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COLLEGE PARK, Md.—The University of Maryland College of Arts and Humanities is pleased to announce the launch of the Arts and Humanities Center for Synergy and its website arhusynergy.umd.edu. The site launched Wednesday, December 18, 2013, and is the product of years of concerted efforts between the Office of the Dean in the College of Arts and Humanities and input from faculty experts.

Led by Sheri Parks, associate dean of research, interdisciplinary scholarship and programming, the center seeks to help faculty, students and the larger community make connections across the diverse, yet interconnected disciplines of the college.

“The goal is to place these fields in broad context, facilitating new intellectual synergies that connect and inform the pressing human problems of our time,” said Bonnie Thornton Dill, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities. “Through lectures, symposia, intellectual working groups and research initiatives, we will apply our new insights and skills to help individuals and academics alike.”

The site was designed not only to aggregate information about initiatives that cross disciplinary lines, but to act as a resource hub for scholars, students and community members looking to connect and build support for projects of mutual interest.

In the initial launch, the site will provide in-depth information about the many innovative and collaborative research, scholarship, events, programs, courses and outreach taking place in the college. In addition, the site hosts a wealth of information about grant resources and highlights the arts and humanities labs for inspiration and creativity.

“From the visual and performing arts to history, literature and culture, the arts and humanities provide powerful insights and perspectives for out-of-the box ideas,” said Parks. “They raise awareness, break down barriers and foster innovation.” 

To further inspire and engage the community, the college has organized this year’s dean’s lecture series to presentarts and humanities leaders who are influencing society and advancing the national conversation on the importance of humanities and social sciences to the improved state of the world. 

"We are proud to convene a community of arts and humanities leaders, continually reaching across disciplinary lines—theorizing, producing new tools and methodologies—to shape the future of the academy," said Thornton Dill. "We look forward to the valuable contributions of our established affiliates and the insights of emerging working groups to extend the conversations taking place nationally on the future of the arts and humanities."

Upcoming Enhancements

In subsequent releases, the website will provide a scholar database that will help users identify partners with similar interests. Also in the works are virtual labs with a variety of tools that can be used by existing or emerging working groups alike. The goal is to help people connect, collaborate and innovate.

The website was created through a synergistic collaboration between the web and application services and marketing and communications teams in the College of Arts and Humanities.

The website is an example of the college's commitment to improve the visibility of interdisciplinary initiatives not only within the college, but also through collaborations with those in other fields of study.

For more info, please contact Sheri Parks at slp@umd.edu.

12/11/13

TDPS

Congratulations to Professor Karen Bradley and TDPS students Christina Banalopoulou (Ph.D. student), Drew Barker (M.A. Theatre '13), and Kate Spanos (Ph.D. candidate), along with Sargoon Nepaul (dance and neuroscience undergraduate major) and Emma Sessions (kinesiology undergraduate major) on being awarded a Future of Information Alliance (FIA) - Deutsch seed grant for their project entitled "Re-imaging and Re-imagining Choreometrics."

Their interdisciplinary project is a collaboration between TDPS, Kinesiology, Neuroscience, and Library Sciences that will create a data set of dance videos from cultures and communities all over the world that were collected by ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax. These clips are now buried in the Library of Congress, and the team will partner with the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage and the Association for Cultural Equity in New York to access the films. Their goal is to digitize the video and then make it widely available to scholars and communities around the world through an online collaborative Wiki.

The team was awarded $25,000 to complete the first three months of groundwork for the project, which will feed into and enable them to meet their long-term goals. The project meets the priorities that are valued by the FIA-Deutsch program, including information equity, information literacy, culture, collaboration, information transfer and emergence.

12/11/13

School of Music

Congratulations to Musicology Professor Barbara Haggh-Huglo, who received a Fellowship for University Teachers from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for her topic, “Of Abbeys and Aldermen: Music in Ghent to 1559.”  Professor Haggh-Huglo’s research is one of 202 humanities projects to receive an award from the NEH for 2014.

With the support of the fellowship, Dr. Haggh-Huglo will complete her research and write a scholarly book that illustrates how music participated in several profound historical changes in the city of Ghent, now in Belgium. When asked why her research focuses on Ghent, she says, “For two reasons: Ghent was the most populous northern city after Paris in the late Middle Ages, and rich documentation survives, such as complete city council records, making it possible to learn the role of music in daily life and in major events in detail uncommon for this time.”

In addition to the book, Dr. Haggh-Huglo will develop a free, online database that lists the 500 most substantial benefactions for music registered in Ghent between 1329 and 1559. She also plans to arrange a series of performances in Belgium and at the University of Maryland, College Park, which will feature the music she discovered through her research.                                                                                                           

Dr. Haggh-Huglo believes her project can lead to a fresh understanding of music from other times and of the place it has – or could have – in today’s world. “Music played an important role in the major turning points in Ghent’s history,” she says. “There are implications for our modern culture, arts patronage, and in using music to make positive changes in society. I hope my findings give new ideas for other research that can tell us more about who we are.” 

by Karen Shih '09, Between The Columns

From writing to directing to acting, women are underrepresented in every area of theater production. A new initiative from the Big Ten Theatre Chairs aims to change that by commissioning, producing and publicizing up to five new women-written plays over the next five years.

“This is a very unique initiative. It’s about raising consciousness in order to represent the student population as well as the audience, both of which are mostly female,” says Leigh Wilson Smiley, director of the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies and a new member of the theatre chairs group. “We need to start to get the female voice 
out there.” 

The plays will not only be written by women but also feature substantial female roles. Naomi Iizuka of the University of San Diego, known for works reflecting her multicultural background, has been commissioned to write the first one. It will be ready for the 2014–15 season, and each Big Ten university will have the opportunity to perform it on a 
main stage or do a staged reading. It’s one way Maryland’s Big Ten membership is helping 
areas beyond athletics.

 “I’ll have partners across the country,” Smiley says. “This is a chance to influence the national conversation.”   

Wednesday, December 04, 2013 - 5:00 PM to 7:30 PM

Wednesday December 4, 2013 5:00 - 7:30 p.m. Reception, Art Gallery, Art-Sociology Building, UMD. 6:15 p.m.

11/27/13

by Porter Olsen, MITH

Out of the blue, an archivist gets a call from the husband of a famous scientist who has recently passed away. He wants to donate materials to the archives that can help people to understand and learn about her research. The archivist visits their home and is handed a cardboard box. Inside are not sheets of paper but a stack of floppy disks, CDs, Zip disks and a hard drive. What’s the archivist to do?

Researchers at the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) at the University of Maryland, and the School of Information and Library Science (SILS) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are investigating methods and developing tools for these sorts of situations.

A new white paper titled, “From Bitstreams to Heritage: Putting Digital Forensics into Practice in Collecting Institutions” examines the application of digital forensics methods to materials in collecting institutions – particularly libraries, archives and museums. It is a product of the BitCurator project and is written by Drs. Christopher A. Lee, Frances Carroll McColl Term Professor and research associate, Kam Woods of SILS;Matthew Kirschenbaum, associate director of MITH; and SILS doctoral student Alexandra Chassanoff.

To read more, please click here.

12/1/13

by James Chute, The San Diego Union-Tribune

We’re always moving. But most of the time, we’re not even aware of it.

On a recent Saturday in the Old Globe Theatre’s rehearsal hall in Balboa Park, dancer Karen Bradley asked a group of innovators to pay special attention.

She took them through a series of exercises, from being still and feeling the subtle movement in their bodies, to using overt movements to express an idea.

“The point I was trying to make is that movement — when we behave — it’s actually data; it’s information for us,” said Bradley, director of graduate studies at the University of Maryland School of Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies and one of the faculty members for Balboa Park’s Art of Science Learning project.

“When we move creatively, we generate choices, which perhaps we wouldn’t think of in our (brain’s) frontal lobe right away, but stuff bubbles up from the back as we notice what we’re doing.”

So what does this have to do with addressing a significant, real-life challenge, which is the goal of this group created by the Art of Science Learning?

“If you are trying to solve a problem, and you want to see many different possible outcomes, sometimes moving it offers you an array of possibilities,” Bradley said. “Some of them are silly, and goofy, and you go, ‘OK, that’s not working.’ And some of them are like, ‘Wow, I wouldn’t have thought of that otherwise.’ ”

The San Diego Incubator for Innovation — where the arts are integrated with science, technology, engineering and math (also known as STEM) — is now in session.

To read more, please click here.

11/27/13

by Virginia Terhune, The Gazette

Nobel laureate Gao Xingjian, 73, will soon be flying in from Paris to attend an artist’s reception in his honor on Wednesday at the University of Maryland, College Park.

In 2000, Gao was the first Chinese-born writer to win the Nobel Prize for Literature for his plays, poetry, short stories and novels. But Gao is also globally known as an artist and avant-garde filmmaker. His brush-and-ink paintings and films are on display at The Art Gallery in UMD’s Art-Sociology Building through Dec. 20.

The exhibit of 27 paintings and three films, called “The Inner Landscape: The Paintings and Films of Gao Xingjian” is curated by Jason C. Kuo, a professor in the Department of Art History.

“There’s a lot of interest in his work around the world because he’s multi-faceted,” said Kuo. “He writes novels, short stories, essay and art theory.”

Gao and Kuo will give an informal talk and host a Q&A during the Wednesday reception. On hand will be translators fluent in Chinese and French who will interpret for Gao, who does not speak English.

On the afternoon of Dec. 5, Gao and Kuo will attend a stage reading and discussion of Gao’s plays at the Cafritz Foundation Theatre at the Clarice Smith Center for the Performing Arts on campus. The readings will be performed in English by students in the Globalization and Theatre class.

To read more, please click here.

Tawes Hall
Thursday, March 27, 2014 - 9:00 AM to Saturday, March 29, 2014 - 8:00 PM

From March 27-29, leading scholars will explore the interdisciplinary relationships between sounds and texts.

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