Idea Blog

Elizabeth Meadows: Summer at the Curb Center–The Work of Public Engagement

Posted on: July 2nd, 2014 | 0 Comments

Ed note: Dr. Elizabeth S. Meadows leads the Creative Campus and the Curb Scholars Program for the Curb Center at Vanderbilt.

I started at the Curb Center last summer, and it was a hectic time—planning the opening retreat and fall semester’s Scholar sessions, selecting Innovation Grant recipients for the first time, and planning the 3rd Annual Creative Practice Boot Camp on the fly—all while learning how to do a new job with a staff as new to the job as I was.  I found myself wondering what summertime at the Curb Center would be like in a “normal” year.  Now I know…

Last week we got the first batch of blog posts from Curb Scholars doing summer internships this year.  In NYC, one Curb Scholar is working with a theater company that mounts innovative and challenging productions taking on important cultural issues that have  public policy angles; urban development, income inequality, the environment, and free speech are just a few of the concerns at the heart of the productions at this theater.  Another Curb Scholar has ventured further afield—traveling to a remote region of Peru, where she’s working with a non-profit organization on a project that unites scholarship, enterprise, and art in empowering the people of Hualcayán to preserve their heritage and boost their local economy.  Meanwhile, halfway across the world, a third Curb Scholar continues his immersive experience of Chinese life in the 21st century, while also working for a California-based non-profit as part of a virtual writing team made up of interns from around the world.  While doing the research for a series of articles about Nujiang, a river that flows through China, Tibet, and Myanmar that the Chinese government has plans to dam, he’s also creating a set of poems accompanied by photographs documenting his experience in Kunming.  These students are taking what they’ve learned during three years at Vandy—in their classes, the Curb Scholars Program, and their interactions with peers—and putting it to work in communities far removed from here.  Their work is a testament to the vision that informs the Curb Scholars Program: while they put their passion and creativity to work for the public good, they enact the Curb Center’s mission to make the arts central to dialogues around public policy issues. Read More

Curb Internship Blog: Boston Healthcare for the Homeless

Posted on: July 1st, 2014 | 0 Comments

By Anjelica Saulsberry

This blog is part of the Curb Scholars Internship Program.

My beginning days with Boston Healthcare for the Homeless have served as some of my most humble. I began this internship expecting to be in the office making phone calls and assisting the Finance Department; however, I feel as though I will play a vital role to a team of dedicated and inspiring individuals. And even more important, become a more open-minded and serviced-oriented person.

With the changes made under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies are now billing for medical expenses differently. For example, instead of billing per expense, their consumers are now worth an allotted sum of money for their medical expenses that year. That means it is imperative that each medical provider that provides care for their patients are properly listed so that the practice, like Boston Healthcare for the Homeless, can properly receive funds. Read More

Curb Internship Blog Post: Compassionate Travel

Posted on: June 26th, 2014 | 0 Comments

By Ben Shane

This blog post is part of the Curb Scholars program.

I have faith in humanity when I travel. It comes from hitchhiking in Spain, where strangers interrupted their lives because they saw me for a total of a second-and-a-half on the side of the road and invited me into their cars and sometimes their homes. From the young woman in Morro Bay, California, who invited me surfing with her and her friends and equipped me with surfboard and wetsuit and patient instruction. From the countless people on the road who provided me with food or shelter or company, all of the most basic and meaningful necessities of life. These experiences bring me close to humankind and make me feel fortunate to be a part of it. Read More

A Summer Internship in Hualcayán

Posted on: June 23rd, 2014 | 0 Comments

by Karissa Deiter

Hello! My name is Karissa and I am an intern with PIARA this summer. My journey with PIARA started two weeks ago, when I arrived at the C.H. Nash Museum at Chucalissa in Memphis, TN to work with director Dr. Robert Connolly and begin preparing educational and outreach materials for the summer in Hualcayán, Peru. I’m excited to join the PIARA team in Peru in two weeks, but first, here’s the story on how I became involved with PIARA. Read More

Apply now: Curb Fellow in Media, Art, and Public Policy, 2014-15

Posted on: March 10th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Applications accepted through Friday, March 28.

The Curb Center is pleased to announce a continuing fellowship opportunity for advanced graduate students in the humanities or humanistic social sciences at Vanderbilt University. For the academic year 2014-15, the Curb Center offers a year-long fellowship to support a student who has completed his or her comprehensive examination and is interested in policy issues raised by media or the arts.

Candidates should be engaged in research that promises to illuminate challenges or opportunities that face any cultural field, including (but not limited to) music, publishing, the graphic arts, film, television, theater, literature, the entertainment industry, or digital media.  Policy concerns may involve race, class, gender, social or political concerns, economic issues, legal questions, government regulation, copyright, urban planning and development, public humanities and heritage preservation, indigenous cultures, international trade and diplomacy, distribution and access, artistic careers, nonprofits, new media, medicine and the arts, creativity and well-being, arts entrepreneurs, public support of the arts, arts education, and more.  We are also willing to entertain proposals that would allow a student to do research on an arts and cultural policy issue related to a dissertation nearing completion.

For more information and application instructions, click here.

Using Google Forms in the Classroom (HASTAC Cross-Post)

Posted on: February 7th, 2014 | 0 Comments

This post originally appeared on HASTAC.org on February 7, 2014. The original post and comments can be found here.

Weekly course assignments can be a headache for both instructors and students. Students lament having to print them (let alone do them), and instructors lament opening several hundred emails in the course of a semester. However, there are times when such assignments are pedagogically necessary.

A friend and I both used weekly reading assignment in our history courses last semester as a way to gauge student understanding of material and develop students’ abilities to summarize and interrogate readings. Although my friend teaches high school and I was a TA at a university, our students had a communal complaint about the assignments: “I don’t have the resources to print the assignment,” which was followed up with a “Can I just email it to you instead?” Read More

Tepper named dean of ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts

Posted on: December 27th, 2013 | 0 Comments

After ten years of exceptional research and practice at the Curb Center, Steven Tepper has accepted an appointment as dean of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University. Steven’s opportunity is an extraordinary one, and a testimony to his expertise and stature in the field of arts careers, creative practice, and arts policy.

Sad as we are to see him go, we are also overjoyed for Steven’s success. For a link to ASU’s press release click here, and to read a note from Steven, click here. Read More

Conversations/Conversas with Ashley Larson

Posted on: December 18th, 2013 | 0 Comments

Ashley Larson talks “Conversations/Conversas,” the Vanderbilt Art Dept & University of Sao Paulo collaboration

People often ask me (family members especially), “why are you learning Portuguese?” or “why do you speak Portuguese?” The answer I frequently give is that I have always had a love for the Spanish language and so when I was earning my bachelor’s in Latin American Studies at Cal State Fullerton and they told me that an intermediate level of Portuguese was required, I responded with enthusiasm. Who wouldn’t want to learn a new language and a new culture? Many people think that Brazilians speak Spanish…wrong! The giant of the South American continent speaks Portuguese which is a romance language, like Spanish, but they are not the same. Brazil should not be ignored or grouped with all of the Spanish-speaking nations around the world. Trivia time: Brazil is actually larger than the continental U.S.! It is the B in BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) and has officially arrived as an economic powerhouse. Unfortunately, the country still has one of the highest rates of unequal wealth distribution; the poor are very poor and the rich are über rich. But, let’s talk about culture and ART! Brazilians pride themselves on being creative and artistic. As most of you know, the 2014 World Cup will be in Brazil. but did you know that the Brazilians have invented a different way of playing ‘futebol’ (soccer)? Bet you didn’t! The “Jogo Bonito”, which literally translates to ‘beautiful game’, is a way of playing soccer that combines style, beauty, and cunning. They even play to the beat of Samba music for artistic inspiration and motivation! But their creativity doesn’t end there. AND … it is not contained within Brazilian borders! Read More

What is a Victorianist doing at the Curb Center? Or, Everything Old Is New Again

Posted on: September 24th, 2013 | 0 Comments

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[Guest post by Elizabeth S. Meadows, @MorbidVictorian, new Faculty Director of Curb Creative Campus & Curb Scholars Program]

 

Early this summer, Sotheby’s, the famed auction house that brokered the sale of such iconic works as Vincent van Gogh’s Irises and Edvard Munch’s The Scream, announced that a version of Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s Proserpine will be sold at auction in November.  Proserpine is, according to one assessment, “one of the most internationally recognisable images of the nineteenth century,” and the estimated price of this variant done in colored chalk is $1.8-2.7 million. You’ve seen this image before; Rossetti’s “Proserpine” has appeared on postcards and posters as well as in textbooks, works of literary criticism and art history, genealogies of artistic movements, biographies, and—of course—museums, and even more importantly perhaps, their gift shops.  Nonetheless, my first reaction was simply shock—“You mean you can buy that?!”  Perhaps naively, I had thought that Art-with-a-capital-A can’t be bought, sold, or owned. Read More

“Frantic & exciting”: Clayton reflects on week one of his Coursera LOTR MOOC

Posted on: September 17th, 2013 | 0 Comments

Curb director’s Coursera course launched September 9th

Professor Jay Clayton got 40,000 new students this week, and for a moment, the thirty-year writer and lecturer is at a loss for words.

“It’s been … dizzying!” he finally laughs.

Fifteen minutes after “Online Games: Literature, New Media, and Narrative” launched last Monday afternoon, more than 1000 people had watched a video, and the tech team had discovered (and corrected) two errors we had made in setting up the site. “It’s frantic and exciting at the same time,” Clayton says. “It’s an intense experience of media saturation, of all these multiple channels coming at us at once. “ He pauses then begins to laugh. “And it’s close to overwhelming!”

Of the 40,000 registered, around 5000 are also interacting on Facebook, another group is on Twitter, and then there’s the actual course’s forums—one on J.R.R. Tolkien, the author; another on the game Lord of the Rings Online; another on games in general; and still another for each week’s material—already hold over almost 3000 posts.  Additionally, there’s conversation on the Coursera channel inside the online game, where only people in this course come to chat. “Hang on, I promised I’d say something to them,” Clayton says as he turns back to his laptop where, as Vainamoinen (named for the Finnish minstrel who inspired Tolkien’s Gandalf), Clayton pops in to say hello. Read More