2017 Heartland Film Festival accepts films from two School of Informatics and Computing students

Sam Mirpoorian (left) and Hannah West (right)

From News at IUPUI.

Two Media Arts and Science students in the School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI had their entries accepted into the 2017 Heartland Film Festival held recently in Indianapolis.

Sam Mirpoorian, who received his bachelor’s degree in May and is now enrolled in the master’s program, and Hannah West, a current senior, produced their films under the guidance of Media Arts and Science faculty member C. Thomas Lewis.

Sam Mirpoorian’s short, “Little Warriors,” received this year’s Indiana Spotlight Film Award, winning $5,000 and adding to accolades already earned at the Indy Film Festival, the Napa Valley Film Festival and the Global Impact Film Festival.

“Little Warriors” captures a group of Indianapolis youth and their impassioned attempt to introduce legislation that would address climate recovery. (You can even watch the trailer on Vimeo!)

Mirpoorian created the film for his senior capstone project. He attributes much of his success to the support he received from the program and his advisors.

“The program is very hands-on and truly allows for filmmakers like me to explore and unleash their abilities and interests,” he said. “I mostly want to thank professor Lewis, as he provided excellent guidance and made sure I stayed on course.”

As an undergraduate, Mirpoorian also produced “Under the Bridge: The Criminalization of Homelessness,” which received critical acclaim last year and has been released for commercial distribution.

West’s film, “Not in Vain,” was a class project created for the Video for Social Change course. She, too, credits Lewis for her success. “I’m very thankful for his help, support and guidance on this project, as well as throughout my undergrad degree work,” she said.

“Not in Vain” explores Indiana’s opioid crisis, a topic close to West’s heart. “Moving forward, it would be great to find a way to have this film shown in Indiana public schools,” West said. She pointed out that opioid abuse is a problem that is affecting many Hoosiers as early as high school, and she hopes that the film could create a dialogue with students.

The Media Arts and Science undergraduate degree with specialization in video production and sound design introduces students to the latest technical skills required in the video and sound industry and prepares them to develop, produce and ultimately deliver a professional-quality product.

“In the Media Arts and Science video courses, we educate students to create professional-level films that engage in important social issues. It is truly rewarding when we see our students get the recognition they deserve for their hard work,” Lewis said.

Greening IUPUI Grant now available

From Sustainability at IUPUI:

All IUPUI students, faculty, and staff are welcome to apply for a Greening IUPUI Grant. Greening IUPUI Grants are awarded one time per year to projects that further campus sustainability efforts. IUPUI dedicates a total of $50,000 annually to fund these projects. Applications are open now and will be accepted through February 1.

Proposals should focus on areas like planning and administration; academic; campus engagement; public engagement; operations; and health and wellness. They will be evaluated based on the potential improvement of IUPUI’s STARS score; long-term impact for IUPUI; high-impact learning experiences; visibility; student involvement; reasonable timeline and feasibility; and financial considerations. The full guidelines are available here, and you can preview the application here.

For more information or to apply, click here.

Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission to the USA honors IUPUI student club for contributions to community

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Abdullah Alzeer, middle, accepted the IUPUI Saudi Students Club’s award as the nation’s top organization from the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission to the USA.

The IUPUI Saudi Students Club was honored by the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission to the USA as the leading student organization in the country. The award recognized this group of Jags for its commitment to giving, community, and positive change.

During his 2016 term as president, doctoral student Abdullah Alzeer guided the Saudi Students Club through much of its outreach. It hosted 167 events, many of them social, but others focused on academics, community support, personal development, and cultural outreach. One key to this was the creation of Al-Majlis, or Saudi Clubhouse, which allowed for fellowship among IUPUI’s Saudi population and the city, regardless of national or religious background. This was the overarching mission of the Saudi Students Club.

Al-Majlis made a huge impact during Ramadan last year. Renting the building for the first time, the Saudi Students Club worked with the neighborhood to host a family-style Ramadan celebration. This included logistics as mundane as obtaining the use of parking lots to maintaining late-night quiet hours to encouraging community members to celebrate with the club.

“It was really one of those golden moments to me, when Muslims and Christians, despite their differences in religion, help each other to be more faithful to what they believe in and reach peace,” said Alzeer. “We had many guests from the neighborhood during our Ramadan breakfast.”

From May 2016 to May 2017, the IUPUI Saudi Students Club welcomed more than 5,000 people to events focusing on academics, community support, culture, personal development, social opportunities and sport. While a majority of the events were social activities, 23 percent concentrated on personal development that helped to build personal and academic skills of the Saudi community in Indianapolis.

It sounds simple on paper, but putting this outreach into action is rife with difficulties. Alzeer, however, sees only opportunities and is determined to make the most of his time in the United States while also helping other Saudi students to do the same.

IUPUI is host this fall to 385 students from Saudi Arabia. That contributes to the university’s record 2,087 international students, three times the 2000 academic year’s total, according to Chancellor Nasser H. Paydar in his State of the Campus address Nov. 7.

In May, the Saudi Students Club hosted Artal, an event dedicated to volunteering. The IUPUI club invited individuals from the nearly 370 Saudi clubs nationwide and provided a forum for speakers and poster sessions that showcased the importance of volunteering and highlighted ways the Saudi community can contribute philanthropically.

The IUPUI Saudi Students Club has also written a guidebook, in Arabic, to help fellow international students transition to the university and succeed academically. It includes a list of tutoring and other resources, what to expect from a variety of majors, frequently asked questions for defending a doctoral dissertation, and it even offers advice for when students need a Plan B for their time here.

During final exam week, the club reserved space at University Library for tutoring and motivation.

“We had one of the rooms with coffee and snacks with small, encouraging statements: ‘We love you.’ ‘You can make it.’ ‘You can do it,'” Alzeer said, laughing lightly. “People grabbed some coffee, chatted a little bit and then went back to study. We encouraged them to stay at the library instead of going out to restaurants where they realize they missed two valuable hours.”

Alzeer spends his personal time doing outreach as well, acting as an interpreter for local high schools, serving at food banks, and even translating an emergency preparedness program to Arabic for FEMA in 2013.

Alzeer’s motivation can be traced back to what he perceives as a need to change an image, both his own and that of Saudis around the world. He recalls the shock of 9/11. “I remember the country changed then,” he said. “We realized something was not right.”

Hence the drive for positive change, which for Alzeer is rooted in education. “More Saudi students started coming to the States for two reasons,” he said. “Number one is educating the community. We have a huge base of youth in Saudi Arabia, and the local universities cannot accept all of them. We need to find other places that can help to educate and accelerate the process of learning and educating the youth in Saudi Arabia. The second is to tell the world, and to tell ourselves, that there are other ways of accepted living in this world. We need to understand other cultures. We need to accept the differences. Many students, when they went to the States and studied and came back, became the basis of the reform we are seeing today in Saudi Arabia.”

Alzeer came to the United States seven years ago. He followed a language program in Washington, D.C., with a master’s degree in health informatics at Northern Kentucky University, where he helped win Best New Saudi Club honors in 2011. He’s now completing his Ph.D. in health informatics in the School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI and using his background in pharmaceuticals to develop a model that could predict opioid use disorder.

“I’ve had a great time, and great help from the American community in general, students and families.” He then added, referring to last year’s U.S. presidential election, “We were overwhelmed by kindness from the IUPUI campus. We felt the U.S. is not the place we used to know, but IUPUI helped reverse that.”

IU seeking institutional nominees for the Japan Foundation’s “Performing Arts Japan for North America” award

Blue Square

The Japan Foundation’s “Performing Arts Japan for North America” program is designed to provide financial assistance for non-profit organizations in the US and Canada that aim to introduce Japanese performing arts to local audiences. PAJ Touring Grants help present Japanese performing arts at multiple locations in the United States and Canada, with an emphasis on locations outside major metropolitan areas. PAJ Collaboration Grants help Japanese and American/Canadian artists develop new work, which will further an appreciation of Japanese culture when presented to American/Canadian audiences. The PAJ program offers two types of support:

  • The Touring Grant assists with the presentation of Japanese performing arts at multiple locations in the United States and/or Canada, with emphasis on locations outside major metropolitan areas where there is little exposure to Japanese performing arts.
  • The Collaboration Grant facilitates the collaboration of Japanese and American/Canadian artists so that they may create new work with the potential to develop into a touring project and further an appreciation of Japanese culture when presented to audiences in the United States and Canada.

Grants are determined on a cost-sharing basis and are awarded only to U.S.-based or Canada-based non-profit organizations and are subject to the relevant laws and regulations of the Japan Foundation. Applicants are eligible to apply for one project only through one of the two categories. Only one applicant from each Indiana University campus, so applications must go through the limited submissions process for each institution to determine its nominee.

To apply for IU Internal competition, please find the application at the IU Research Gateway website. The internal deadline for IUPUI is August 30, 2017.

The Berlin Prize is accepting 2018/2019 fellowship applications

The American Academy in Berlin invites applications for its residential fellowships for the academic year 2018/2019.

The Academy seeks to enrich transatlantic dialogues in the arts, humanities, and public policy through the development and communication of projects of the highest scholarly merit. For 2018/2019, the Academy is also interested in considering projects that address the themes of migration and social integration, as well as questions of race in comparative perspective.

For all projects, the Academy asks that candidates explain the relevance of a stay in Berlin to the development of their work.

Approximately 20 Berlin Prizes are conferred annually. Past recipients have included art historians, anthropologists, historians, musicologists, journalists, poets and writers, filmmakers, sociologists, legal scholars, economists, and public policy experts, among others. Fellowships are typically awarded for an academic semester. Bosch Fellowships in Public Policy may be awarded for shorter stays of six to eight weeks. Benefits include round-trip airfare, partial board, a $5,000 monthly stipend, and accommodations at the Academy’s lakeside Hans Arnhold Center in the Berlin-Wannsee district.

Fellowships are restricted to US citizens and permanent residents. Candidates in academic disciplines must have completed a PhD at the time of application. Candidates working in other fields—such as journalism, film, law, or public policy—must have equivalent professional degrees. Writers should have published at least one book at the time of application.

Please note that artists, composers, and poets are invitation-only competitions.

Following a peer-reviewed evaluation process, an independent Selection Committee reviews finalist applications. The 2018/2019 Berlin Prizes will be announced in late February 2018.

For further information and to apply online, please visit the website. The application deadline is Friday, September 29, 2017 (12 noon EST or 6 pm CET).

Indy Community Innovation Lab seeks independent researchers, artist facilitators

An independent researcher is needed to support a Community Innovation Lab, a collaborative effort between EmcArts and local conveners: Kheprw Institute, GroundWork Indy, and Spirit & Place (a project of The Polis Center, IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI). The Cultural Asset Landscape Researcher will identify local organizations and individuals working in and around Indianapolis at the intersection of the arts/culture and economic inclusion issues, as well as identify and summarize national and international case studies of exceptional arts practices addressing economic inclusion.

A national initiative managed by EmcArts, the Community Innovation Labs facilitate an unconventional approach that supports a group of local change agents in making progress on a complex challenge. Community stakeholders from different sectors work together in innovative ways in response to a specific local challenge. Arts-infused practices are central to the CIL approach to build trust, explore new possibilities, and advance strategies for complex adaptive systemic change. The Indy Star recently published an article about the Indianapolis lab.

The upcoming lab will take place from August 2017-April 2018. Applicants need not be available for the entirety of the lab. For more information or instructions on how to apply, visit the Indy Community Innovation Lab website. Applications are due July 14, 2017.

Community Competition to Prevent Islamophobia

Blue Square

The Millennium Chair of the Liberal Arts at IUPUI announces ten awards of $1,000 each to prevent Islamophobia, or anti-Muslim prejudice, discrimination, and violence, in Greater Indianapolis.

Highly original projects are sought from local writers, community activists, artists, religious congregations, public school teachers, dancers, community volunteers, philosophers, amateur historians, linguists, musicians, healers, social workers, poets, non-profit groups, and others. Projects can include performance, social media, debate, dialogue, the production of objects, sound, consciousness-raising, teaching, websites, and so on. They might focus on the political, social, cultural, or religious roots of Islamophobia, including anti-Muslim think tanks, federal surveillance and counter-intelligence, media bias, U.S. foreign policy, and cultural and religious stereotypes. Collaborations between Muslims and non-Muslims are especially welcome.

All individuals who are not currently employed by or enrolled at IUPUI are eligible to apply. Applicants must submit three- to four-page, double-spaced, carefully crafted proposals that outline (1) what the project is, (2) who will be involved, (3) who the audiences will be, (4) how the project will be accomplished, (5) where it will take place, (6) how it will be marketed, and (7) why it is likely to reduce anti-Muslim prejudice and discrimination. A timeline should be included.

Proposals are due by Sept. 1, 2017, with notification of awards expected by Sept. 15, 2017. All projects must be implemented sometime between October 1, 2017, and May 1, 2018. Please send inquiries and/or final proposals to Prof. Edward Curtis, ecurtis4@iupui.edu. Proposals must be sent as a Microsoft Word file or PDF attachment to an email. The email must include the applicant’s address and phone number. Half of the award will be payable immediately, with the other half contingent upon completion of the project.

2018-19 Core Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program now accepting applications

The competition for the 2018-19 Core Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program is now open. The Core Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program sends more than 500 American scholars and professionals annually to more than 125 countries, where they lecture and/or conduct research in a wide variety of academic and professional fields. Visit the CIES website for application details.

Please keep in mind that grant lengths vary and are specified in the award description, that grant benefits vary but generally include travel and living expenses for the awardee and accompanying dependents, that applications are open to all U.S. citizens, but permanent residents are not eligible, and that the application deadline is August 1, 2017.

The Catalog of Awards is available through the Fulbright website. You may also join the My Fulbright online community for updates and to access helpful resources for applicants.

For more information, visit the CIES website or contact the Fulbright representative on your campus. The IUPUI representative is Dr. Leslie Bozeman.

Joseph Taylor Excellence in Diversity Award Call for Nominations

taylor
Dr. Joseph T. Taylor

The Office of Equal Opportunity is excited to accept nominations for the Joseph T. Taylor Award for Excellence in Diversity. The awardee(s) will be selected from nominations or applications submitted by faculty, staff, or students recognizing exemplary IUPUI individuals, academic and support programs, events, policies, and activities that have led to one or more of the following:

  • Institutional Leadership and Commitment
  • Curricular and Co-Curricular Transformation
  • Campus Climate
  • Representational Diversity
  • IUPUI Community

The 2017 award will be conferred upon the recipient(s) during the 28th Annual Joseph T. Taylor Symposium on February 23, 2017. Application forms must be submitted no later than 5 p.m. on January 6, 2017. For more information and to access this year’s nomination form, click here.