Death of the Mechanical Man Featured in the Montreal Underground Film Festival

Michael Drews’s “Death of the Mechanical Man”

“Death of the Mechanical Man,” a 21-minute film directed by Big Robot’s Michael Drews, made its premier in October of 2016, deep in the City Market Catacombs. For its debut, Big Robot accompanied the film live, conjuring up memories of silent films.

Watch the trailer on Vimeo.

Now, the short film has been chosen as part of the 2018 Montreal Underground Film Festival (MUFF). The festival celebrates low-budget filmmaking and promotes films that challenge the constraints and conventions of mainstream Hollywood. The independent filmmakers, writers, teachers, and cinephiles of MUFF are committed to seeking out edgy films bristling with a sense of creative freedom, energy, and experimentation.

For more information about the festival, visit the MUFF website.

Big Robot creates media-enriched art and music, interweaving aesthetic expression with computer interactivity. Their blend of audio-visual design with acoustic instruments forms a multi-dimensional performance at the crosspoints of virtual and physical gesture, sound, and space.

To learn more about Big Robot, visit their website.

Research Identifies Communities at Risk of Adverse Clean Energy Effects

Researchers at Indiana University have developed a new method for identifying communities that may be negatively affected by clean energy policies designed to hasten the move from fossil fuels to more environmentally friendly solutions.

Read the original article from News at IU.

Renewable and sustainable sources can lead to reduced greenhouse gas emissions, cleaner air and opportunities for economic growth. But the change from fossil fuel to new energy is not always easy to make and does not impact all communities – or individuals – equally.

“The energy transition will bring many benefits to society,” said Sanya Carley, an associate professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IU Bloomington. “But the benefits, as well as the costs, will not be dispersed proportionately across society. My co-authors and I embarked on this study because we believe that it is important to study the distribution of benefits and burdens and to help the policy- and decision-maker community identify those populations that are most vulnerable.”

Carley is one of the authors of “A framework for evaluating geographic disparities in energy transition vulnerability,” which was published online today by the journal Nature Energy.

She and her co-authors set out to find a way to determine which populations in which areas of the country are at the highest risk for negative consequences from environmentally beneficial policies. By adapting a tool known as the Vulnerability Scoping Diagram, they were able to identify the geographic areas and individuals that can be defined as being vulnerable.

Often these vulnerable communities are places where fossil fuels represent a large portion of the local economy or where many individuals are not capable of paying for the increased cost of new, cleaner energy. Pinpointing the populations at the highest risk for negative socioeconomic consequences will allow them to be targeted for programs and assistance to help limit or eliminate those unintended effects, the researchers say.

Previously, the Vulnerability Scoping Diagram has been used to determine the vulnerability of communities in the context of natural hazards, disaster management and climate change. The IU research represents the first time it has been applied to a social science setting.

“It is important to document adverse effects of policies, not in an attempt to undermine their credibility or efficacy, but to better understand their limitations and unintended consequences,” said David Konisky, also an author of the paper and an associate professor in the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

In one example of using the tool, the researchers examine county-by-county vulnerability to renewable portfolio standards, in which states require utilities to generate a certain percentage of electricity from renewable sources. While not all states have adopted such standards, the analysis finds the highest vulnerability in some counties in Texas, California, Hawaii and New York.

Additional authors of the study include SPEA doctoral student Michelle Graff and Tom Evans, former professor of geography in the IU College of Arts and Sciences and now a professor in the School of Geography and Development at the University of Arizona.

From NEH: Second Humanities Infrastructure Grant Program Added for 2018

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) will offer a second round of its new Infrastructure and Capacity Building Challenge Grants, with an application deadline of August 1.

NEH announced the new grant program, designed to create and sustain humanities infrastructure, in January. Under this program, cultural institutions such as museums, libraries, archives, colleges and universities, scholarly associations, and historic sites are eligible to receive up to $500,000 for projects that build institutional capacity or infrastructure for long-term sustainability.

These challenge grants, which require a match of nonfederal funds, may be used toward capital expenditures such as construction and renovation projects, purchase of equipment and software, sharing of humanities collections between institutions, documentation of lost or imperiled cultural heritage, sustaining digital scholarly infrastructure, and preservation and conservation of humanities collections.

NEH’s first Infrastructure and Capacity Building Challenge Grant awards will be announced in August. However, in response to marked demand for infrastructure support, the agency will offer the program for a second time in 2018. Updated application guidelines will be posted online this month.

“For decades, NEH has played a vital role in helping build the humanities infrastructure of the United States,” said NEH Chairman Jon Parrish Peede. “These new grants expand that role by leveraging federal dollars to spur increased private investment in our nation’s libraries, museums, and cultural centers to ensure the long-term health and growth of these institutions. The result will be greater access to historical, cultural, and educational resources for all Americans.”

The grant program includes a special encouragement to Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and two-year colleges.

The application deadline for the second round of NEH Infrastructure and Capacity Building Challenge Grants is August 1, 2018. Please direct questions about grant proposals to challenge@neh.gov.

Read the original news release.

Reflecting on Religion and Philanthropy

Giving to religion makes up a third of all giving in America, and over half of all Americans say their religious or spiritual values motivate their philanthropic giving. If this is the case, why do religion and money remain such taboo topics in our society?

The full philanthropic impact of religious communities goes far beyond finances. The story of religious philanthropy speaks to when, why, and how religious institutions engage their broader communities in volunteering, advocacy, and cultivating a civil society.

Is philanthropy primarily meant to take care of those within one’s own community or the larger society? Does philanthropy provide for basic needs or promote institutional change? Should religious giving develop an individual’s character or shape the morality of society, or are such purposes off limits in a pluralist society?

Two leading historians will share their reflections on what we can learn from the intersections of religion and philanthropy in the past and what issues might define the topic into the future: Jim Hudnut Buemler, Anne Potter Wilson Distinguished Professor of American Religious History at Vanderbilt University, and David Hammack, Hiram C. Haydn Professor of History at Case Western University. The event will be moderated by David P. King and Philip Goff.

This public talk will be held on Thursday, May 17, at 5:30pm, at the Damenvervein Room of the Athenaeum, 410 E. Michigan Street.

IUPUI Welcoming Campus Initiative Project and Hospital Habits

Godwin Charles Ogbeide

Hundreds of IUPUI faculty, staff, administrators and students learned about the value of a smile, an expression of gratitude and kindness, at seminar luncheons that were part of a project funded by the Welcoming Campus Initiative.

Read the original article from News at IU‘s Rich Schneider.

The last of the luncheons this academic year took place April 25 at the Campus Center. The luncheons were free and open to faculty, staff, administrators, and students.

The Welcoming Campus Initiative provides internal grants of up to $25,000, with a match by the proposing unit, to support implementation of projects related to the overarching themes of communicating who we are, creating a vibrant and inclusive student experience, designing an accessible, inspiring urban campus, engaging and integrating with the community, and investing in faculty and staff.

Titled “The Habits of Hospitable People,” the luncheon seminars were led by Godwin Charles Ogbeide, an associate professor in the Department of Tourism, Conventions, and Event Management in the School of Physical Education and Tourism Management and director of the Events and Tourism Institute.

With his research focus on leadership strategy and the science of hospitality, he explores physiological changes that occur in people as the result of hospitable actions. Ogbeide is particularly aware of the importance of actions that make the campus welcoming. During the luncheon, Ogbeide shared scientific findings about the physiological impact of hospitable actions and discussed verbal and nonverbal hospitality communications.

Those hospitable habits include acknowledgement, friendliness, gratitude, empathy, and kindness, Ogbeide said. Acknowledgement can occur in several ways, including with a smile and eye contact, he said: “When you see me smile, don’t you already feel comfortable and welcomed?” When acknowledgement occurs, the reaction is, “I can talk to this person,” Ogbeide said.

“How often do we show gratitude to one another, to our guests, to visitors and students?” he said. “If you thank a student or visitor for coming to IUPUI, the culture changes. Word of mouth will be good. People will say, ‘They’re nice at that university, and I want my son or daughter to go there.'”

Designed to help make IUPUI a welcoming campus, the luncheon seminars themselves were welcomed. The other part of the project that was approved by the Welcoming Campus Initiative was to develop IUPUI Welcome-365, a user-friendly mobile app to enhance orientation at IUPUI and navigation of campus as well as generate a welcoming feeling.

With the app, students have the campus in the palm of their hand, Ogbeide said. Its features include an interactive campus map that can guide students to buildings and parking; a university calendar and personal calendar; and access to IUPUI academic, financial, and health resources.

The app removes challenges of not knowing where buildings are located or how or who to ask for help, Ogbeide said. “IUPUI is a large campus, but we can make this big place the size of their phone.”

Author to Speak on Family Challenges at Commencement

A’Lelia Bundles

Fresh from practically defeating the Indiana Pacers by himself in the playoffs, Lebron James will ease some of the pain by helping pay tribute to one of Indianapolis’ most renowned women.

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

The star forward for the Cleveland Cavaliers has been attached as an executive producer, along with Oscar-winning actress Octavia Spencer, on a future Netflix series focusing on Madam C. J. Walker, the namesake for the Madam Walker Theatre Center near IUPUI and the nation’s first African-American female self-made millionaire. James and Spencer are connected through the William Morris talent agency.

“What I can say is that the writing process is tentatively scheduled to start during the summer,” said Walker’s great-great-granddaughter A’Lelia Bundles via telephone from Washington, D.C. “Once the writers are assembled, they’ll map out the arc of the story. I’m a consultant on the series. If all goes well and the planets align properly, I will be involved periodically while they are developing the storyline.”

The series is based on Bundles’ best-selling 2001 book, “On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C. J. Walker,” which follows Walker’s life from a Southern cotton fields worker to a poor washer-woman in St. Louis to the employer of thousands of African-American women in her own hair care and cosmetics firm, Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company, based in downtown Indianapolis. The book was optioned by Zero Gravity Management in 2016.

Bundles is finishing up another book, “The Joy Goddess of Harlem: A’Lelia Walker and the Harlem Renaissance,” based on her great-grandmother and namesake, who was the daughter of Madam Walker. A’Lelia Walker was a major cultural influencer in New York while representing the family business in the Big Apple.

As guest speaker at IUPUI’s commencement on May 12 at Lucas Oil Stadium, Bundles will talk about those women and her own career as a former ABC and NBC news producer and journalist. Several thousand students and their families will be in attendance.

A North Central High School graduate raised in Indianapolis on Grandview Drive, Bundles received degrees from Harvard College and Columbia University before settling in Washington, D.C. Her father, S. Henry Bundles, was president of the Center for Leadership Development in Indianapolis and now lives in Florida. Her late mother, A’Lelia Mae Perry Bundles, was vice president of the Walker Company while being involved in Indianapolis politics.

Moving Image Archive Director Gains International Attention

Rachael Stoeltje

Rachael Stoeltje’s interest in film started when she was a child growing up in Austin, Texas, but now that passion has grown to international levels: The director of the IU Libraries Moving Image Archive has been named the 2018 Coordinating Council of Audiovisual Archives Associations board chair, leading meetings in Paris, Bangkok, Prague and beyond.

Read the original article from News at IU‘s Allie Hitchcock.

“I love the collections. I love working with students; that’s been incredibly satisfying,” Stoeltje said. “I love my international work, and I think for libraries in general, it’s an exciting time.”

The Coordinating Council, a partially UNESCO-founded organization created in 1982, is the umbrella organization of the eight professional organizations supporting preservation of audio, video and film archives around the world.

Carolyn Walters, the Ruth Lilly Dean of Indiana University Libraries, has been a longtime supporter of Stoeltje’s work at the Moving Image Archive. Working together to harness the mounting interest in film preservation at IU, Walters and Stoeltje first transitioned the university film collection into a secure home at the Auxiliary Library Facility, formally created the Moving Image Archive, then imagined a community space in the ground floor of Wells Library to encourage access and use of the collection.

Along the way, the strength of IU’s commitment to preservation, and the intensity of Rachael’s passion for film — especially as a primary source for learning — caught the attention of both national and international colleagues.

“Rachael sparks enthusiasm when she speaks about nearly any film or related preservation project,” Walters said. “With her new leadership role at this international level, Indiana University’s extensive collections will be incredibly visible to a worldwide community. The talents of our experts here at IU, already well known, will be illuminated in a way that greatly strengthens our efforts to preserve and share film with scholars everywhere.”

The term “everywhere” means just that. Stoeltje became chair of the Coordinating Council through her work serving on the International Federation of Film Archives Executive Committee; she also serves as the head of the training and outreach program in the federation. Through this work, which she is extending to the Coordinating Council’s mission, she has worked with the federation’s training and outreach coordinator and secretariat to find new ways to meet requests for assistance from Mexico to Myanmar.

Some countries’ archivists deal with standard needs to find new preservation methods, while others have larger issues like natural disasters occurring at the same time. On one visit to Sri Lanka, for example, the expert volunteer in the field dealt with badly deteriorating films in a storage unit. In Tunisia, members of the federation are helping open a cinema.

“It’s been a pretty enormous range,” Stoeltje said. “Trying to meet all those needs with volunteer workforces is challenging.”

Traveling all over the world to work with an international member base helps Stoeltje stay connected. The Coordinating Council and the other federations within it also try to keep an international viewpoint. The Federation of Film Archives, for example, runs its conferences in three languages simultaneously.

Another universal task Stoeltje is working on is collection digitization among changing digital platforms. Concerns that the Coordinating Council and archivists in general had 20 years ago are completely different today, so she is seeking new platforms to best serve everyone.

Back home in Indiana, Stoeltje continues to expand IU’s Moving Image Archive, a collection that has tripled in size over the past nine years. On top of her international concerns, Stoeltje stays busy by hosting regional and national visitors interested in the archive, mentoring student interns, leading film-related areas of the Media and Digitization Preservation Initiative and contributing to IU’s international presence and prominence in film studies.

“The archive has been an invaluable partner to IU Cinema since opening,” said Jon Vickers, founding director of IU Cinema. “In a short amount of time, Rachael has led the transformation of the archive and brought international prominence to IU’s moving image collections. Now she is essentially leading the organization that serves as the umbrella for preserving the world’s motion picture heritage. This speaks well to her leadership and good work, but also for all of us at IU who work in film and media.”

She credits the impressive growth and impact of the archive to support from IU Libraries and university-level leaders, who clearly understand that today’s libraries can offer more than ever before. Stoeltje said it’s exciting to play a part in the evolution.

“There’s been a shift from 10 years ago when people wanted to know, ‘How many books do you have in the library?’ to a better understanding of the diverse and relevant services and materials that IU Libraries provides.”

From Humanities: Environmental Prophet Rachel Carson Cultivated a Culture of Wonder

More than a half century after the publication of Silent Spring, Rachel Carson’s book about the ecological dangers of pesticides, she endures as a writer few Americans recall with a smile.

Silent Spring, which drew its name from the prospect of a poisoned world in which no birds sing, sparked the modern environmental movement and the banning of DDT. It was a profound and important book, although not, because of its subject matter, a fun read. In spite of what it asked of readers—or perhaps because of it—Silent Spring became a runaway best-seller, cementing Carson’s place in literary history. She’s fixed in the public mind as a kind of hair-shirted prophet, full of dire but compelling predictions about the fate of the earth if humanity doesn’t change its ways.

But Carson (1907–1964) had a lighter, lyrical side, as Library of America has reminded readers with Silent Spring & Other Writings on the Environment, a new selection of her prose.

About Silent Spring, many already know. But the other writings in this LOA project, including letters, speeches, and articles, reveal a writer who could be hopeful, happy, even funny.

[read more]

The Human Library at IUPUI: Educational & Thought-provoking

The Human Library at IUPUI, a campus-funded Welcoming Campus Initiative, was designed to provide a safe place for conversations around difficult subjects and help advance understanding among a community of diverse people.

Read the original article from News at IUPUI.

Responses to the event, which took place April 2 in the Campus Center, captured the positive reactions of both “books” and “readers,” said Andrea Copeland, associate professor and chair, Department of Library and Information Science at the Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI, and lead organizer of the event.

Among responses from participants: “This was a wonderful experience! Loved it!” “It’s wonderful to take the time to slow down, connect and learn from one another.” “A great experience and opportunity to learn, to listen, and to be introspective.” “Unexpected, educational, thought-provoking, great experience overall!” “Excellent opportunity to engage in dialog and to learn about people’s lives. I learned so much, thank you!”

The IUPUI Human Library featured people as “books” who could be checked out by readers. “Usually, the knowledge vessel is a book. In this case, the knowledge vessel was a human,” Copeland said.

About 30 people volunteered to be books, including a recovering addict, an individual who was a survivor of the 1994 Rwanda genocide, a person who was overweight and chose to have bariatric surgery, a rape survivor, a person who became deaf at age 30 as a result of a neurological disorder, a transgender individual, and a Palestinian immigrant who is Muslim.

“Conversations people get to have around difficult topics is what’s so valuable about a human library. It really creates a safe place for that,” Copeland said.

The event drew people from Columbus, Muncie, Franklin College, and Eli Lilly and Company who want to have human libraries in their community and came to IUPUI to witness the one here, Copeland said.

As the number of human libraries in Central Indiana grows, Copeland said, it would be possible to build a book depot, a sort of shared library, making it easier to facilitate hosting human library events and enable really good books to reach more people.

From IndyStar: A Business with a Buzz

Photo provided by The Bee Corp

All her life Ellie Symes had been taught to fear bees. Then, she peered into a hive after her freshman year of college and her life changed.

When she returned from her summer internship with a beekeeper to classes at Indiana University, Symes made a mission of sharing her newfound passion with others on the Bloomington campus.

Now, nearly five years later, Symes and two classmates are making a career out of their mutual love of bees. With seed money from a university competition, the three IU grads started a Bloomington-based company, The Bee Corp, which focuses on ways to use technology to support the beekeeping industry.

Earlier this year the agribusiness startup received a $225,000 small business innovation research grant from the National Science Foundation.

About 15 customers currently use the company’s Queens Guard system, which monitors temperatures inside the hive to alert beekeepers at the earliest sign something has gone amiss with a hive, said Wyatt Wells, a co-founder who serves as the company’s chief marketing officer.

[read more]