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Local Ecologies: Cultural Currents of Eastern Massachusetts

When: Tuesday, September 21, 2021
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
Where: > See description for location
Description: Facilitators:
Rebecca Uchill UMASS Dartmouth
Kirsten Swenson UMASS Lowell

Office of Faculty Development: Library 213

Local Ecologies: Cultural Currents of Eastern Massachusetts is a publication that convenes interdisciplinary artists, scholars, and activists to explore the layered histories that form the diverse ecosystems of Eastern Massachusetts. This peer-reviewed volume will be published in an open-access format with a number of intermedia digital components. These include a series of video roundtables, downloadable artist books, and other genre-defying content.

The exhibition and program series Local Ecologies (2019-2020, occurring on three UMass campuses) had a tremendous local impact, including an artist residencies with the National Park Service, a now-annual "indigenous harbor islands" tour, and a video artwork that toured to the MFA Boston and the Tufts University Art Galleries. The in-process publication documenting this initiative will expand the reach of this work to broader audiences through a free and open-access written book that will be supplemented by a number of media components. Our innovative format, hosted by Amherst College Press via a platform called Fulcrum, expands the field of scholarly publication by forging a presentational platform that can better support the visual and experimental matter of the arts.

From the harbors of Boston and New Bedford to the canals of the Merrimack River, the research-driven art projects in this volume offer new methods for exploring the many ecologies that constitute our environment, broadly defined, and offers new vantages for approaching questions of social and environmental justice.

Co-editors Kirsten Swenson and Rebecca Uchill teach art history at UMass Lowell and UMass Dartmouth, respectively. Swenson co-edited the volume Critical Landscapes: Art, Space, Politics (California, 2015) and is the author of Irrational Judgments: Eva Hesse, Sol LeWitt, and 1960s New York (Yale, 2015). She is writing a book entitled "Public Works: Land Art and Urban Redevelopment" supported by an ACLS Burkhardt Fellowship and Graham Foundation grant. Uchill has two decades of experience as a curator of contemporary art, having worked for institutions including Mass MoCA, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts. She has also worked with artists, scientists, and others as co-editor of interdisciplinary volumes including Experience: Culture, Cognition & The Common Sense (MIT Press, 2016) and Being Material (MIT Press, 2019), a recent AIGA competition awardee for its substantive integration of digital and print content.

To register, please email Ellen Mandly at In-person participation will be limited to the first 10 registrants; virtual participation is available to anyone. Please make your preference known when registering. Lunch is provided for in-person participants.
Topical Areas: Faculty, Staff and Administrators, Faculty Development