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 

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

Mother Nature Inspired IUPUI Students’ Design For A Safer Football Helmet

The thick peel of a pomelo was one of nature's bio-inspired designs the students examined.
The thick peel of a pomelo was one of nature’s bio-inspired designs the students examined.

Two IUPUI students drew upon the wisdom of Mother Nature to create biologically inspired designs that could be used to create a safer football helmet.

Their research has been published in the Society of Automotive Engineering International Journal of Transportation Safety.

The student authors of the paper, “Cellular Helmet Liner Design through Bio-Inspired Structures and Topology Optimization of Compliant Mechanism Lattices,” are Jacob DeHart, a media arts and science student in the School of Informatics and Computing, and Joel Najmon, an engineering student in the School of Engineering and Technology.

Zebulun Wood, a lecturer in media arts and science, and Andres Tovar, an associate professor of mechanical and energy engineering and an assistant professor of biomedical engineering, are co-authors and co-directors of this research project.

“Our research and design algorithms show innovative, energy-absorbing cellular helmet liners,” Najmon said. “Cellular helmet liners are ideal for impact energy absorption, as their structures can mimic the excellent absorbing capabilities of foam and energy protective biological structures while maintaining the ability to be engineered for specific impact, dynamic responses.”

The two students were given the reins to experiment and explore different ways of making something that could be useful to people, DeHart said. “I took a more interpretative look at nature, mimicking functions and forms from nature, while Joel took a more scientific one, putting numbers into a program to get results.”

This work shows lessons learned from bio-inspired designs using protective structures such as pomelo peel, nautilus shell and woodpecker skull, Tovar said. “Our work explores a design approach to tailor the response of a cellular material subject to impact, an approach that offers the potential to mitigate head injury by decreasing acceleration, decreasing penetration and increasing specific energy absorption.”

“What this study really gets to is that nature, through millions of years of innovation and evolution, knows best,” Wood said. “We took some of nature’s hardest surfaces — surfaces that could be translated to helmet design — and re-created them in a way that can be simulated in engineering software.”

Nature may have provided inspiration for the cellular designs, but it took the students months to figure out how the bio-inspired shapes developed by DeHart could be re-created in a way that they could be used by Najmon in engineering simulation software that showed whether their helmet liner would reduce risk of injury.

The challenge the two students faced, Wood said, was to learn how to create geometric shapes that were inspired by nature but could also be simulated in engineering software. “Until our experiment, that was very difficult to do. It’s still difficult to do. Now IUPUI knows how to get those shapes to work together.”

The kind of collaboration that enabled the students to bridge the gap between the domains of media arts and science and engineering could only happen at a campus like IUPUI that encourages people in different fields to work together, Wood said.

The helmet liner study was supported by a grant from the Sports Innovation Institute at IUPUI.

Read the original article from IUPUI NewsJohn Schwarb and Rich Schneider

Apply to Participate in the 2019-20 Religion, Spirituality & the Arts Seminar

The Religion, Spirituality, and the Arts Program (RSA) is a program of the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute that brings together artists, religious leaders, religious communities, humanities experts, and a broad range of publics from diverse backgrounds and disciplinary perspectives for sustained study, analysis, and discussion of religious texts in a classroom environment. Directed by Rabbi Sandy Sasso, these textual discussions, which explore the varieties of religious experience and understanding, provide the inspiration for creating new artistic works (e.g. music, poetry, fiction, drama, visual art, dance). Artists share their creations through exhibitions and presentations to members of the Central Indiana community, including religious organizations, congregations, schools, libraries, and community groups.

2019-20 Theme

We will explore the story of Jonah in the Bible and the Quran and consider a variety of themes including the arbitrariness of unwarranted compassion and the desire to escape calls to human responsibility. When others cry out, Jonah runs away or sleeps. Might we see contemporary responses to crises through Jonah’s actions? What about the human desire to flee distasteful obligations? Through visual arts, poetry, and music we will explore the symbolism of the big fish as “reassuring womb” or “terrifying tomb” and the strange prophet who hates change but nevertheless brings it about in the end.

Faculty

The faculty list for the 2018-19 seminar is still growing. So far, the faculty include

  • Anila Quayyum Agha, Associate Professor of Drawing and Illustration in the Herron School of Art and Design at IUPUI

  • Julia Muney Moore, Director of Public Art for the Arts Council of Indianapolis

  • Sandy Sasso, Rabbi Emerita of Congregation Beth-El Zedeck

  • Steven Stolen Host of WFYI’s Stolen Moments

  • Shari Wagner, Author and Indiana Poet Laureate (2016-2017)

  • Joseph Tucker Edmonds, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and Religious Studies at IUPUI

Meetings

Sessions will be held for 2 1/2 hours weekly for a total of eight weeks and will meet evenings from 6:00–8:30 p.m. on 9/19, 9/26, 10/3, 10/10, 11/7, 12/12, 1/9 or 1/16, 2/6

How to Apply

Applications for this seminar will be accepted from April 29 to May 28, 2019.

Applicants may be anyone in the community who is active (as a professional or amateur) in the artistic disciplines. Selected applicants must be able to make a commitment to attend all seminar sessions and engage in open and respectful dialogue. Seminar participants will produce creative work to be performed and/or exhibited in a public forum. Seminar participants will receive a $150 stipend at the conclusion of the group exhibition.

Application Form

To apply to be an artist-participant in the current seminar, please submit your application using the online form.

In addition to basic demographic information, the form asks you to answer the following questions:

      • How do you see your art form interacting with a religious text?

      • How do you imagine this experience will impact your creative work?

You will also need to upload

      • An artist resume

      • Three examples of your work

For more information, please visit our website! 

Spring Break Around the World 2019

During spring break, more than 160 IUPUI students experienced the world through study abroad, with “classrooms” ranging from museums to the beach to the rainforest. The following four program locations highlight how students explored different dimensions of their fields of study, conducted service projects and more.

Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Twelve Honors College students from a variety of majors journeyed to beautiful Guanacaste, Costa Rica, for the annual Honors College Service Learning program. The service portion of the trip was divided into two groups working at Cartagena and Tempate elementary schools, allowing the students to go beyond the textbook and get an in-depth understanding of the current education system in Costa Rica.

The first group taught a variety of English lessons — greetings, body parts, food and nutrition. The second group assisted with teaching the importance of hygiene and best dental practices.

“Words cannot describe the feeling of getting to see how excited the students were to learn English from us,” student Amber Greaney shared. “One day we walked in, and all the students started chanting ‘English, English, English’ all together. Although we were the ones doing service, I felt like I gained more from the experience than I could ever give to them. This trip was truly the best week of my life.”

The group also participated in two language exchanges with local universities, practicing their Spanish skills and making friends with local Santa Cruz students. The group saw why Costa Rica is famous for ecotourism, receiving a tour of the Diria coffee plantation, hiking the rainforest surrounding the Miravalles volcano, and taking a natural mud bath followed by a dip in natural hot and cold springs.

“Before visiting Costa Rica, I had always seen myself as belonging to the United States solely,” student Lilly Pollard said. “Every individual I met in Costa Rica was so incredibly inviting and kind. I was able to make an impact on individuals in another country by volunteering at schools. My experience made me expand my thoughts of what makes a community, helping me grow and become a better global citizen.”

Buenos Aires, Argentina

The Kelley School of Business‘ Argentina: Corporate Social Responsibility program exposed students to the economic and political history of Argentina, the social issues that its population faces today, and how businesses are helping to address those issues. The class completed a service-learning component and met with a variety of Argentine businesses.

“In discussion with these companies, I gained an understanding of how these businesses contribute toward the three pillars of sustainability,” shared program participant Vidula Gongade. “I also had an incredible volunteer experience with Proyecto Agua Segura, a company that creates solutions for the water crisis in the rural areas. My group and I visited a local school to build a rainwater-harvesting system with water filters and a vertical garden irrigation system.”

London

Two IUPUI programs based their courses in the United Kingdom’s capital city, a multicultural bastion with approximately 9 million inhabitants. With a timely topic, the Kelley School’s U.K.: Brexit, Business and Brits program explored how business is conducted in the U.K., examining the purpose and structure of the European Union and the potential impacts of Brexit.

“Studying abroad was one of the best decisions I made at IUPUI,” said Kelley student Gauri Nagaraj, who participated in the Brexit program. “I met so many new people, learned a lot of new things and explored the city of London — without Google Maps! It was an amazing experience to be in a city so full of history and culture.”

The second London program, offered by the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health, took a look at the U.K.’s National Health Service for this year’s Health Systems Around the World course. Students visited London-area health facilities, met with local faculty, completed a public health scavenger hunt and toured historical sites directly related to health systems, including the Broad Street pump, site of the famous cholera outbreak of 1854.

Copenhagen, Denmark

Herron School of Art and Design‘s Exploring Art and Design in Denmark program allowed students to experience the public and private spaces that embody a people-centered approach to daily life in the Scandinavian city of Copenhagen. Students attended lectures from leading design groups with an emphasis on service design and had the opportunity to experience hygge firsthand by cooking a Danish and American meal in the home of some Danish hosts.

“Being exposed to well-designed solutions that address a particular problem has had the biggest influence on me,” student Caila Lutz reflected. “I am now confident that I can provide techniques and ideas similar to the ones used in Denmark for problem-solving in the United States. For example, at the airport, instead of scanning your ticket when you start boarding, you scan your ticket to get into a seating area when you first arrive at the gate, making the boarding process quicker and less stressful.

“I’ve learned so much from studying abroad, but with the growing city, there will always be more to learn.”

Read the original article from IUPUI News’ Mandy Bray

Reading at the Table with Dr. Wendy Vogt

Dr. Wendy Vogt

Reading at the table will be presented by Wendy Vogt. Wendy Vogt, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of anthropology at IUPUI. In 2012, she received her doctorate from the School of Anthropology at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Her research interests include politically engaged anthropology., migration, transit journeys, violence, political economy, human rights and transnational feminism. She teaches courses on Cultural Anthropology, Race & Ethnicity, Gender & Sexuality, Migration, Ethnographic Methods, Anthropological Theory, Applied Anthropology and International Studies.

Lives in Transit chronicles the dangerous journeys of Central American migrants in transit through Mexico. Drawing on fieldwork in humanitarian aid shelters and other key sites, the book examines the multiple forms of violence that migrants experience as their bodies, labor, and lives become implicated in global and local economies that profit from their mobility as racialized and gendered others. At the same time, it reveals new forms of intimacy, solidarity and activism that have emerged along transit routes over the past decade. Through the stories of migrants, shelter workers and local residents, Vogt encourages us to reimagine transit as both a site of violence and precarity as well as social struggle and resistance.

Please register in advance

Call in reservations are welcome at 317-274-7014

Buffet Lunch: $13
(Desert and soft drinks not included)

Tuesday April 9th, 2019
11:30am-1pm
UniversityClub Rm200
875W.NorthSt.
Indianapolis, IN 46202

Marcher, Walker, Pilgrim with Ed Fallon

On March 1, 2014, Ed Fallon set out with fifty other climate activists on the Great March for Climate Action. The march spanned eight months, starting in Los Angeles and finishing in Washington, DC. Five years after the march, his new book Marcher, Walker, Pilgrim tells the story of their journey.

Ed Fallon is an American activist, politician, talk show host, and author. He served as a member of the Iowa General Assembly from 1993 to 2006.

Co-sponsored by the IUPUI Office of Sustainability and Earth Charter Indiana.

RSVP NOW!

Archives fortified by more than 50 years of IUPUI history

University associate archivist Stephen E. Towne checks the contents of one of the hundreds of boxes containing records, memos, photographs and blueprints in the IUPUI archives. Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana University

Nestled in the lower level of University Library, the Ruth Lilly Special Collections and Archives has been an IUPUI 50th Anniversary hot spot.

With tall ceilings, retractable shelves for optimal space-saving, and a temperature- and humidity-controlled atmosphere, the archives are the go-to for decades-old photographs, data and documentation of early IUPUI planning.

“Our job in the archives is to collect administrative, historical and legal records that have long-term or permanent value for the university,” said Stephen E. Towne, associate university archivist. “We do this for a variety of reasons — one, to know what the university has done in the past and build on the future. Two, people want to study this institution historically, so they come here to do research.”

The collection is always growing, with boxes of letters, memos, reports and blueprints received every year. The latest includes work from Harris Wofford, the former senator and close advisor to Martin Luther King Jr. and President John F. Kennedy.

The Ruth Lilly Special Collections and Archives has been busy during IUPUI’s 50th-year celebration.

The archives are open to IUPUI faculty, staff and students for research purposes. Just contact the office and get to work in the reading room.

More than 50 years

While IUPUI just celebrated its official 50th birthday on Jan. 24, programs go well before 1969. Records from the IU School of Medicine, the School of Health and Human Sciences, and the School of Nursing have roots reaching back more than 100 years ago.

Records recent and old are stored in boxes, which contain meticulously labeled manila folders. The aisles are organized in broad categories: IUPUI faculty, School of Medicine, and so on. The shelves open at the push of a button or the twist of a wheel.

‘Hine’s Quarters’

Towne said most users of the archives seek old photographs. Early shots of campus, head shots of IUPUI’s founders and images that display IUPUI’s growth are popular. Some photos have amusing stories. An exterior of a small building, for example, could have an amazing story behind it. Take a small office that once stood at 1219 W. Michigan St., near what are now School of Dentistry parking lots.

One of many in the archives, this aisle contains dozens of boxes containing thousands of records, photographs and letters from beyond IUPUI’s 50 years. Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana University

“This is where the first IUPUI chancellor, Maynard Hine, had his offices for a while,” Towne explained. “It was a Curley’s Cleaners, and it had various nicknames — ‘Hine’s Quarters’ and then ‘The Ex-Chancellery’ because Hine occupied this building after he resigned as chancellor.”

Plater’s memos

William Plater, a longtime executive vice chancellor and dean of the faculties, left a lasting impression on IUPUI during his tenure from the 1980s into the 2000s. He transferred his copious records to the archives after his retirement in 2006. Plater’s legacy is still vital in the form of awards and honors. For events and other work, he likes to utilize the archives and reference his writings from 30 years ago.

“We have a wall here, about 300 feet of his stuff, along with his predecessors and successors,” Towne said. “We know what the contents are of these boxes, and we can find files very quickly. Bill Plater will contact us and say something like, ‘I remember a memo I wrote in 1989 about such and such, and I think I wrote it in October.’ Sure enough, we find it, and we send a copy to Bill Plater.”

While IUPUI is only 50 years young, the stories found in the archives are timeless.