On Wednesday September 27th, we had our first official public meeting. A set of about 25 people came to help shape the Center for Undisciplined Research. The group included first-year students, upperclassmen, graduate students, deans, leaders of other Centers, and faculty. The main objective of the meeting was two fold: first, to see who is interested in becoming a regular participant within the Center, and second, to decide on the main four topics we will research as a collective throughout the year.
We decided on the four topics, and here they are! The list below was selected through a vote at the meeting, but the topics presented for the vote were based on a set of questionnaires and conversations I had with first-year students over the last several weeks.
During the first few weeks of school, I've been meeting one on one with students and collecting questionnaires to hear more about what people on campus are interested in. I presented a summary of the questionnaire results to everyone at the meeting, and they got to vote based on the summary. There was a bit of debate, and in the end, I think everyone felt good about our four topics. They are broad enough that we can figure out how to make almost anything relate to at least one of them!
In addition to hosting our first public meeting, there were lots of other things going on with the Center this week. On Monday, I worked on a super exciting installation for the residence halls (featuring 60 students who live in the halls; it should be finished sometime this month!); on Tuesday, I presented about the Center at a Mural Arts and Placemaking meeting with folks at Groundwork! in New Bedford (and it sounds like we might have a Center location there, soon!), I met with curator Jamie Uretsky at the New Bedford Art Museum to talk about upcoming Center-related projects, gave a guest-lecture/workshop about the Center and Fluxus Scores in Kristi Oliver's Development and Assessment in the Arts course, and met with the Leduc Center for Civic Engagement about an upcoming Center location in their office; on Wednesday I spoke about the Center in THREE sections of Cristina Mehren's World History course; on Thursday I gave a guest-lecture/workshop about KSMoCA and Chitra Ganesh's superhero project in Kristi Oliver's History and Social Philosophy of Art Education course and I got a tour of the new School of Marine Science and Technology (SMAST) facility in New Bedford where the Center might have the opportunity to do an installation; and on Friday, I collected and edited all of the content for the first issue of our newsletter (scheduled for release on October 10th)!
Here's a few shots from the tour I took of SMAST! It's a really cool facility.