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Studying art by making it

first_imgHistorically, Harvard has valued the head over the hand, but that may soon shift — at least in one discipline.Under the auspices of Jennifer L. Roberts, the Elizabeth Cary Agassiz Professor of the Humanities, and Ethan Lasser, Theodore E. Stebbins Jr. Curator of American art at the Harvard Art Museums, graduate students, particularly those in art history, are joining a University movement against what Roberts calls a “longstanding, multi-century bias toward conceptual and mathematical, verbal, abstract forms of knowledge over the forms of knowledge embedded in making.”As their class “Minding Making: Art History and Artisanal Intelligence” goes through its second iteration, students are learning how hands-on experience with materials and processes feeds a different kind of awareness and a new appreciation of the finished product.Part of a larger project, detailed at mindingmaking.org, the class follows several summer graduate workshops, as well as a broader trend toward recognizing art-making as part of the University’s “cognitive life,” said Roberts. “The humanities are in the middle of what’s known as the material turn,” she explained. “There’s a lot of interest in matter and materiality, but that hasn’t really yet translated into a clear new way of thinking about making, about interacting with all that material.”,“Maker is a generic term that would encompass both the ceramicist and the person soldering together a circuit. We wanted a term that moves beyond studio art-making or craft artisanship.” — Professor Jennifer Roberts, pictured below with Ethan Lasser,This course seeks to address this tactical way of thinking, with readings on the intellectual history of crafts, as well as visits to artists, artisans, and their workplaces, including an aluminum casting factory.“Maker,” Roberts explained, is a “generic term that would encompass both the ceramicist and the person soldering together a circuit. We wanted a term that moves beyond studio art-making or craft artisanship. Art historians tend not to go to factories. They’re not interested in mass production. There are a lot of assumptions about what someone does.”“Art history,” added Lasser, “is constructed around a finished object, and the power of this approach is in going back through it and understanding what it takes to get to that object.”In Roberts’ words, the practitioners seek to “get outside the library and books for sources of knowledge.” Lasser elaborated, explaining that the goal of the course is to provide “a sense of the feel, the tactile knowledge, of how much physical labor goes into something.”“At every stage,” he said, “there’s some information that art historians don’t generally write about because they don’t know about, because they’re just looking at the finished object.”,On a stormy Friday, students were involved in another element of the course, trying their hands at etching: from the first preparation of the plates through printing. The work is laborious, and students such as Destiny Crowley of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences were spending considerable time applying the thick black ink and then wiping it nearly off before attempting to print a first proof.Speaking while she worked, Crowley, a first-year student in the history of art and architecture Ph.D. program, explained that she signed on to address “a gaping lack in my education when it came to the actual creation of art.” As she wiped the viscous ink over her plate, she noted how that also gave her additional insight into works she has long admired: the Blank Signs series of prints by artist Ed Ruscha, who hails from her home state of Oklahoma.“The aquatint gives the print a very light shade of coloring,” Crowley explained, describing Ruscha’s series. “And the signs themselves are left stark white.” Noting “the juxtaposition of moving from darkness to light, the pitch black of the ink, the deep blackish brown of the asphaltum ground that we had to apply to the plate,” she said, “I find it very interesting that the print ended up being such a bold interplay of lightness.”Working with the coal-black ink, she shared her insight. “It is really amazing how you can go from a really onyx black — almost a void on this space — and strip that away,” she said. “There’s a reason why artists choose the artistic processes they do, an etching versus an oil painting.”,“There are so many different reasons for choosing a material,” agreed Iain Gordon, who is pursuing a master’s in design studies. Unlike several of his classmates, Gordon, who was drying a treated plate, has been involved on the “making” side, building furniture as well as other projects for several years. “For me, this is a way to engage with the making in a theoretical and critical way,” he said.“I knew it would be time-consuming and unpredictable and a different kind of mental and physical energy,” said Rachel Vogel, who is in her second year of the Ph.D. program in the history of art and architecture. “But you don’t realize the extent of all of those things until you really start doing it.“Learning those kinds of chains of causality and being able to recognize how a particular choice an artist made might be a response to something else that’s happening in the print …” She paused as she continued to wipe ink off her etching plate. “To begin to unpack the layers that must have happened in order for the artist to have constructed a plate is something that really can only happen once you’ve had the experience of making prints yourself.”last_img read more

Foundation finds success with summer fellows program

first_img August 15, 2003 Daniel Staesser Assistant Editor Regular News Foundation finds success with summer fellows program Foundation finds success with summer fellows program Assistant EditorSometimes a foundation gives us a feeling of security — that though the harsh winds of life may blow against us from all sides, we will somehow weather the storm, because we know we are being held fast. For some of Florida’s neediest, the poor, the elderly, children, and victims of domestic violence and discrimination, that foundation is being laid.In cooperation with Florida law schools, The Florida Bar Foundation has sponsored the 2003 Summer Fellowships Program at legal aid and legal services programs throughout Florida. With funding provided through the IOTA program and the Florida Lawyers Legal Insurance Corporation, the fellowships, granted to first- and second-year law students, has four main purposes:• Involve the fellowship recipients in high quality civil legal assistance to those in need.• Provide educational experience in representing those in need and in working with individual clients and client groups.• Increase student interest in and awareness of the legal problems of the needy and the challenges and satisfactions of representing them.• Promote pro bono representation of those in need.According to the Foundation’s Camille Stawicki, organizer of the summer fellowships, the program has seen considerable success.“We get the law students accustomed to what they would be doing [as legal aid lawyers],” Stawicki said. “For those fellows who will not become legal aid lawyers, this experience, hopefully, will encourage them to volunteer as pro bono attorneys.”Of the 146 applications received for the fellowships only 23 were offered, of which 21 were filled, including a Florida resident attending an out-of-state school. Sylvia Simmons, of Florida State University, is the recipient of the Terry Russell Fellowship funded by Florida’s legal service program’s Project Directors Association, and served at Florida Legal Services in Tallahassee; Luis Maldonado, of the University of Florida, served his fellowship at Withlacoochee Area Legal Services; and Laura Sterling, of Florida A&M, fellowed at the Legal Aid Society of the Orange County Bar Association.A returning fellow, Simmons said she loves the structure of the program and what it allows her to be involved with.“You sit in a law library and read up on it, but you don’t really talk to the people whom the law affects,” Simmons said. “But this program gives you that opportunity.”Simmons said she spent time researching, volunteering, and on the “hotline” answering calls from victims of domestic violence and similar circumstances.“Sometimes they just want somebody to talk to; somebody who will listen,” Simmons said. “Sometimes the only reason a victim stays in those dire circumstances and puts up with the violence is because they need the money to raise their children.”With a passion for assisting victims of domestic violence, Simmons also said that the fellowships really come together at “an intersection of social work and the law.”“I’m really touched by the cases that involve child abuse,” she said. “It used to be more of a private issue, and now it’s coming more to the public’s attention.”Though growing up in a very supportive environment, Simmons said she had seen so much violence around her throughout her childhood.“I am very close with my family,” said Simmons. “I know how important that structure is, and when you have someone shake up that structure it is very detrimental to its foundation.”Maldonado agreed, having also grown up around similar societal issues. From LaBelle, Maldonado said, “It hits close to home. I essentially have been helped throughout my life, so I feel it is a responsibility to help.”Taking that responsibility very seriously, Maldonado assisted with community outreach education programs, wrote appellate briefs, interviewed clients, and served as an interpreter in court and administrative proceedings during his fellowship.“It was nice putting skills I learned in law school to actual use,” said Maldonado, who said he did everything from translating advertisements to facilitating health screenings.Maldonado said the fellowship was definitely a learning experience and that “working with legal services serves as a reality check – and our issues become menial when compared to worrying whether or not you are going to have a home.”“I’m not helping someone who hurt their back lifting a box win a $10-million suit; I’m helping someone stay in their apartment and have a roof over their head,” said Sterling, who already has a master’s degree in social work, but felt she could do much more as an attorney.Sterling said she tripped into the legal aid arena in college, when she took a class called “Death and Dying.” She volunteered in a nursing home, applying what she learned in class.“Learning and applying the law are two different things,” said Sterling, who praised the Foundation’s program, saying that it gave students a chance to see things first-hand and realize into what area of law they want to go.Students who are selected for fellowships must be in good standing with their law schools, and are selected on the basis of their experience working in low-income communities, academic achievement, writing skills, and previous contact with and long-term commitment to public service and pro bono work.First-year student recipients are allotted $4,000 and second-year students receive $5,000 for the 11-week fellowships. Whether students receive academic credit for the fellowship is up to their law schools and may affect the amount of the stipend. Each fellowship recipient must attend a two-day training seminar before they start work.Fellowship applications are available after November 1 at Florida law schools or from The Florida Bar Foundation’s Web site at www.flabarfndn.org. For more information about the summer fellows program contact Camille Stawicki at (407) 843-0045, or at [email protected]last_img read more

Pennsylvania’s New Online Absentee Ballot Application Launches Today

first_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitter Press Release,  Voting & Elections Harrisburg, PA – Beginning today, Pennsylvania voters have a new option to apply online for their absentee ballot, Governor Tom Wolf announced. The mobile-friendly application site is at votesPA.com/ApplyAbsentee. Voters who apply will receive their absentee ballot in the mail.Previously, voters could only complete a paper absentee ballot application and mail or hand-deliver it to their county election office for processing. Today’s launch of the online option coincides with the first day registered voters may apply for absentee ballots for the November 5 election.“Giving voters the option to apply for an absentee ballot online is another important step to make voting more accessible,” said Governor Wolf. “Pennsylvanians have busy lives, so we must continue to modernize our elections and make voting more convenient for people.”In August 2015, Governor Wolf launched online voter registration. Since then, more than 1.4 million applicants have used the site to apply for a new voter registration or update an existing registration.The 1937 PA Election Code sets the deadline to apply for an absentee ballot at one week before the election, or by 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, October 29, this year. The deadline for county election offices to receive voted absentee ballots is just three days later, on the Friday before the election. This year, that deadline is 5:00 p.m. Nov. 1.The online applications will be forwarded directly to the appropriate county elections office for processing. Voters must still mail or hand-deliver the voted absentee ballots to their county elections office.“This latest innovation will make the absentee ballot voting process more convenient and accessible and will save time,” Secretary Boockvar said. “Still, we urge voters to apply for their absentee ballot well ahead of the application deadline, so the counties can get the ballots mailed early enough for voters to meet the return deadline.”The online application is currently available to all domestic Pennsylvania voters, and will be available to military and overseas voters by 2020. Initially, online applications will require a PennDOT driver’s license or ID number. The Department of State is planning an update, also by 2020, that will allow applicants without a PennDOT number to use the online system.In Pennsylvania, absentee ballots may be cast by individuals with illnesses or disabilities, individuals who will be away from their municipality on business on Election Day, and Pennsylvania students attending out-of-state colleges or universities, among others.For more information on voting by absentee ballot, visit votespa.com. September 16, 2019center_img Pennsylvania’s New Online Absentee Ballot Application Launches Todaylast_img read more