Cristina Echezarreta: On Altruism, Art, and Science

Winter 2019
UGA Graduate
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Cristina Echezarreta: On Altruism, Art, and Science
By Cynthia Adams

Can prison inmates become creative collaborators? Idea Lab Mini Grant recipient and MFA student Cristina Echezarreta says, yes, they can.In the process of working with the Georgia Prison Beekeeping program, the graduate student has brought her twin interests, art and entomology, together.

Prior to the prison beekeeping project, Echezarreta later explains she wouldn’t have been so interested in doing a joint art project. Now, she has observed the value of social engagement, and seeks to be ever more inclusive and collaborative.

The Idea Lab Mini Grant Program is supported by Ideas for Creative Exploration, an interdisciplinary initiative for advanced research in the arts at UGA. Ideas for Creative Exploration is supported in part by the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, and the Graduate School.

Call for Participation: Exploring Research as Craft

Cydney Seigerman, a PhD student in Anthropology and Integrative Conservation, and Alden DiCamillo, an MFA student in the Lamar Dodd School of Art, welcome your participation in a cross-disciplinary, three-part workshop they are organizing this spring:

“Exploring Research as Craft: A Workshop Series to Promote Cross-Discipline Communication”

The workshop is supported by an Idea Lab Mini Grant. This year’s theme was “cultivating community.” Our goal is to engage graduate students (masters or PhD) from across the UGA campus, including (but not limited to) Franklin College, the Lamar Dodd School of Art, Warnell, and the Odum School of Ecology.

Click to download call for participation with information on the workshop, including a tentative calendar for the three meetings.

The Idea Lab Mini Grant Program is supported by Ideas for Creative Exploration, an interdisciplinary initiative for advanced research in the arts at UGA. Ideas for Creative Exploration is supported in part by the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, and the Graduate School.

Beekeeping Behind Bars

October 10, 2018
UGA Research
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Beekeeping Behind Bars
By Jordan Meaker

UGA Idea Lab Mini Grant recipient and Masters of Fine Arts student Cristina Echezarreta has been working in close conjunction with the Georgia Prison Beekeepers program and the UGA honeybee lab in order to explore the similarities of prison systems and bee systems.

Echezarreta had taken notice of the peculiar system of honeybee democracy. When honeybees want to leave their hive and scout out a new location, they share information with one another and come to a collective decision.

“It’s not just about the queen bee and she makes all the rules, it’s more so about the collective,” Echezarreta said.

Echezarreta took this idea and put it in practice within prisons.

“The way that relates in an artistic sense is how can we get individuals within prison systems to mimic that kind of behavior,” Echezarreta said. “How can inmates and just people work together to create one commonality, one project?”

Echezarreta takes photos at the prisons and helps gather supplies so inmates can create artwork together and paint hives, working together and helping each other, much like a colony of honeybees.

Through her work in Georgia prisons, Echezarreta said she enjoys the collaborative aspect of the project, which is a change from her solo projects.

“This is more of a different project, a more socially engaged project, a more collaborative project rather than me just being in my studio,” Echezarreta said.

Echezarreta said working with the Prison Beekeeping program has helped her learn to not stereotype and to see things from different perspectives.

Campus Sustainability Grant Awards

Congratulations to Ciyadh Wells, recipient of a Campus Sustainability Grant from the UGA Office of Sustainability. Ciyadh is a second-year Ideas for Creative Exploration Graduate Research Assistant and doctoral student in music. The Trash Music project will explore the possibilities of material reuse through instrument building and performance.

Additional congratulations to grant winners Christina Foard for Imagination Squared, a participatory art project about resilience that was supported by an Ideas for Creative Exploration a2ru conference grant, and Alexandra Hofner for Speaking with nature at Lake M. Allyn Herrick: an ecological narrative through eco-art, an arts-integrative approach environmental stewardship.

Drawn from the Student Green Fee, Campus Sustainability Grants provide up to $5,000 to current UGA students who wish to initiate projects to advance sustainability through education, research, service, and campus operations. For more about the UGA Office of Sustainability visit: sustainability.uga.edu

2018-2019 Idea Lab Mini Grant Awards

Ideas for Creative Exploration is pleased to announce two new Idea Lab Mini Grant recipients. The projects were selected based on creative merit, extent of collaborative and interdisciplinary activity, and feasibility. They address the 2018-2019 theme of “cultivating community” by fostering new narratives around coastal environments and promoting cross-disciplinary communication through creative practice. Mini Grant awards provide production support from ICE Graduate Research Assistants and project funding.

Social Justice, Sustainable Futures: Retelling the History and Experiences of African-Americans in the Coastal Southeast

Lead applicants: Jeffrey Beauvais (doctoral student, Integrative Conservation (ICON)/Ecology) and Kathryn Koopman (graduate student, Music)

While academic studies may help to highlight social ills, many community activists have posited that the critique-focused approach of academic research creates overly negatives narratives that do not offer possible paths for more equitable futures. Through musical collaboration, we will: 1) provide more accurate representations of coastal African-American life and history, 2) give back to partnering communities by performing for them and completing community service during workshops on the coast, and 3) reach wider general audiences and connect them to these stories.

Exploring Research as Craft: A Workshop Series to Promote Cross-Discipline Communication by Examining Processes of Creating to Approach Questions

Lead applicants: Cydney Siegerman (doctoral student, Anthropology) and Alden DiCamillo (graduate student, Art)

The purpose of this collaboration is to promote cross-disciplinary communication by conceptualizing research and practice as craft. We use Ingold’s (2013) definition of craft as the gathering and transformation of material according to cultural and scientific presence. By considering research as craft, our goal is to uncover commonalities that exist among students from diverse disciplines in how they engage with questions about the world. Graduate students across the UGA campus will participate in a three-part project to communicate their research as craft. The project will culminate with a gallery show open to the greater Athens community.

Design + Mathematics: Math Outreach Design Lab

November 2, 2018
UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences
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Design + Mathematics: Math Outreach Design Lab
By Alan Flurry

An image from a model created in an active learning course co-taught by mathematics professor David Gay and associate professor of graphic design Moon Jung Jang appeared as the cover of the October 23 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The model in the illustration was created by 3 math majors and one graphic design major, working collaboratively in the course “Math Outreach Design Lab.” The story of how the course came about provides a great example of the collegial atmosphere between art and STEM faculty on campus, especially as UGA hosts the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities national conference for the first time.

Gay explained that the collaboration goes back two years to when he was invited to be the “mathematician in residence” by Ideas for Creative Exploration director Mark Callahan, who encouraged Gay and Jang to meet and talk at ICE.