resume for grad school. We are researching the human impact on the Ohio River system and compiling information that will be made available to future researchers investigating human efforts to purposely transform their environment according to culturally dictated plans.”

Lynette Taylor went on to describe the project, “Our overall project is addressing the needs for interdisciplinary communication between humanities and sciences in regard to the human influence on the environment and climate change with a special focus on the riverine systems of the world. The current narrow focus is on a comparison of the River Tyne and the Ohio River as these two rivers are somewhat similar in geographic latitude, weather, and use. This first phase of the project is concerned with creating a searchable metadata database that contains a comprehensive collection of available data on the river watershed foci. This database will be incredibly helpful to people in nearly every discipline from history through geology in providing a one-stop repository of information.”

Jeremy Maxwell stated, “The mentors that I’m working with are great. Dr. Scarpino is experienced and really knows his stuff Dr. Dwyer is really chill and great to work with. Dr. Kelly is a genius. He also wears colorful socks, so he has that going for him.”

First Friday Exhibition at SpaceCamp Gallery (funded, in part, by the IAHI)

Eco-Logic: Artists’ Take on Environmental Changes
SpaceCamp Gallery, 1043 Virginia Avenue, Indianapolis
March 1, 2013
About the Artists

Michele Brody was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1967, she received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College in 1989 and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1994. Utilizing her strong background in the liberal arts, she creates site-specific, mixed media installations and works of public art that are generated by the history, culture, environment, and architecture of a wide range of exhibition spaces. While living and working in such places as France, Costa Rica, California, the Midwest, Germany, and her home of New York, her art career has developed into a process of working in collaboration with each new community as a means towards developing an interpretation of the sense of a place as an outsider looking in. For Eco-Logic, Brody shows the life cycle of palm oil trees in Costa Rica. Palm oil production has been documented as a cause of substantial and often irreversible damage to the natural environment.

Caleb Charland received his MFA in Photography from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL under a Trustees Fellowship. He got his BFA in Photography with Departmental Honors from Massachusetts College of Art. He mixes a language of science and art to create photographs that shock and awe. He states “The way we understand the world relies so much on our ability to measure it. Given that many measurements are based on the proportions of the human body its clear we measure stuff to find our place amongst it all and to connect with it in some way. By exploring the world at hand, from the basement to the backyard, I have found a resonance in things. An energy vibrates in that space between our perceptions of the world and the potential the mind senses for our interventions within the world. This energy is the source of all true art and science, it breeds those beloved “Ah Ha!” moments and it allows us to sense the extraordinary in the common.” For this exhibition, Charland shows photographs of LED lights powered completely by the fruits and vegetables in the images.

Born in a suburb of Washington, DC and raised in the small town of Poolesville, Maryland, Jason Ferguson moved to Baltimore to study art at Towson University and continued his studies at the University of Delaware where he received his MFA. To complete his projects, Jason solicits assistance from professionals working in a diverse range of scientific disciplines. Collaborating with practitioners in various branches of study gives his work a level of authenticity that he cannot provide on his own. The results are large sculptural objects, installations, video works, and photographic documentation that highlight the unique relationship between art, science, and philosophy. He has exhibited his work internationally including group exhibitions in Kolderveen, the Netherlands; Berlin, Germany; Brooklyn, NY; Philadelphia, PA; Baltimore, MD; Kansas City, MO; Alexandria, VA; and Detroit, MI. For Eco-Logic, he is creating a new version of Koe. Koe is a response to the agricultural landscape throughout the Netherlands’ northeastern province of Drenthe. The Netherlands’ landscape is divided into a series of dikes created to defend against the increasing threat of floods due to the regions relation to sea level.

Carsten Schneider and Suzanne Hensel are elusive Berlin based artists who mostly work in theater and with sound. They regularly create work for Berlin public radio and create interesting plays that alter the landscape and your expectations. For this exhibition, they are showing Vogeltrommel (Birdy Drum). For two years, they slowly trained wild birds to be comfortable with them, finally coming inside the studio to eat and raise their young on the musical instruments. The songs in the exhibition are therefore birdsong, but not in the way you’d expect as they are playing human instruments, albeit without their full knowledge. This project talks about small scale human created environmental change.