Arts & Humanities: Toward a Flourishing State?
Network for Academic Renewal Conference
November 3-5, 2011
Providence, Rhode Island
Thursday, November 3, 7:00-8:30 P.M.
What the Arts and Humanities Can Teach Us about the American Citizenry and Democracy of the Future
Arts and humanities are the touchstones for deeper awareness and understanding of the human condition, compassion for others, and preservation and evolution of the stories of our lives and culture. What is their place in every student’s undergraduate experience? How can it be that the studies that so uniquely connect us to knowing ourselves and the world can be considered unnecessary to prepare students for life and work in a multicultural, globally interdependent, and fractured society? Dr. Painter will critically examine the ways in which art, the humanities, and ideas about race can help forge new understandings of our history, our identities, and shape the American citizenry and democracy of the future.
Nell Irvin Painter, Edwards Professor of American History, Emerita, Princeton University
Friday, November 4, 9:15-10:15 A.M.
Valuing Humanistic and Cultural Knowledge in a Global Society
How are major transformations in the academy shaping the arts and humanities? Thompson and Tymas-Jones, each from his own perspective, will discuss how the arts and humanities can build on collaboration with each other and with other disciplines and professional fields. Thompson will emphasize the changing nature of intellectual work in light of new knowledge of human development and learning; Tymas-Jones will address interdisciplinarity and cross-disciplinarity, providing examples of change in progress. Both will offer insights and facilitate discussion, making the case for the arts and humanities as essential learning and liberating practice critically important to our wellbeing.
Robert J. Thompson, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience—Duke University and Raymond Tymas-Jones, Dean, College of Fine Arts—University of Utah and President—International Council of Fine Arts Deans
LUNCHEON, POSTERS, AND DISCUSSION
(separate registration and fee required)
Friday, November 4, 12:15-2:00 P.M.
Community-Based Arts Organizations: Where Students, Mentors, Dreams, and Talents Converge
The Providence community is home to a rich arts culture supported and advanced by community based arts organizations. Join with students, mentors, professors, and community leaders from a range of community-based arts organizations to learn how they are collaborating and providing learning environments for underserved youth. Organizations will include New Urban Arts, Community Music Works, Youth in Action, AS220, and the Providence After School Alliance.
Facilitator: Adam Bush, Founding Director of Curriculum—College Unbound, and Director of Publicly Active Graduate Education—Imagining America
Friday, November 4, 5:15 – 7:00 P.M.
Participatory Democracy and Reinvigorating the Commons
A thriving democracy requires the active participation of citizens, and the physical and temporal space in which they can solve issues of shared concern. Technologies from radio to social media have connected people in important ways, but have also contributed to a culture of disconnection in which citizen roles are defined primarily by what they consume rather than what they create. This conversation will focus on innovative efforts by educators and students, artists, and humanists to counter the pervasive loss of “the commons” by imagining and opening new spaces where participatory democracy thrives.
Kevin Bott, Associate Director, Imagining America; Adam Bush, Founding Director of Curriculum of College Unbound; Dana Edell, Co-founder and Executive Director, viBe Theater Experience; and Dennis Littky, Co-founder and Co-director, Big Picture Learning and the Met Center in Providence
Friday, November 4, 8:00-10:00 P.M.
Soul of a People: Writing America’s Story
This award-winning Smithsonian documentary film will be shown in its entirety and followed by conversation with its lead writer and co-producer. The film connects the economic and political tensions of today with those of America during the Great Depression, when many unemployed men and women found relief through the Works Progress Administration. The WPA Writers’ Project recruited a diverse crew of jobless editors, fresh college grads, schoolteachers, and dropouts. Thousands fanned out across America to report local history, interview citizens, and produce a self-portrait of America in a series of travel guides. They included Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, Jim Thompson, Zora Neale Hurston, Vardis Fisher, Anzia Yezierska, John Cheever, and Studs Terkel. Besides publishing guides, they were knitting together a cultural fabric torn by a national crisis. Soul of a People offers a fresh look at the WPA writers, their connections, and their cultural significance.
David A. Taylor, Writer and Co-Producer—Soul of a People
Saturday, November 5, 11:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M.
Giving Voice to the Future: Students Take the Mic
What do today’s students wish their professors and student affairs educators knew about them? How do they talk about their studies in the humanities and arts when interacting with friends and family? How have the arts and humanities inspired them to want to learn more about and engage the world in all of its complexity? Students from a range of disciplines and institutions will discuss how the arts and humanities have contributed to their developing identities and provided pathways to connect their interests, talents, and studies to work and agency for the common good.
Students: Jason Furbish, Business Major—Massachusetts Bay Community College; Ellen Gianakis, English and Linguistics Major—Montclair State University; and Jake Monaghan, Philosophy Major—University of Rhode Island
Co-facilitators: Ande Diaz, Associate Dean of Students—Roger Williams University; and Rebecca M. Townsend, Assistant Professor of Communication—Manchester Community College
Full Program (pdf)