What's been going on so far?

In my last post, I promised to let you know what I’ve been up to over the last month while preparing for the Center to launch. Now I will tell you!

I moved here from Portland, Oregon on August 15th after “co-curating” the KSMoCA International Art Fair in collaboration with Amanda Leigh Evans, Lisa Jarrett, and Harrell Fletcher. I was exhausted from that project, but very excited to embark on this new adventure—in a town where I don't know anyone! Starting with knowing no one and nothing about this place, I’ve been meeting people from all over the region, trying to find out what kinds of things are happening around here, looking for places where the Center can intersect with great people and events, and trying to make sense of my role in UMass Dartmouth—trying to find my space in this place. I’ve also been thinking about why I wanted to make a Center in the first place, investigating exactly what brought me here, why I am so drawn to being “undisciplined,” especially in an education setting. Questioning what it means to be undisciplined, thinking about the conversation I had with Spencer Byrne-Seres, my partner and frequent collaborator, on Mount Tabor before I left Portland as we were trying to imagine the perfect name for this project.

Here is a list of potential titles we started with:

Center for investigative practices
Bureau for research and investigative practices
Office of chaos and investigative practices
Center for lateral thinking and investigative research
Center for history, place, and practice
Local knowledge and outsider perspective
Center for exploratory behavior and uncertainty
Center for open investigation
Center for exploratory behaving
Center for inventive curiosity
Center for open inquiry
Center for open inquiring
Center for inventive inquiring
Center for interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, and trans disciplinary inquiry
Center for disciplinary and undisciplinary studies
Center for disciplined and undisciplined studies
*Center for Undisciplined Investigation
Center for Undisciplined Research and Understanding
Center for Undisciplined Research and Investigation
Center for uncentering
Center for peripheral investigation
Center for immediate studies
Center for peripheral and immediate studies
Center for peripheral research
Center for experiential education and peripheral research
Center for public undisciplinary research

We were looking for a title that would let the audience know this Center is to be infused with gravity and chaos. Something intellectual and playful. We also considered the history of other artist-run Centers, and tried to acknowledge that this Center would be within the context of a university.

Once I got here, I started meeting people and visiting places right away - trying to figure out how to create a structure for the Center that would allow room for students to fill it in with their interests and ambitions; I've included a list of the highlights below.

On August 17th, I met Rayana Grace at the YMCA and later that day, I accompanied her to the Trustees of Reservations event where I met a lot of great people.

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I started getting set up in my new room in the freshman residence halls (where I'm living as part of this project).

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I attended the amazing Third Eye Unlimited event in downtown New Bedford where I watched a break dancing competition.

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During the solar eclipse on August 21, I went to see the Sea Pageant, a community performance for the sea, in Newport, Rhode Island which was produced by Strange Attractor.

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I went to a member's event at the New Bedford Whaling Museum where I learned about knots and whaling.

I participated in Resident Assistant training events as part of my position within Housing and Residence Education.

I met Senator Elizabeth Warren.

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I considered adopting a puppy from the humane society.

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I attended a anti-oppression workshop as part of the RA training.

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I met with Adi (the Center's lead textile designer) to talk about artist uniform designs.

I checked out the National Park's education center with Ranger Andy and Cristina Mehrens from the Office of Faculty Development.

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I went on a tour about the Underground Railroad in New Bedford with tour guide Rufai.

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Consultant Megan Abajian helped secure the first remote location of the Center!

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I met with Carrie Hawthorne from the education department of the Buttonwood Park Zoo to talk about possible ways we might work together in the future.

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I did a studio visit with local artist Harry Gould Harvey to learn more about his work.

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I attended the first year student convocation ceremony on campus.

I was a judge for this year's Corsair Olympics in the first-year quad.

I played scrabble with Chancellor Johnson and two first year students.

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I attended a beautiful fundraiser for Watershed Ceramics residency at Chris Gustin's home here in Dartmouth.

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Darley taught me how to salsa in front of Ellen Mueller's Freshman Seminar class.

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I saw Lee Blake, president of the New Bedford Historical Society, give a talk about the Underground Railroad.

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The Center signed up to be a member of AHA! Night in DT New Bedford, and I did a drawing performance to meet students and faculty.

Our first official remote location was established, and I've started planning the first exhibition - a history of this cork board (built in 1992).

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I attended a planning meeting for the first CVPA open house of the year!

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Of course, there have been a lot of other meetings with a lot of other people including (but not limited to) folks from E! For All, Groundwork!, TDI, the Community Economic Development Center of New Bedford, the Leduc Center for Civic Engagement, the Office of Faculty Development, the Unity House of UMass Dartmouth, and the Center for Women, Gender, and Sexuality. Anyway, what a great experience this has been so far. Can't wait to keep moving forward.