‘Hash It Out’ Podcast Explores & Debates Social Issues

Social Justice Education scholars Judith Atibil, left, and C. Elizabeth Duff, right. Photo by Tim Brouk, IU Communications.

IUPUI’s newest podcast tackles serious social issues while showcasing its hosts’ passion for debating topics like reproductive rights, incarceration, and abortion.

Read the original article from News at IUPUI‘s Tim Brouk.

Judith Atibil and C. Elizabeth Duff show good chemistry on “Hash It Out,” which debuted in October on SoundCloud.com. The Social Justice Education scholars create an outline for each episode. Some portions are scripted, but there is also room for spontaneous debate.

Last summer, the students did not foresee themselves as podcast hosts, let alone gaining hundreds of listeners after the program got bumped up to iTunes status. Duff and Atibil only met a couple times before recording their first full episode, “Discrimination in the Doctor’s Office.”

“We were both so nervous and trying not to show it,” Duff said. “It was nerve-wracking. But now we love it.”

The final “Hash It Out” episode for the academic year dropped Friday, April 20, with a focus on labor unions to commemorate the Ludlow massacre of April 20, 1914. The podcast is expected to return for 2018-19, but the students aren’t sure if they will return as hosts. No matter who is at the mic, “Hash It Out” has brought a new element to the varied programs Social Justice Education promotes.

“It brings the work of Social Justice to the virtual realm, especially since the rest of our programming is all physical,” said Atibil, a junior studying public safety management. “It gives people more access to us.”

Atibil and Duff’s studio is anywhere they can meet on campus due to heavy spring semester class schedules, multiple part-time jobs, and the numerous hours dedicated to various other Social Justice Education initiatives. Duff utilizes a voice-recording application on her iPhone to capture each episode. The file syncs up with Google Drive. The content is then downloaded to Duff’s laptop computer, where she edits each episode on Audacity. The episodes are posted about twice a month and clock in between 30-45 minutes, on average.

Moving the podcast outside of a campus communications studio lab to different parts of campus made the student hosts more relaxed, they said. “We are both flexible and not linear. We needed the mobility,” Duff said.

While both students share a passion for social issues, their viewpoints aren’t identical. The “Are Prisons Obsolete?” post in February offered lively discussion. “We’re pretty liberal, but Elizabeth is an abolitionist whereas I’m a reformist,” Atibil explained.

The topics are brainstormed at the beginning of each semester, concentrating on hot issues in the news as well as subjects of personal interest. The students attach reference material and articles of inspiration to each episode for their listeners. “It’s really fun to sit down and just blurt it out to each other,” Duff said.

Although she is graduating in May, Duff will be returning to IUPUI as a graduate student in museum studies, and she sees the podcast continuing and growing in audience and accessibility. Transcripts for the hearing-impaired are a goal. She also hopes “Hash It Out” will receive more audience interaction and feedback.

Both students are proud of what they’ve established. Passion for the issues made up for the lack of podcasting experience.

“I think it’s one of the coolest experiences I’ve had,” Duff said. “I just showed up with no knowledge. I get sappy about it, but we’ve built this program from the ground up. We started from not knowing how to record, where to record, how to edit, how to do anything. Now we’re on iTunes and have hundreds of listeners. I love it, and I had no idea I’d enjoy it as much as I do. It’s my baby now.”

Center for Ray Bradbury Studies Receives NEH Grant

Photo by Liz Kaye, IU Communications

The Center for Ray Bradbury Studies at IUPUI, one of the most extensive single-author archives housed at a university, has received a $50,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Read the original article from News at IUPUI.

On April 9, the NEH announced $18.6 million in grants for 199 humanities projects across the country, including a number of humanities collections and reference resources grants.

The grant will allow the center to prepare a preservation plan and operational procedures that will help it to eventually expand into a museum and archive with gallery space, all open to the public.

“Ray Bradbury’s archives are a treasure not only for this campus but for all scholars and fans of Mr. Bradbury and his work everywhere,” said Thomas J. Davis, dean of the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, which hosts the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies. “This generous grant will eventually allow more people to study and enjoy his life’s work and personal items.”

The center was founded in 2007, and the collection, housed in Room 121 of Cavanaugh Hall in the heart of the IUPUI campus, spans the lifetime of the science fiction master (1920-2012). His literary works, art, correspondence, manuscripts, photographs, audiovisual materials, and more are all preserved — nearly 15 tons of materials in all. His home office has also been meticulously recreated with its original contents.

“He kept everything — everything was a memento to life for him,” said Jonathan R. Eller, director of the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies and Chancellor’s Professor of English. “All his life, he was learning and observing. When he was beginning to dream about human beings going to outer space, the moon, and Mars, that was his dream before it was popular. His dreams became our dreams through books like ‘The Martian Chronicles.'”

Bradbury’s work continues to inspire millions today, from astronauts to statesmen to children. Literary and Hollywood legends such as Herman Wouk, Steven Spielberg, Charlton Heston, Gregory Peck, and Walt Disney, among many others, wrote letters to Bradbury during his lifetime — those are also housed in the collection.

The NEH grant will allow for the hiring of two graduate interns — at least one from the School of Liberal Arts’ Museum Studies program — devoted to coordinating all the work required to expand into a museum and gallery.

“We will be learning best practices for preservation and for inventory and accessioning, as well as the kind of activities that a gallery or archive or museum does to make sure the public has access to these items,” Eller said. “Once we’ve benefited from this grant, a lot of doors will open.”

Massive Work of Sentient Art Unveiled

Philip Beesley reaches up to activate sensors in “Amatria.” Photo by Amelia Herrick and Chris Meyer, IU Communications.

A living, protected space of vales, canopies, and membranes composed of hundreds of thousands of microprocessors, prototype cells, and gently swaying Mylar fronds.

This is the language used by Canadian artist and architect Philip Beesley to describe the enormous, seemingly living sculpture, “Amatria,” recently installed under the sunlit glass atrium on the fourth floor of Luddy Hall, the new home to most of the departments and programs in the IU School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering.

View the original article by News at IU‘s Kevin Fryling.

The school officially unveiled the work of “sentient art” before a crowded audience at sunset April 11. The reveal, which featured flashing lights, dramatic music and comments from the artist and school leaders, took place during LuddyFest, a weeklong celebration that culminated in the building’s dedication ceremony April 13.

“Just like the Sample Gates are iconic of IU Bloomington, we expect ‘Amatria’ — with its unique combination of art, computing, architecture and technology — to become a symbol of our school and ‘renaissance engineering’ at IU,” said IU Distinguished Professor Katy Börner, who played the key role in bringing Beesley’s work to campus after meeting him at a conference in 2015.

It’s that vision of engineering — as a field that blends scientific and technical skill with creative thought and a foundation in the arts and humanities — that attracted Beesley to IU. An internationally known architect whose work has been featured at the prestigious Venice Biennale, as well as many other sites across the globe, Beesley is renowned for the use of cutting-edge technologies and materials — sensor arrays, 3-D printed materials and Internet-connected objects — to create enormous works of art that gently move or react as people pass near or through them.

“When people walk into the environment of this kind of sculpture, some reactions are quite anxious,” Beesley said. “But then the work starts to respond back — with small ripples of vibration and movement or gentle rustling sounds and billowing light — and those reactions quickly turn into a kind of curious and wondering conversation. People are invited to simply explore [the art] and discover their own relationships with it.”

During the past few years, Beesley has paid several visits to IU Bloomington to participate in behind-the-scenes preparations related to suspending a high-tech work of art composed of hundreds of thousands of custom parts from the glass atrium atop a four-story building. Most recently, he and colleagues from his Toronto-based studio were on-site to oversee the work of IU students and community volunteers, who played a key role in the sculpture’s creation and installation. IU students helped assemble the sculpture’s many highly intricate physical parts, wire electrical components and code systems that control how the work interacts with its environment.

Among the volunteers was Clara Fridman, a junior in the School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering who participated in several sessions assembling various small pieces of the sculpture. A fan of Beesley’s work, she also took the opportunity to hear him and members of his studio speak at previous several visiting lectures at IU.

“I was thrilled to contribute to this amazing piece for our school,” she said. “Each small part of ‘Amatria’ is so complex that it takes the work of many people. Everyone was very helpful, and there were so many different tasks we could always switch things up. The whole experience was a great exercise in teamwork.”

Katherine Shanahan, a graduate student in the IU School of Education, also volunteered on “Amatria,” assembling the plastic “whiskers” with fluid-filled glass bulbs that hang in the work’s “grotto” area.

“I was excited to volunteer because I’m very interested in the intersection of art and technology in my graduate studies,” she said. “The notion of sentient and responsive architecture that mimics natural, biological and chemical systems is fascinating.”

By playing a role in the sculpture’s creation, Beesley said, IU students gained experience in wireless technologies, robotics, artificial intelligence, sensors and other cutting-edge subjects. His studio has also designed software developer kits so students can create external components that interact with the art or visualize its activity.

Börner added that “Amatria” will convert the fourth floor of Luddy Hall into an “Internet of Things laboratory” as students learn to program devices that wirelessly communicate with the sculpture’s light, motion and sound sensors and the loudspeaker and motor actuators. By working on these projects, students will gain hands-on experience writing code that utilizes data from wireless-enabled devices — a highly applicable skill in today’s internet-connected world.

In addition to creating an artistic focal point for the building, the position of “Amatria” at the top of the central staircase in Luddy Hall is significant since the fourth floor houses the school’s intelligent systems engineering program. A hub of technology and creatively, the floor is also home to a large “maker space” with 3-D printers, circuit board soldering stations and other advanced fabrication tools. The sculpture’s presence in the center of the action will serve as a continual reminder of program’s guiding mission to create the “engineers of tomorrow,” fluent in art, science and technology.

“IU Bloomington is a leader in arts and humanities education, and the IU School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering is inventing, implementing and optimizing the next generation of intelligent systems, such as smart cars, health devices and brain interfaces,” Börner said. “We hope the magnificent architecture of Luddy Hall, in combination with ‘Amatria,’ will inspire arts and humanities scholars from campus and beyond to visit our school, and fully engage with its faculty, staff and students.”

Breaking It Down: What Can I Recycle at IUPUI?

Jessica Davis, Director of IUPUI’s Office of Sustainability. Photo by Tim Brouk, IU Communications.

In support of Earth Month and Earth Day, Jessica Davis, Director of IUPUI’s Office of Sustainability, has been extremely busy.

But she wasn’t too busy to perform a “mini dumpster dive” in the Campus Center. After the April 13 lunch rush, Davis chose a few bags of trash to monitor IUPUI’s recycling prowess. Efforts are trending positively, but there is still much work to be done.

Read the original article from News at IUPUI‘s Tim Brouk.

“Our campus recycling has gone up, and the total waste generation has gone down. That’s a good thing,” Davis reported. “That being said, we’re still far under the national average.”

In 2016-17, IUPUI’s recycle rate was about 20 percent, while leading peer institutions check in at 40 to 50 percent. The national average is about 30 percent, according to Davis.

The Campus Center serves as a hub for the Office of Sustainability’s several programs. Displays on the first floor show what can and cannot be deposited in the several blue bins near dining areas. Still, as Davis’ inspection proved, students, staff, and faculty members are still unsure about what to recycle.

IUPUI and Marion County have unique recycling do’s and don’ts. Items that couldn’t be recycled 10 years ago are now fair game, but then there are items that seem recyclable but aren’t. Like a cardboard box or a compost heap, Davis breaks it down for you.

Pizza boxes are recyclable, even if Papa John’s got a little overzealous on the toppings. Having remnants of cheese, grease, and crumbs does not disqualify a box from being recycled at IUPUI.

Discarded plastics are a persistent problem on both land and sea. They are also the bane of recycling efforts at IUPUI. Plastic straws and utensils are too small for machines in Marion County, while plastic bags are known to clog up the systems.

“All of our recyclables that go into a single bin get sent to a material recovery facility,” Davis explained. “All of the materials are separated, but those soft plastics — like plastic bags and plastic wrap — can shut down operations and have to be pulled out. The bins for just plastic bags from grocery stores are processed separately and bailed up for reuse. So, we don’t want plastic bags in our bins.”

Davis recommends employing reusable bags and dropping off any plastic bags in those bins at area supermarkets.

IUPUI and Marion County recycle more plastics than other Indiana municipalities, Davis said. Look on the bottle or container for the piece’s digits. “As long as it’s a number 1 through 7, it’s recyclable here on campus,” she said. “Plastics number 1 through 7 are usually rigid plastics like beverage bottles and containers.”

However, there are still products that are unable to be recycled. Most crinkly snack bags and wrappers are made with a blend of plastics that defy current recycling means.

Concerning coffee, from the lids to the to-go cups to the little sleeves that keep your fingers unburned, your entire caffeinating experience can be recycled.

Davis said “information deficit” is the No. 1 problem with the low recycling rate, followed by Indianapolis’ notoriety as a poor curbside recycling city. Bins are everywhere at IUPUI, but education is still needed.

One initiative spreading across campus, known as “deskside recycling,” could significantly increase rates. The bins that fit under desks and cubicles of faculty and staff offer a larger space for recyclables and a smaller space for trash. These receptacles are in 20 IUPUI buildings and will be in all of them by 2019.

“When you’re in an office, 90 percent of what you throw away is recyclable,” Davis said. “This bin setup matches the waste stream you create – larger recycle bin for more recyclables.”

From Chronicle: Is This the Hardest Course in the Humanities?

For most of my professional life, the future of the humanities was a conceptual matter. That’s no longer the case. When enrollments are down, majors are down, funding and jobs are down, adjuncts are up, and departments are being closed, abstract debates over which new theory or interdisciplinary vision is on the rise don’t much count. When a formation as renowned as the Humanities Center at the Johns Hopkins University is proposed for shutdown (it later was saved in modified form), we know that the prosperity of the humanities doesn’t rest with people at the top.

No, it depends on the people at the bottom, undergraduates who vote with their feet. If an English department’s chairman tells the dean, “We’ve got to hire someone in this new area of ____,” the dean replies, “But you can’t even get your existing courses half-filled.” If, however, a parent calls and grumbles, “I’m paying lots of money, and my daughter can’t get into any of the English classes she wants,” well, that calls for action.

It’s a situation that few humanities professors are equipped to overcome. Graduate school and assistant professorships don’t impel you to attract freshmen and sophomores. Instead you learn how to impress senior professors. But right now, nothing is more crucial than the preferences of 19-year-olds.

[read more]

From Poynter: How Can We Solve Fake News?

Fake news isn’t all fun and games. But for Mihai Avram, it kind of is.

The Indiana University master’s student has developed a prototype for a game that allows users to decide whether or not to share, like or fact-check stories on social media. The game scores each action you take, giving top points if you share credible stories or fact-check dubitable ones.

Essentially, the game aims to increase users’ news literacy skills.

“Ideally, we would want to have a lot users play the game, nationally and internationally,” Avram, 25, said. “At the very least, I know journalists will definitely be interested because they’re the ones who are very curious about this new domain of trying to figure out, given these sources, what is real and what is fake.”

The game uses the News API to pull in different mainstream outlets. At the same time, Avram and his adviser, informatics and computer science professor Fil Menczer, pick fake news sources by leveraging Hoaxy, a tool that crawls social media and articles based on lists curated by fact-checkers.

While it’s still early to see how users are interacting with the game (Avram said most have just been helping him test that everything is working), most of the preliminary feedback has been positive. And that’s because it’s gamifying a complex problem, Avram said.

“We wanted to be creating a game that also has a purpose, so when you look at some of the most popular examples, such as the ESP game or even CAPTCHA,” he said. “You don’t really see them as games, but they definitely serve a purpose.”

[read more]

From the NEH: Grants to Digitize Essential Humanities Books

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the largest funder of the humanities in the United States, announced seven grants, totaling more than $1 million, to convert important out-of-print humanities texts into freely available ebooks.

The third round of funding for the Humanities Open Book Program, offered jointly by NEH and Mellon, will make awards to publishers that have identified significant scholarly books that enhance public knowledge of topics such as American and European history, philosophy, classics, Asian and Latin American studies, architectural history, and literary criticism. With NEH and Mellon support, publishers will digitize these books, secure permission from copyright holders, and release them online for access by public audiences.

“NEH is pleased to join with Mellon in giving a second life to close to a thousand outstanding works of scholarship,” said NEH Senior Deputy Chairman Jon Parrish Peede. “The Humanities Open Book Program makes important texts accessible to new audiences by funding twenty-first-century approaches to disseminating humanities research.”

[read more]

What’s In Your Bag?

Jordan Nelsen. Photo by Tim Brouk, IU Communications.

When Jordan Nelsen was a small child, she picked up a pencil and paper and began to draw, just like any kid.

Read the original article from News at IUPUI‘s Tim Brouk.

A few years later, Nelsen began drawing with a pen-shaped stylus, pen tablet, and laptop computer. Since elementary school, Nelsen has balanced digital drawing with “analog.” Now a senior in the Herron School of Art and Design and the IU School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI, Nelsen still carries a paper sketchbook, but the digital equipement takes up more room in her backpack.

With her left hand on hot keys for erasing and choosing different brushes in programs like ZBrush, Geomagic Design X, and Photoshop, Nelsen’s digital work has brought her high praise at Herron. She has assembled a portfolio of figurative fantasy pieces aimed at the video game industry.

Nelsen’s ability to translate her designs into 3-D pieces was honed through her classes as a Media Arts and Science (MAS) major at the School of Informatics and Computing (SoIC), and through research projects under the guidance of Zebulun Wood, co-director of the MAS undergraduate program.

The anatomical foundation of her art talents has led to life-enhancing opportunities for dental patients. A summer-school informatics and computing class with School of Dentistry maxillofacial prosthodontics resident Dr. Travis Bellicchi led to more than a dozen facial prosthetic designs the last couple of years. A 2017 nose for a cancer patient, which took her only four hours to produce, made regional news.

“Depending on the case, they can take months to complete,” Nelsen explained. “But we scanned him, we designed it, and we had it on the 3-D printer ready to go for him the next day. It happened a lot quicker than everyone thought. It was a good feeling to get that done in an unprecedented amount of time.”

After seeing the widely spread pictures of the patient wearing her prosthetic design, Nelsen had a revelation on what her skills could do.

“It’s one thing to paint something for myself and feel really good about it,” said Nelsen. “It’s an entirely alien feeling to be able to say, ‘I made this thing that somebody is wearing to help improve their way of life.’ There is no feeling that’s like that.”

Set to graduate in May, Nelsen hopes to still pursue both gaming and prosthetics.

“I like to find a nice balance between the two,” Nelsen said, “from helping people and painting for myself as well.”

While she only needs three pieces of equipment to create a new video game character or new dentures to be installed into the zygomatic bone of a School of Dentistry patient, Nelsen’s backpack carries her latest work and her future career — or careers.

Multidisciplinary Funding Opportunities from the Russell Sage Foundation

The Russell Sage Foundation has two opportunities to fund multidisciplinary research.

Race, Ethnicity, & Immigration: The primary goal of this program is to find ways in which researchers from different social science traditions studying issues of race, ethnicity, and immigration may complement one another in productive and innovative ways. Multi-disciplinary perspectives and methods that both strengthen the data, theory, and methods of social science research and foster an understanding of how we might better achieve the American ideals of a pluralist society are encouraged.

The Russell Sage Foundation’s (RSF) Integrating Biology and Social Science Knowledge (BioSS) initiative will support innovative social science research on social and economic outcomes that improves our understanding of the interactive mechanisms by which environmental influences affect biological mechanisms, and vice versa.

Faculty members interested in pursuing these opportunities should contact the IU Office of the Vice President’s (VPR) Foundation Relations team, who have particular expertise in engaging with foundations. Letters of intent are due May 24, 2018. Email Josh Moore (moorejom@iu.edu) for more information.

African Knowledge and Innovation Exchange

Globally recognized media and communications expert Tunji Lardner has held prestigious new media fellowships at some of the world’s leading universities, including Columbia and Stanford. As the inaugural Global TED Fellow and founder of WangoNet, he has mentored many young netpreneurs in Nigeria’s burgeoning CivicTech space.

All are invited to this unique lecture and brainstorming experience led by Ford Foundation Fellow Mr. Tunji Lardner. The lecture will be held on Wednesday, April 18, from 10:30am-2:30pm, in the Education and Social Work Building (ES), room 2132. Food and refreshments will be provided.

Mr. Lardner’s latest and most ambitious project is answering questions of how to design, build, and operate an online digital platform that addresses the knowledge and information asymmetry that exists between Africa and the rest of the world.

This event is sponsored by the IUPUI School of Public and Environmental Affairs, the IUPUI Office of International Affairs, the IUPUI Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, and the IUPUI School of Informatics and Computing.

For more information, contact Dr. Lilliard Richardson at lillrich@iupui.edu or Dr. Edgar Huang at ehuang@iupui.edu.