American Creed Community Conversation Series

At a time when our country may feel divided, what are the hopes and beliefs that unite us as Americans? In partnership with the IUPUI Arts & Humanities Institute, the Carmel Clay Public Library is hosting discussions designed to engage our community in thoughtful and respectful dialogue. The conversation series will explore themes from American Creed, a PBS documentary featuring former Secretary of State Condeleeza Rice, historian David Kennedy, and a diverse groups of Americans as they explore what ideals we share in common as a nation.

Thursday May 23, 6:30-8:00pm
American Creed Community Conversation: We the People
Who are “we the people” and who gets to define the American creed? Join us for discussion on immigration facilitated by IUPUI faculty members.
Suggested background reading and viewing:
Jose Antonio Vargas, “My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant”
Brent and Craif Renaud, New York Times Documentaries, “Between Borders: American Migrant Crisis”

Thursday May 30, 6:30-8:00pm
American Creed Community Conversation: Civic Engagement
Join IUPUI faculty to consider what civic engagement means and the interplay between engagement at the local level and with the sprawling community that is the United States.
Suggested background viewing:
Eric Liu for TED-Ed, “How to Understand Power”

All programs will be held in the Carmel Clay Public Library Program Room and are free and open to the public. For a closer look at topics and suggested background materials for each event in this conversation series, please visit carmel.lib.in.us/americancreed.

American Creed: Community Conversations is a project of Citizen Film in partnership with the American Library Association and the National Writing Project, with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Carmel Clay Public Library was one of 50 US public libraries selected to take part in American Creed: Community Conversations.

Come check out these amazing events at the Carmel Clay Public Library! We’ll see you there!

Hilary Kahn to lead Office of International Affairs at IUPUI

INDIANAPOLIS — Hilary E. Kahn has been named IUPUI associate vice chancellor for international affairs as well as associate vice president for international affairs at Indiana University effective Sept. 1, subject to approval by the IU Board of Trustees. In addition, Kahn will serve on the faculty in the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI.

Kahn currently serves as assistant dean for international education and global initiatives and as the director of the Center for the Study of Global Change in the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies at IU Bloomington.

Hilary E. Kahn

Leading the campus’s efforts to internationalize curricula and enacting an internationalization plan will be at the top of Kahn’s priority list when she arrives in the IUPUI Office of International Affairs. Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer Kathy E. Johnson said Kahn’s expertise, research and leadership in international education will be an asset to the future of international programs at IUPUI.

“Dr. Kahn has cultivated an impressive national reputation associated with her knowledge, leadership and advocacy for international education. At the same time, she has demonstrated her capacity for being an effective, transparent, collaborative and approachable colleague across roles held on the Bloomington and IUPUI campuses,” Johnson said. “I’m confident she will be well prepared to make rapid progress when she joins us this fall.”

In this new role, Kahn will serve as a member of the Council of Deans, the Academic Deans group and the Forum Council at IUPUI. She will also be a member of the leadership team in the IU Office of the Vice President for International Affairs.

“I am delighted to have been selected to serve IUPUI and take its global identity to even greater heights,” Kahn said. “Building on what is already a strong foundation for international education, I look forward to working across campus and with other stakeholders to advance opportunities for internationalized learning, research, partnerships, and student and scholar mobility.”

Kahn is the immediate past president and an executive board member of the Association of International Education Administrators, and she serves on the advisory board for the Diversity & Democracy publication and on the global learning advisory council for the Association of American Colleges and Universities. She is the author of multiple articles and chapters, as well as three books.

Kahn received her master’s and doctoral degrees in anthropology from the University of Buffalo and her bachelor’s degree in anthropology from IU Bloomington.

Read the original story from IUPUI News

Herron Alumna Alice Guerin on Finding Her Artistic Niche

Alice Guerin. Rachel Enneking

Alice Guerin, after receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2013, quickly found a sector where she could continue her artistic practice: tattooing. Due to her incredible attention to detail and ability to do delicate, precise designs, Guerin’s business gained traction very quickly.

Today, Guerin only takes appointments, and for good reason: her parlor, Knot Eye Studio, has a incredibly high level of demand, and her appointment books currently closed until fall 2019. She has been featured in Indianapolis Monthly and The Good Trade, along with numerous other publications. Here, Guerin discusses her artistic process, inspirations, and more.

Mighty Dreams: Designing and Fostering Belonging in ‘America’

Rising global inequality, political instability, violence, food insecurity, climate change: these and other factors have resulted in a worldwide refugee crisis unprecedented in scale. From Syria to South Sudan, Myanmar to Guatemala, tens of millions of people around the world have left their homes in search of safety and survival. In the United States, fires, flooding, and lack of affordable housing and job opportunities are among the environmental crises and economic injustices influencing internal migration and sweeping demographic change within cities, states, and regions. With migration often painfully disrupting personal and collective understandings of culture and place, displaced, recently arrived, and changing communities are seeking new meaning and hope around what it means to live and belong in America and the world.

Despite the urgent challenges we face, we are also living in a time of renewed civic, activist, and human spirit. Indigenous peoples continue to fight for sovereignty, self-determination, and thriving ecological futures. Cross border and international immigrant rights coalitions are building sanctuaries and diverse coalitions to combat nativist ideology and violent state policy. Instead of giving up or retreating with despair, youthful and more seasoned artists, designers, scholars, and organizers are together creating spaces to heal, find a sense of belonging, and construct new ways of being, living, and working in community. This work requires compassion, courage, strength, experimentation, and an expansive imagination of the world as it could and should be.

This year Imagining America (IA) celebrates twenty years of supporting publicly engaged artists, designers, scholars, and organizers who imagine, study, and enact a more just and liberatory America and world. Inspired by the cultural landscape of New Mexico and the upcoming 2020 U.S. presidential elections, IA’s 20th Anniversary National Gathering will consider how we define, design, and foster belonging in our home communities and as a nation state. With belonging, indigeneity, and migration serving as framing concepts, IA invites proposals that advance public scholarship, dialogue, collaboration, research, programs, and advocacy on realizing an America that, as in Langston Hughes’ mighty dream, is the land it must be – a place of opportunity and equality for all. The gathering will explore such questions as:

●    How do our diverse relationships to land, displacement, and migration inform and interact with the ways we envision place and belonging – culturally, socially, politically, economically, spiritually, ecologically, and agriculturally?
●    How may Indigenous, traditional, cross-border, and community-based ways of knowing be used to shift how belonging is defined and designed, and who participates in this process?
●    In what ways can public memory, history, art, and design be used to address living legacies of oppression and to foster belonging within our institutions and communities?
●    Given that our own histories and narratives of land, belonging, and migration are often different from one another, how do we build cross-movement solidarities towards the long haul project of social change for a more just, equitable and liberatory future?

IA also welcomes proposals that provide participants with new skills or tools, create opportunities for collaboration, and/or more generally strengthen publicly engaged knowledge and practices that integrate the methodologies of arts, design, and the humanities.

For general questions on the proposal process before submitting your proposal, please join us on May 14, 2019 from 10-11 AM PT for an informational webinar.

Instructions on how to submit your proposal are available on IA’s website atwww.imaginingamerica.org >> National Gathering >> Submit a Proposal.
The submission deadline is Friday, June 7, 2019 at 11:59 PM PT.

Sponsorship Opportunity:
Would you or your organization like to sponsor event programming or travel to the IA 20th Anniversary National Gathering? Sponsorship comes with opportunities to promote your work while also supporting students and community based participation in the gathering. For more information on sponsorship, please contact Erika Prasad, Associate Director of Membership and Development: eaprasad@ucdavis.edu.

Learn more about the Session Format here.

Imagining America 20th Anniversary National Gathering
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Friday, October 18, 2019 – Sunday, October 20, 2019
Submission Deadline: Friday, June 7 11:59 PM PT

Contested Image by Laura Holzman

Join us May 22nd from 5:30-6:30 at Indy Reads Books to hear Laura M. Holzman discuss her new book, Contested Image!

About Contested Image
Thomas Eakins’s 1875 painting The Gross Clinic, the Rocky statue, and the art collection under the stewardship of the Barnes Foundation are all iconic in Philadelphia for different reasons. But around the year 2000, they emerged as subjects of extended – and heated – controversies about their “appropriate” location. By revisiting these debates, Contested Image demonstrates how public reception transformed prominent elements of Philadelphia’s visual culture. The book’s insights into the public envisioning of place will resonate with readers regardless of where they call home.

About Laura Holzman
Laura M. Holzman is an associate professor of art history and museum studies at Indiana University, IUPUI, where she is also appointed Public Scholar of Curatorial Practices and Visual Art. She holds a PhD and MA in visual studies from the University of California, Irvine, and a BA with highest honors from Swarthmore College. Her work is dedicated to activating art history, its methods, and its related institutions as tools for strengthening communities, expanding democratic discourse, and creating a more reflective society.

May 22 | 5:30-6:30 PM
Indy Reads Books
911 Massachusetts Ave.; Indianapolis, IN

We’ll see you there!

IUPUI Study Inspires Play About Discrimination Toward African American Women In Central Indiana

Tiffany Gilliam performs during a dress rehearsal for the play "Same Blood: Stories of Inequity from 10 Black Women Living in Central Indiana" at the Phoenix Theatre Cultural Centre. A free performance of the play will take place at 7 p.m. May 14 at the Phoenix. Photo by Tim Brouk, Indiana University
Tiffany Gilliam performs during a dress rehearsal for the play “Same Blood: Stories of Inequity from 10 Black Women Living in Central Indiana” at the Phoenix Theatre Cultural Centre. A free performance of the play will take place at 7 p.m. May 14 at the Phoenix. Photo by Tim Brouk, Indiana University

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Issues of discrimination experienced by African American women in Central Indiana are taking center stage — literally — as part of a collaborative project between an IUPUI researcher and an Indianapolis-based playwright.

Sally Wasmuth, an assistant professor in the School of Health and Human Sciences, said she had been reading news and research studies that reported troubling statistics related to race and health care, suggesting biases held by health care workers could be contributing to negative health outcomes for African American women. She wanted to bring greater attention to health inequities faced by African American women in Indianapolis, so she partnered with Lauren Briggeman, the artistic director of a local theater company, to bring their stories to life.

Wasmuth interviewed 10 African American women living in the Indianapolis area about discrimination they had experienced in different health care settings. Briggeman then took those interviews and wove them into a play that she wrote, directed and produced through Summit Performance Indianapolis, a local theater company focused on exploring the lives and experiences of women.

The play, “Same Blood: Stories of Inequity from 10 Black Women Living in Central Indiana,” premiered May 7 at the Phoenix Theatre Cultural Centre in downtown Indianapolis. A second showing at the Phoenix Theatre will be free and open to the public at 7 p.m. May 14. After the performance, a short panel discussion will take place to talk about the play and answer questions from the audience.

Indianapolis resident Sherry Harris, one of the 10 women interviewed by Wasmuth, said watching a play inspired by her experiences with discrimination was difficult, but she thinks talking about these problems more openly is a necessary step toward positive change.

“I believe our community needs to hear this,” Harris said. “People want to turn around and say racism doesn’t exist. They don’t want to talk about it. They don’t want it to be a conversation. But it exists. I don’t know if it will ever change, but it exists.”

Actors and director Lauren Briggeman, bottom right, practice during a dress rehearsal for "Same Blood: Stories of Inequity from Black Women Living in Central Indiana" on May 7 at the Phoenix Theatre. The play was inspired by an IUPUI researcher's interviews with local African American women about the discrimination they experience in their everyday lives. Photos by Tim Brouk, Indiana University
Actors practice during a dress rehearsal for “Same Blood: Stories of Inequity from Black Women Living in Central Indiana” on May 7 at the Phoenix Theatre. The play was inspired by an IUPUI researcher’s interviews with local African American women about the discrimination they experience in their everyday lives. Photos by Tim Brouk, Indiana University

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wasmuth said that although she had planned to focus the interviews on health care inequity, discrimination was so prevalent in the lives of the women she talked to that her focus expanded to inequities found in multiple aspects of their lives, such as shopping at the grocery store, checking in at a doctor’s office or attending classes at a university.

“I think it’s important to highlight how vast the problem is,” Wasmuth said. “The thing that I was struck by was how often and how constant and how pervasive experiences of discrimination were.”

For some women, discrimination affected where they were looking to receive health care or from whom they were seeking health care services, she said. Other women actually worked in the health care system, so they were able to talk about experiences of discrimination not only as a patient, but also as a colleague.

Briggeman said she hopes hearing these women’s stories as part of a theatrical performance will help community members connect with their struggles on a more personal level.

“I think theater is the greatest creator of empathy,” Briggeman said. “What’s exciting to me is the honesty of each individual’s story, just being able to step back and hear that.”

Wasmuth said a goal of the project is to spark community conversation and action that leads to improved health outcomes for African American women in Indiana.

“One of the best ways that we can start to reduce some of these problems in our society is by unveiling what’s happening,” Wasmuth said. “By coming to this play, people will really get firsthand perspectives about things happening in our community right now, in 2019.”

This project was made possible by a nearly $25,000 Trailblazer Award from the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute’s Community Health Partnerships program. It is part of Wasmuth’s ongoing research on population health and the use of arts-based initiatives to promote occupational justice.

Read the original story from IUPUI NewsAndrea Zeek 

Charles Goodlett, Elizabeth Kryder-Reid Appointed Chancellor’s Professors At IUPUI

From left: Chancellor's Professors Charles Goodlett and Elizabeth Kryder-Reid. Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana University
From left: Chancellor’s Professors Charles Goodlett and Elizabeth Kryder-Reid. Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana University

IUPUI Chancellor Nasser H. Paydar has appointed Charles Goodlett, a professor in the School of Science, and Elizabeth Kryder-Reid, a professor in the School of Liberal Arts, as prestigious Chancellor’s Professors.

The Chancellor’s Professorship is the most distinguished appointment a faculty member can attain at IUPUI, recognizing extensive records of accomplishment and leadership in teaching, research and service. These senior faculty members retain the title throughout their appointments at IUPUI and comprise a special group of mentors and advisors for colleagues.

“Professor Goodlett and professor Kryder-Reid have dedicated themselves to outstanding research and education at IUPUI, serving as mentors, teachers and scholars for more than 20 years,” Paydar said. “Their appointments as Chancellor’s Professors honor all that they have done to enhance students’ educational experiences, to contribute to the vibrant intellectual community on our campus, and to support the advancements of their disciplines more broadly.”

Chancellor’s Professors are faculty who have demonstrated excellence in their support of IUPUI as an academic community of exceptional quality and integrity and have distinguished themselves in their disciplines through the creation and application of knowledge. Through their leadership and service in their departments, in their schools and across campus, they have reinforced and advanced IUPUI’s mission and vision.

Charles Goodlett
Goodlett, who arrived at IUPUI in 1993, is a professor in the Addiction Neuroscience program in the Department of Psychology in the School of Science.

Much of his research over the last quarter-century has focused on the effects of alcohol on the developing brain using quantitative neuroanatomy and behavioral methods in animal models of human fetal exposure. His work has shown that prenatal alcohol-induced brain damage and subsequent impairments in learning are directly related to blood alcohol content, with binge-like patterns of consumption proving especially damaging to the developing brain. His work showed that during early development of one important region of the brain, the cerebellum, there are relatively well-defined periods of enhanced vulnerability to damage from binge alcohol exposure.

Goodlett is continuing to research neurodevelopment disorders in a collaborative project with Randall Roper studying a mouse model of Down syndrome, while also fueling his passions for mentoring and teaching.

“Service to the campus is what I really value right now; I have dedicated a lot of time in the last five years working on faculty issues through faculty governance,” said Goodlett, who has also served for many years on the IUPUI Research Affairs Committee, including being chairperson in 2008-10. “Mentoring junior faculty is a concern of mine — making sure they’re given the right support and that they are able to navigate the academic landscape to achieve the full potential of their career trajectory.

“We have a very strong neuroscience undergraduate program, and one of the things that we are working on — that I’m taking a bit of a lead on — is developing a capstone research laboratory course that will allow students to gain experience in independent, hypothesis-driven behavioral neuroscience research.

“Being appointed as a Chancellor’s Professor motivates me even more to be a good academic citizen. It encourages me to continue and expand my efforts.”

Elizabeth Kryder-Reid
When Kryder-Reid, a professor of anthropology and museum studies in the School of Liberal Arts, arrived on campus in 1998, museum studies was only an undergraduate certificate program, and when a computer with a student roster was inadvertently sent to university surplus, she had to track down the 11 certificate students individually.

Today, thanks in large part to Kryder-Reid’s leadership as director from 1998-2013, the IUPUI museum studies program is one of the largest in the country, with undergraduate and graduate offerings and a number of dedicated museum studies faculty that few other schools can match.

Kryder-Reid is currently director of the Cultural Heritage Research Center. Her research explores how people appropriate the tangible and intangible remnants of the past and mobilize them in social relationships.

“I’ve always been drawn to questions about the connections of past and present — how we remember the past and represent it in the material forms of public history sites and landscapes as well as museum collections and exhibits,” she said. “The compelling part is trying to understand not just the stories we tell, but why we tell them and how they relate to our contemporary relationships.”

Last month, her book “California Mission Landscapes: Race, Memory, and the Politics of Heritage” won the 2019 Elisabeth Blair MacDougall Book Award from the Society of Architectural Historians, which recognizes the most distinguished work of scholarship in the history of landscape architecture or garden design. The book, published in 2016 by University of Minnesota Press, has enjoyed widespread acclaim with awards from groups in landscape studies, history and landscape architecture history.

“I thanked my students in the foreword to that book. Conversations in class about the missions, about these broader questions of narratives, memory, race and politics, as well as about museums and anthropology sites, shaped my thinking about the mission landscapes,” Kryder-Reid said. “Teaching and scholarship are integrally related; each one informs the other.”

Kryder-Reid’s current work includes an environmental justice project, part of a broader international collaboration with the Humanities Action Lab that will include an exhibit coming to Indianapolis’ Central Library next January and public programs developed by IUPUI students.

“I know some of the people from the School of Liberal Arts who have served as Chancellor’s Professors and have admired the way they have crafted their careers to produce important scholarship and be amazing teachers while serving the campus,” Kryder-Reid said. “I’m honored to work in their company.”

Read the original story from IUPUI News’ John Schwarb 

Virtual Reality Game Built By IUPUI Students Challenges Players To Escape Breakout High

Video by Samantha Thompson, Indiana University

Gamers in Indianapolis have a new virtual world to play in, one built by a team of IUPUI media arts and science students where players must use their puzzle-solving wits to escape the clutches of a villain who has locked them inside a school.

The game, “Breakout High,” is available for play at BlueWall VR, a virtual reality arcade at 5967 E. 82nd St. in Castleton.

After donning a VR headset, players find they have been locked inside a classroom in Breakout High by the villainous Mr. Jack. Players escape from a series of locked rooms, and eventually the school, by solving puzzles.

The students developed the game as part of a team-driven project-based learning course, N420 Multimedia Project Development. The student team was paired with BlueWall VR as a client, said Joshua Kottka, who led the student team as product manager.

“They wanted a VR game, so we met with them for a couple of weeks to brainstorm ideas about what type of game we should develop,” Kottka said. “We eventually narrowed it down to a puzzle-solving game, like an escape room.”

“I think we were all pretty excited to work on a virtual reality game,” Kottka said. “Virtual reality and augmented reality games are still not quite as popular as other types of video game genres, but they are new and emerging. The really interesting thing about virtual reality is that it is still super-new.”

Jonathan Renninger, who served as lead programmer, said learning the ins and outs of virtual reality programming was the most interesting part of the project. “I had to do a lot of research and learn how to program that kind of stuff,” he said.

That included designing puzzles that lead a player from one step to the next, such as a bookcase on which books have to be placed in a certain order, Renninger said.

“Breakout High” may be the first game Kottka and Renninger developed for a client, but it won’t be their last.

After he graduates from IUPUI May 11, Kottka said, he will be applying for internships at gaming studios around the country: “That’s really my goal after graduation, making more games and stuff.”

He believes his work on “Breakout High” will give him a leg up on that quest. “This will definitely help. For a year, I was project manager for ‘Breakout High.’ So I have that to put on my resume.”

Renninger, who is also graduating, hopes his experience developing “Breakout High” will burnish his portfolio. “It also helped me learn a bit more about how to work with a client. So I hope further on down the line this will help me deal with clients and with programming for other games in the future.”

Read the original story from IUPUI News’ Rich Schneider

 

Associate Professor Laura Holzman On How Public Art Can Redefine The Urban Identities Of Our Cities

 

Laura Holzman in her office at Herron School of Art and Design. Herron School of Art and Design

Laura Holzman, associate professor of art history and museum studies and public scholar of curatorial practices and visual art, has just authored her first book, which was eleven years in the making.

Published in April by Temple University Press, “Contested Image: Defining Philadelphia for the Twenty-First Century” investigates how Thomas Eakin’s 1875 painting “The Gross Clinic,” the Rocky statue, and the Barnes Foundation each helped create a new identity for the city of Philadelphia.

We sat down with Holzman to discuss her book, the origins of her research, and what it feels like to finally see it in print. The interview has been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.

HERRON: Tell us about your art historical approach for writing the book.

LAURA HOLZMAN: “Contested Image” is about contemporary visual culture, but it’s also about how historical objects from different points in time are contemporary to one another when we look at the roles that they’ve played more recently in regard to Philadelphia’s changing identity. I focus on big debates about where art belongs in the city from approximately 1990 to 2010. But some of the episodes start brewing in the 1980s and others trail into 2012.

I couldn’t have articulated this when I started working on the project, but the mode of art history scholarship that I am really interested in is public scholarship. What that means is doing scholarship that’s meaningful and shareable outside of academia and written in a way that is accessible. It can also mean scholarship that’s generated in collaboration with people outside of a university – that’s the work I do now.

My book looks like very traditional scholarship because it’s a book published by a university press and written by only one person. But my research questions didn’t come from conversations that were happening inside academia; they came directly from conversations that were happening outside in the world. I’d first heard about these issues on the radio and while sitting on the train in Philadelphia, listening to the people around me. People were having really passionate conversations about where art belongs.

Some of these conversations were divisive. They made me wonder, what’s really going on? How can I use my resources as a scholar to interpret this discourse constructively? My professional experience in Philadelphia’s arts and culture sector allowed me to develop a sensitivity to the issues at stake as well as understanding of who the major players are and how these stories unfolded. As I offer my own interpretation of each episode, I also try to honor the voices of the people who participated in these public exchanges about issues they cared very deeply about. I see this book as my way of contributing to those conversations.

HERRON: What’s your connection to Philadelphia?

HOLZMAN: I’ve spent a lot of my life in and around Philadelphia – visiting family, going to college, working with arts and culture organizations. My experiences there shaped how I approached the material in the book.

When I worked at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and so I walked up the Rocky steps almost every day on my way to work. It was hard not to think about the relationship between the Rocky statue and the site of the museum.

I was also working at the museum when Thomas Jefferson University sold “The Gross Clinic.” The university had made a deal with philanthropist and arts patron Alice Walton, who was collecting art for the Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. The university said, ‘Ok, you guys can buy the painting for $68 million, unless a local institution can match the price.’ Oh, and they told local institutions, ‘You have 45 days to match that enormous price.’ There was a massive fundraising effort and a huge public relations campaign to generate the interest and the dollars to purchase the painting. With support from that campaign, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts jointly purchased the artwork.

I wasn’t thinking about it in an academic way at the time, but I was steeped in the environment of what was going on because of my job as a press relations coordinator. One of my responsibilities was to keep track of all the press clips that were generated about the institution. I’m a curious person, so I read them all. And then I didn’t really think much of it. When I went to graduate school, I revisited the newspaper articles and blogs about the painting. I thought, ‘There’s something going on here that people aren’t talking about’ and that was the hook for me and this research project.

HERRON: Is that what you went to graduate school to study?

HOLZMAN: Not at all. There’s a good story about that, actually. During my first quarter in the interdisciplinary PhD program in visual studies at UC Irvine [University of California, Irvine], I was waiting in the department office and one of the professors walked into the room. I casually mentioned that I’d noticed she would be teaching a seminar on museums, cultural memory, and history. She responded by saying, ‘I’m so glad you’ll be taking it!’ So, I enrolled in the class because I felt I’d made some kind of unintentional verbal commitment to take the course.

For the research project, we could write about anything we wanted that related to the subject of the seminar. I just kept thinking about “The Gross Clinic” and I had to get it out of my system. I wrote the paper and, I’m not kidding, it was the easiest first draft I’ve ever written. It was like the story was writing itself.

HERRON: What kinds of memories did you study during your research?

HOLZMAN: One of the things I noticed from reading all of those press clips and blog posts was that people were making it really personal when they were talking about “The Gross Clinic” and how it belongs in Philadelphia. For example, somebody said that it would be almost like losing a friend if the painting were to leave Philadelphia. There was this very personal language of memory and trauma that resonated with themes we’d examined in the class, so it came together as a really interesting example of memory practices related to museum collection practices.

HERRON: So, how did your short seminar paper turn into a 200-page book?

HOLZMAN: I ended up revising and expanding it fairly substantially for my master’s thesis. I revised and expanded it again for a chapter in my dissertation. Then, I revised and expanded it again for the book. Along the way, I added chapters about other prominent public conversations about where art belongs in Philadelphia, and I learned that the stories of “The Gross Clinic,” the Barnes Collection, and the Rocky statue are deeply intertwined with one another and with Philadelphia’s identity.

When I was trying to figure out what I wanted to write about, my dissertation advisor said, ‘Make sure it’s something you’re really okay with thinking about for ten years.’ I thought, ‘Pshh, ten years.’ The first words that I typed for this research were in 2008. It’s really been eleven years!

HERRON: How does it feel to finally see the book in front of you?

HOLZMAN: When I first held it in my hands I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is really a thing.’ There were definitely times when I thought this was not going to be a thing. Writing is really hard and the process of writing a book is very complicated. Enough of the steps are beyond the author’s control that it can feel like it might never manifest into anything. It is really cool to have this physical evidence that I completed the project.

I’m excited to have the book out in the world. I’ve published segments of the book previously, but now people can know the other parts of the story. It’s also a little bit scary, in part because of the way I’ve been doing scholarship for the past few years, which involves a lot of collaboration with stakeholders along the way. But with this, I’ve put it out in the world and, sure, it’s gone through academic peer review, but somebody might read this book and see their name in it because they gave a quote to a journalist and now it’s in the book. I wonder, is that person going to appreciate the way that I used their language? I hope that they will. I feel the weight of the responsibility of writing about people’s lives.

HERRON: What impact do you hope to make with “Contested Image?” What do you hope readers will take away from the book?

HOLZMAN: I think that people across the country and internationally can learn a lot from looking at my research in the book. We can learn about how people are using visual culture to define the places where they spend time. I also want to contribute to a shift in ways of thinking about which places are valuable for people to study from a distance. For example, you asked me earlier about my connection to Philadelphia. Would you have asked a similar question if this book were about New York?

Since I moved to Indianapolis, I’ve seen a lot of things that remind me of what I know about Philadelphia from the 1990s and the 2000s as the city started to change the way it was talking about itself and as the city started to invest in different areas. Philadelphia has major issues that it’s still working out, so I don’t want to imply that Philadelphia is perfect. But I think there’s a valuable lesson in the ways Philadelphia embraced the arts and culture sector as a major element of its new identity.

Indianapolis would really benefit from following a similar lead and recognizing that the arts and culture are central to making a place a vibrant and rewarding place to live, work, and visit. Arts and culture can look like different things for different people. We benefit from having a variety of those things, but we also benefit from truly embracing the possibilities that they offer.

Read the original story from Herron School of Art + Design