Blomquist stepping down as dean to pursue passion for water resource management, policy

Bill Blomquist, Dean IUPUI School of Liberal Arts

Bill Blomquist, Dean
IUPUI School of Liberal Arts

Bill Blomquist, dean of the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, has announced he’s stepping down effective summer 2015 to return to regular faculty duties and pursue projects at IUPUI that align with his research interests concerning water resources management and policy.

An internationally recognized expert in water institutions and policies, Blomquist wants to contribute to the research-informed development of state water policy and planning for Indiana. According to a six-month study recently released by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, there is a critical need for a state-driven water plan to identify resources and develop ways to deliver water to underserved areas.

“Bill Blomquist led the School of Liberal Arts through a transformational period –launching its two Ph.D. programs; welcoming the Department of Journalism and Public Relations; facilitating the creation of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy; improving support of part-time faculty; and enhancing the scholarly strength of the school,” IUPUI Chancellor Charles R. Bantz said. “He now has the opportunity to focus his established expertise and leadership to a vital issue for Indiana: water.”

Blomquist earned his Bachelor of Science in economics and Master of Arts in political science from Ohio University and his Ph.D. in political science from Indiana University.

Bantz will soon form a committee charged with conducting a national search for Blomquist’s successor.

Award-winning poets and novelist headline Fall 2014 Reiberg Reading Series

INDIANAPOLIS — The Fall 2014 Rufus & Louise Reiberg Reading Series at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis features poets Marcus Wicker and Marianne Boruch and novelist Randa Jarrar.

The Department of English in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI is the series sponsor. All events, which take place at various locations on the IUPUI campus, are free and open to the public.

MarcusWicker

Marcus Wicker

The series kicks off with poet Marcus Wicker at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 9 in the IUPUI University Library Lilly Auditorium, 755 W. Michigan St. This event is co-sponsored by the O­ffice for Academic Affairs at IUPUI.

D.A. Powell selected Wicker’s poetry collection, “Maybe the Saddest Thing” (Harper Perennial), for the National Poetry Series. Wicker received a 2011 Ruth Lilly Fellowship and his work has appeared in American Poetry Review and many other magazines. Wicker is an assistant professor of English at the University of Southern Indiana.

Wicker served as the final judge for the 2014 IUPUI Poetry Contest. Contest winners and finalists will share their original poems in an awards ceremony preceding the Wicker reading.

MarianneBoruch

Marianne Boruch

Poet Marianne Boruch will read her work at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 30 in the Emerson Hall Anatomy Lecture Hall, 545 Barnhill Drive. This event is co-sponsored by the IU School of Medicine, the Medical Humanities and Health Studies Program in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, and the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute.

Boruch is the author of the recently published poetry collection, “Cadaver, Speak,” along with eight other books of poetry. Her poetry has been anthologized in the 1997 and 2009 editions of “The Best American Poetry.” Boruch, a Fulbright visiting professor at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, in 2012, currently teaches creative writing at Purdue University.

RandaJarrar

Randa Jarrar

Novelist Randa Jarrar will conclude the fall series with a reading at 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 17, at the Herron School of Art & Design Basile Auditorium, 735 W. New York St. This reading is part of the Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here Symposium and is co-sponsored by the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute in collaboration with the IUPUI Library. This event is free but registration is required.

Jarrar is an award-winning novelist, short story writer, essayist, and translator. She grew up in Kuwait and Egypt, and moved to the United States after the first Gulf War. Her novel, “A Map of Home,” was published in half a dozen languages and won a Hopwood Award, an Arab-American Book Award, and was named one of the best novels of 2008 by the Barnes and Noble Review. In 2010 Jarrar was named one of the most gifted writers of Arab origin under the age of 40.

The Rufus & Louise Reiberg Series was founded in 1997 in honor of former IUPUI Department of English chair and Professor Emeritus Rufus Reiberg and his wife, Louise. The series is made possible by the generous support of the Reiberg Family; the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute; the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research; the Office of Academic Affairs; University College; and University Library.

Visitor parking for the readings is available in the North Street Garage, 819 W. North St.; the Vermont Street Garage, 1004 W. Vermont St.; and the Sports Complex Garage, 875 W. New York St.

For additional information, contact Terry Kirts at tkirts@iupui.edu or 317-274-8929 or visit http://liberalarts.iupui.edu/reiberg. Facebook user can “like” the series’ page at The Rufus & Louise Reiberg Reading Series @ IUPUI.

Culp, Snell earn Fulbright awards

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Amanda Snell of the School of Liberal Arts | PHOTO COURTESY OF IU COMMUNICATIONS

Brian Culp will spend time in Montreal and Amanda Snell in Laatzen, Germany this school year. And despite the fact that Culp is a faculty member and Snell a student, both are helping build IUPUI’s growing role as an international campus.

Culp is a kinesiology expert from the School of Physical Education and Tourism Management. Snell is an English major from the School of Liberal Arts, and both are prime examples of the impact of the internationally focused Fulbright Scholar Program of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Culp will work with Fulbright Canada partners to examine programs and policies in hopes of improving health and physical activity among youth and other under-represented populations in Montreal, Quebec.

Snell, meanwhile, will be part of an English Teaching Assistant Program in Germany and will teach English and Spanish classes at a high school in Laatzen.

Culp, who earned an American Fulbright Scholar Award, be a visiting research chair in The Person and Society at Concordia University in Montreal, studying social justice promotion in health and physical activity in Montreal, a “City of Design” as designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential.

“Amanda Snell’s recognition as a Fulbright awardee demonstrates the impact of IUPUI’s commitment to global engagement,” said Nasser Paydar, IUPUI executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer. “Our students increasingly participate in international experiences during their time at IUPUI and are empowered to transform our community and the world after graduating.”

Culp believes he was chosen for his background in several national and international initiatives in addition to assisting with the design of needed programs and policies, and hopes to provide a Hoosier flavor to the international effort.

“Cities in America are becoming more diverse by the day,” Culp added. That creates both opportunities and challenges. “And cities like Montreal already resemble what Indianapolis could look like in 20 years. We would be remiss if we didn’t prepare to meet the needs of our communities from a health, social and economic standpoint.”

Like Culp, Snell’s work in Europe will connect back to her Indiana roots.

She’ll be part of a partnership in which German students learning English will email Indiana high school students studying German. Additionally, she’ll be doing community literacy projects, including working with immigrant adults trying to learn German.

She credited her IUPUI professors for her upcoming role as a Fulbright awardee.

“I am so grateful for my professors in the IUPUI English department, who mentored me inside and outside the classroom by challenging me academically and encouraging me to apply what I am learning in class to impact the community, in my case, through teaching immigrant and refugee language learners,” she said. “These professors have modeled what I strive to provide to my students: high expectations coupled with support and respect for learners.”

Rev. Harold Good to speak on peace in Northern Ireland and Indianapolis roots

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The Rev. Harold Good

INDIANAPOLIS — The Rev. Harold Good, an internationally renowned peacemaker, will be at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis on Sept. 10 to speak about Indianapolis and the road to peace in Northern Ireland.

As former president of the Methodist Church in Ireland, Good played a key role in Northern Ireland’s peacemaking process.

The lecture, at 1 p.m. in the Lilly Auditorium of University Library, is free and open to the public.

“Rev. Good is in a unique position to speak about issues of peace, justice and reconciliation,” said Robert White, chair of the Department of Sociology in the IU School of Liberal Arts. “Along with the late Father Alec Reid, Rev. Good was one of two members of the clergy trusted enough by paramilitaries that he was asked to witness the final decommissioning of weapons of the Provisional Irish Republican Army in 2005.”

A native of Ireland, Good spent several years in Indianapolis as a student and pastor before returning to Ireland in the 1970s.

Good has demonstrated a lifetime commitment to peace, justice and reconciliation. During his time as Methodist Church leader, Good joined Northern Ireland’s other main church leaders to press for peace and engage in talks with U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair. Known for his ministry on the streets of Northern Ireland, Good displayed both physical and spiritual courage in working to reconcile the Protestant and Catholic communities, and urging the end to violent action and reaction.

The lecture is sponsored by the IUPUI Common Theme on Civil Discourse, the Office of International Affairs, the Sociology Department of the IU School of Liberal Arts, IUPUI Honors College, and the Methodist Church of Indiana and Christian Theological Seminary.

Bradbury lecture celebrates master storyteller’s birthday and legacy

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Center for Ray Bradbury Studies Director Jonathan Eller with science fiction and fantasy magazines with Ray Bradbury stories, part of the Bradbury-Albright Collection.

INDIANAPOLIS — Professor Jonathan Eller, director of IUPUI’s Center for Ray Bradbury Studies and Chancellor’s Professor of English, will present the inaugural Bradbury Lecture at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 20.

The lecture, in the West Reading Room of the Indianapolis Central Library, 40 E. St. Clair St., is free and open to the public.

“Ray Bradbury in the Twenty-First Century” draws on the unique and extensive archives of the Bradbury Center, which is home to the iconic author’s papers, his working library, and a lifetime of his awards and mementos. These materials, recent gifts of the Bradbury family and the author’s longtime friend and bibliographer, Donn Albright, are part of the IU School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

“Everybody knows a Ray Bradbury story,” Eller said. “Generations of school children and college students have read his work in hundreds of anthologies and textbooks; teachers and librarians continue to value his stories and his poetic, metaphor-rich style.”

Bradbury’s stories have a unique staying power in American culture.

“He published more than 400 stories,” Eller said. “And he wove them into such modern classics as ‘The Martian Chronicles,’ ‘The Illustrated Man,’ ‘The Golden Apples of the Sun,’ ‘The October Country,’ and two enduring titles that emerged from his Midwestern childhood: ‘Dandelion Wine’ and ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes.’ ‘Fahrenheit 451,’ his classic cautionary tale of censorship and book burning, remains a perennial bestseller more than 60 years after publication.”

Eller’s illustrated presentation will focus on two intriguing questions: How did Ray Bradbury, a child of the Great Depression who never attended college, become one of the best-known American writers of his time? And why does this master storyteller of the 20th century remain a powerful cultural influence today?

The inaugural Bradbury Lecture falls during the author’s birthday week, and Eller plans to schedule subsequent lectures each August as Bradbury’s centennial year — 2020 — rapidly approaches.

Eller said, “He was born in 1920, when the Martian Canals of Percival Lowell and Edgar Rice Burroughs were still high in the American imagination; he passed away in 2012, just as the Curiosity Rover was about to land on Mars, at a site named in Ray Bradbury’s honor.” The center’s holdings include artifacts that have orbited the Earth, and Eller’s lecture will also assess the author’s lasting impact on the American space program.

The timing of the first Bradbury Lecture is especially significant. “Ray Bradbury Unbound,” the second volume of Eller’s three-volume study of Bradbury’s life and career, will be published by the University of Illinois Press in early September. At the same time, Kent State University Press will publish volume two of the Bradbury Center’s “Collected Stories of Ray Bradbury,” a series that recovers the seldom-seen original versions of Bradbury’s earliest published stories.

The Bradbury Lecture also kicks off a campaign to expand the Bradbury Center at IUPUI so that students, researchers and the general public can have better access to the archives and artifacts belonging to one of America’s premier storytellers.

The Bradbury Lecture is presented by the Indianapolis Public Library in conjunction with the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies. Parking for the Indianapolis Central Library is available via Pennsylvania Street in the library garage for a fee.

For more information about the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies, call 317-274-2173 or visit the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies’ website.

Study: “The Bible in American Life”

UntitledThe year 2011 marked the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible. It also marked the beginning of a three-year Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI ) study of the Bible’s place in the everyday lives of Americans.

With a $507,000 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture – a program of the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI – set out to answer questions of how, where, when and why ordinary Americans use the Bible.

According to findings made public online in the 44-page “The Bible in American Life” report, the four-centuries-old King James Version of the Bible is far from dead. Despite its archaic language and a market flooded with newer, more modern English translations, more than half of the individuals and two-fifths of the congregations surveyed still prefer the King James Bible.

And of those surveyed, African Americans reported the highest levels of Bible engagement.

Seventy percent of all blacks said they read the Bible outside of public worship services, compared to 44 percent for whites, 46 percent for Hispanics and 28 percent for all other races.

Bible memorization is highest among black respondents, 69 percent, compared to 51 percent among white conservative Protestants and 31 percent among white moderate/liberal Protestants.

“There are no measures, individually or in congregations, where ‘black’ is not strongly correlated with the most conservative, most active, most involved level of scriptural engagement, no matter which other group comes closest,” the report says.

“If one wanted to predict whether someone had read the Bible, believed it to be the literal or inspired Word of God, and used it to learn about many practical aspects of life, knowing whether or not that person was black is the single best piece of information one could have.”

The report first looks at the practice of scripture reading in the United States, and then explores eight measures among those who read the Bible, such as Bible translation used; scripture memorization habits; favorite passages; and race.

Roughly half of Americans have read religious scripture outside of a public worship service in the past year. For 95 percent of those, the Bible is the scripture they read.

What did the study reveal about Bible readers?

Most of those people read at least monthly, and a substantial number – 9 percent of all Americans – read every day.

Women were more likely to read than men; older people were more likely to read than younger; Southerners were more likely to read than those of any other region.

The percentage of verse memorizers among Bible readers (48 percent) equates to roughly a fourth of the American population as a whole, or nearly 80 million people.

Psalm 23 – which begins “The Lord is my shepherd” – was the most popular Biblical passage.

Younger people, those with higher salaries and, most dramatically, those with more education among the respondents read the Bible on the internet or an e-device at higher rates.

The written report, based on survey questions on both the General Social Survey (1,551 individuals) and the National Congregations Study III (denominations represented among the General Social Survey respondents), is the first stage of the study and offers sociological data about the role of the Bible.

“Historians and sociologists have been working for years to understand how religion is lived out on a daily level,” said Philip Goff, executive director of the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture and one of the three principal investigators who led the study. “This gives us a good snapshot of the practice of Bible reading. That should also help ministers understand the people in their pews.”

Goff’s co-investigators are Arthur Farnsley, associate director of the center; and Peter Thuesen, chair of the Department of Religious Studies at IUPUI.

full article found here

Students to Dive in For Better English

UntitledINDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Thirty-five undergraduate students from two Japanese institutions are coming to Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis this summer to improve their English-language skills while learning more about U.S. culture.

The students will immerse themselves in English-only classes and extracurricular activities offered and organized by the International Center for Intercultural Communication, part of the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. And when each school day ends, they will go “home” to the English-speaking Hoosier families serving as their summer hosts.

Twenty-two Tsuda College students will arrive Saturday to participate in what is now known as the annual Women in Leadership Intensive Summer English Program. Two weeks after the Tsuda students finish Aug. 22, the center will host 13 students from Hakuoh University, a co-ed institution.
The Hakuoh Intensive Summer English Program runs Sept. 3 to 15.

For students of Tsuda College — started 100 years ago as Japan’s first college for women — their three-week intensive English-language immersion course is the latest chapter in a 20-year tradition that IUPUI will mark with a special celebration Aug. 21.

“It’s really been magnificent,” International Center for Intercultural Communication director and Chancellor’s Professor of English Ulla M. Connor said of the program that started after a chance encounter between Connor and Tsuda English professor Mary Althaus, now vice president of the Japanese college.

Twenty years ago, when Althaus suggested the ICIC-Tsuda partnership, most Japanese schools focused on exchange programs with universities either in California or on the East Coast. IUPUI is one of only three exchange programs for Tsuda students, and the only U.S. university that offers them a summer intensive English program, Connor said. About 25 students have attended the IUPUI program each year, and the school has never had difficulty recruiting students to attend.

At the request of the Japanese college, women in leadership has been the program’s focus in the past five or so years, Connor said. The Tsuda students use a mainstream book on female leaders, selected readings and academic activities specifically chosen for their inclusion of content on distinguished female leaders and their focus on developing communication skills for women in leadership roles. The class also includes guest lectures by prominent local women such as retired Eli Lilly and Co. human resources professional Joann Ingulli-Fattic and Girls Inc. director of research Catherine Cushinberry.

Althaus and members of the Japan-America Society of Indiana are scheduled to attend the Tsuda anniversary celebration. IUPUI administrators scheduled to attend include Chancellor Charles R. Bantz, School of Liberal Arts Dean Bill Blomquist and IU Associate Vice President of International Affairs Gil Latz.

This summer will mark the sixth year for the International Center for Intercultural Communication’s program for Hakuoh University. This year’s edition revolves around five U.S. culture themes that college students can relate to, such as sports and city life in the U.S. The ICIC-Hakuoh program has been the more traditional two-way exchange program.

“For students who have an interest in Japanese, studying abroad is an invaluable experience,” said Laura Woods, an IUPUI student who spent a year at Hakuoh, earning enough credits for an individualized major in Japanese. “I recommend Hakuoh University as a good place to experience Japanese college life.

“During the year that I studied at Hakuoh University, I was able to significantly improve in my Japanese language ability; and because the classes are conducted completely in Japanese, I was able to learn more quickly than I could in America,” said Woods, who is featured in a promotional spotlight on the Hakuoh University website.

Davis continues ‘telling stories’ in new novel with a twist to an old theme

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INDIANAPOLIS — Thomas J. Davis’ third and latest novel brings something new to the age-old tale of a man selling his soul to the devil.

In The Devil Likes to Sing (Cascade Books), Davis, professor of religious studies and associate dean for academic programs in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, tells the story of Timothy McFarland, a failed theology student who begins writing fiction. Feeling he’s a hack, McFarland strikes a deal with Lucifer, who offers to shape him into a success.

“The book is a look at self-identity,” Davis said. “How we think of ourselves, who we are, whether or not we accept ourselves. Within all of us we have these self-doubts, thinking there is a way to change who we are that will make us more acceptable to others.”

Struggling with self-identity and self-doubt often opens protagonists up to searching for change.

“That’s where the notion of temptation comes in—at what price is one willing to make changes . . .” Davis said. “Once you hit the notion of temptation—especially for me, because I’ve spent my scholarly life studying the history of Christianity—the devil becomes an interesting tool by which to explore temptation because the devil as an image has the benefit of representing both an external force as well as something deeper, an internal struggle.”

Bringing something new to the age-old concept of the deal with the devil story was the author’s challenge. How could his devil differ from interpretations such as Milton’s Paradise Lost, the German myth of Faust, contemporary portrayals such as Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, and even Saturday Night Live?

Davis’ solution is a devil who can be funny, witty and enjoy sublime Anglican church music as well as American rock and roll.

“The character needed balance—a balance of lightheartedness and darkness, gravitas and humor, familiarity and distance, friendship and contempt,” Davis said. “That was the hardest thing to maintain while writing the devil. He had to appear almost friendly, almost helpful, almost fun while currents of evil still ran beneath him. That had to leak out around the edges, but not too much.”

The Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis professor wanted to be a storyteller long before his first foray into fiction, but he focused instead on his education and academic career. The professor’s jump into novel writing was eventually triggered by boyhood memories of stories told by his father.

“My father was grieving about the disappearance of a way of life in the north Georgia mountains that he had known as a boy,” Davis says. “He would tell stories about when he was a kid, and I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to capture my father’s sense of wonder in a novel and write about north Georgia through his perspective.’”

That exercise grew into his first novel, The Christmas Quilt (Rutledge Hill Press), a story about a 12-year-old boy and his grandmother’s final months of life. The book earned a Reader’s Choice award and was a selection in the Doubleday Book Club. “That book came from my need to pay homage to my ancestry,” Davis said.

Storytelling also plays a role in his classroom. “Much of what I teach is the history of Christianity, and it tends to be very narrative driven—I tell a lot of stories in class,” Davis said. “I’ve noticed that students tend to be drawn in with a good story.”

In Davis’ new novel, the devil also takes the storytelling approach, only he twists religious history to suit his needs. Davis warns that the epigraphs that open the book—selections from Milton, Blake, and the New Testament on the nature of the devil—are important for the reader. The book also ends with a warning that readers shouldn’t take the devil’s word on matters of Christian faith and practices at face value.

“He is, after all, somewhat biased,” Davis said.

IUPUI to significantly bolster its journalism/public relations program

Indianapolis bachelor’s/master’s program moves from Bloomington-based School of Journalism management to IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI

SLA at IUPUI logoINDIANAPOLIS — Graduate and undergraduate journalism and public relations students at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis will have access to an array of new resources beginning July 1, when the long-established Indianapolis location of the IU School of Journalism shifts management from IU Bloomington to the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. The program will be known as the IU Department of Journalism and Public Relations at IUPUI.

The move comes as the IU School of Journalism at Bloomington merges on July 1 with the Department of telecommunications and Department of Communication and Culture to form The Media School.

With the transition to local oversight, the IUPUI journalism department will now offer students and faculty additional resources in academic and career advising, curriculum development, research funding, alumni engagement, philanthropic support and more.

School officials also envision partnerships with other departments and schools on campus — such as telecommunications, informatics, event management, medicine and athletics — to further enhance journalism and public relations programs focusing on sports and health/life sciences, and to give students the versatility needed in a rapidly changing profession.

“We’re honored to have our roots in the 100-year-old IU School of Journalism,” said Jonas Bjork, who will become the first chair of the new department. “But as one of IUPUI’s smallest schools, we didn’t have the depth of resources we needed to take our program to the next level. This move — reinforced by unanimous support from our faculty and staff — will help us achieve that.”

Bill Blomquist, dean of the School of Liberal Arts, said the merger is tailor-made for an urban-serving institution in a capital city ripe with professional opportunities.

“The skills and thinking we teach in journalism and public relations –– the ability to search out and explain information — are much in demand among all kinds of employers,” Blomquist said. “Developing those professional skills, along with the versatility instilled by liberal learning, will help prepare our graduates not only for their first jobs but also for the careers that follow.

“What’s more, in this city full of sports, health, life science, government and other communication opportunities, our classroom learning is supplemented and complemented by real-world learning — internships, service projects, guest speakers and more — that you can’t match anywhere else in this state and in few places around the nation.”

Bjork said the name change — to include public relations — is a decision based on the changing nature of the profession and the marketplace.

“While journalists and public relations professionals are, in many places, treated as adversaries, many of the theories and practices we teach journalists and public relations professionals are, in fact, complementary,” Bjork said. “Often, the two groups of professionals must work together, so it helps that we teach them together here at IUPUI with faculty members who bring real-world experience to the table.”

The new Department of Journalism and Public Relations will offer bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees and certificates in journalism and public relations with specializations available in sports journalism, health/life science public relations, advertising and other areas.

IUPUI liberal arts student curates photography exhibit that bridges physical, virtual spaces

389465_w296INDIANAPOLIS — A new photography exhibit curated by Aaron Pierce, a graduate student in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, brings together photographers from around the world in both a physical gallery space and a virtual space via Instagram and blogs.

Social Photography: Art in Progress” runs through June 27 at Indy Indie Artist Colony & Gallery, 26 E. 14th St. During the exhibit, photographers will share an Instagram account. The pictures they post will be projected onto the gallery’s walls, thus creating a worldwide, ever-changing art exhibit.

The exhibit seeks to create a dialog about the nature of photography in frequently changing social media environments.

Pierce, who also holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the School of Liberal Arts, is finishing a master’s degree in geographic information science at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. He describes the exhibit as a social experiment that is interactive and engages with the audience.

“We will be hosting a ‘Topic of the Day’ blog at our website where we will bring up topics that fit within the gallery themes, but each photographer’s photographic post will work as an individual pillar of conversation to build off of and connect with other topics, themes and ideas,” he said. “This will be a very fluid and active discussion; it could easily take us for completely unexpected spins.

“We are engrossed into virtual lives now, and this physical gallery serves as the place where we will get experimental with our space,” Pierce said. “We will be hosting artist talks through Google Hangouts from this location as well as interacting with both virtual and physical works hosted in the gallery.”

Pierce, a Carmel resident, said his interest in photography reaches back to childhood. He has also been able to incorporate photography into his academic work during study-abroad trips to Cuba and Morocco.

Pierce has also used social media platforms to showcase his photography, and he organized an IUPUI campus event where students could talk with Lauren Bohn, a journalist based in Cairo during the Arab Spring, via Skype. Bohn is among the photographers participating in the exhibit.

Other artists participating in the exhibit, some with ties to Herron School of Art and Design, include Milli Apelgren, Nabil Attia, Denise Conrady, Kevin Scott Davis, Juan Jerez, Amina Khazie, Sam Ladwig, Zun Lee, and Scott Witt.

“I saw this gallery exhibit as a way to not just show my work, but as an opportunity to use the space for a bigger role in exploring and discussing social media with photography through a collective of artists and an audience that is encouraged to engage with the exhibit,” Pierce said.

Social Photography: Art in Progress” can also be viewed on Instagram at @socphotogallery and followed via the #socphotogallery hashtag. Photo prints are available for purchase.