In January, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded $3,000,000 to the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (IPRH) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to fund the first two years of an extensive consortium of fifteen humanities institutes in the Midwest and beyond. By leveraging the strengths of multiple distinctive campuses, the initiative, titled “Humanities Without Walls,” aims to create new avenues for collaborative research, teaching, and the production of scholarship in the humanities, forging and sustaining areas of inquiry that cannot be created or maintained without cross-institutional cooperation. The Humanities Without Walls consortium will be the first of its kind to experiment at this large scale with cross-institutional collaboration.
The consortium officially commences its activities with a two-day workshop on Friday, September 19, and Saturday, September 20, at the Genevieve and Wayne Gratz Center at Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago.
Friday’s speakers include Dianne Harris, Director of the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Angel Ysaguirre, Executive Director of the Illinois Humanities Council; Jon Lauck, author most recently of The Lost Region: Toward a Revival of Midwestern History; and Edward “Ned” Watts, professor of English at Michigan State University and an author on several books on Midwestern cultural history. Their talks will conclude with a panel discussion moderated by Kristin Hoganson, professor of history and gender and women’s studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Saturday morning’s speakers will address the topic of collaboration in the humanities, and include Patrick Jagoda, assistant professor of English at the University of Chicago and co-founder of Game Changer Chicago Design Lab; Jennifer Monson, professor of dance at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and founder/artistic director of iLAND (interdisciplinary Laboratory and Art Nature and Dance); and Elliott Maltby, partner in thread collective, a visionary architecture and urban design firm emphasizing resilience and sustainability. These presentations will culminate in a panel discussion and Q&A session on collaboration.
Saturday afternoon will comprise break-out sessions for collaborators from consortium institutions to formulate Global Midwest research proposals, and the workshop will conclude with a session on Innovative Opportunities for Publishing Outcomes with John Wilkin, Dean of Libraries and University Librarian, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and Maria Bonn, Senior Lecturer in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.