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Fall 2023 Center for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities Award Winners Announced

Caitlin Ware, Iowa State University Office of the Vice President for Research

Posted Nov 28, 2023

Ten Iowa State University scholars have been selected to receive more than $54,000 in institutional funding from the fall 2023 round of grants offered through the Center for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities (CEAH).

Offered twice each year — and administered in collaboration with the Office of the Vice President for Research — the suite of CEAH funding opportunities provide support to Iowa State’s humanities, arts, and design faculty members engaging in vital scholarship that builds knowledge and bolsters the university’s reputation as an innovative research institution. The grant recipients selected this fall will receive funding support to pursue humanities-focused research projects, plan conferences and seminars, and explore digital scholarship over the course of fiscal year 2024.

“The CEAH’s grant programs provide much needed support to our arts, design, and humanities faculty whose research informs every facet of Iowa State’s intellectual enterprise,” said CEAH Director Matt Sivils. “It’s critical work — the humanities teach us not only how to think, but how to live intelligently. Humanities work teaches us to lead by inspiring the best in ourselves and others, and to leverage truth in service of innovation. Since its inception, innovative arts and humanities research has resided at the very core of Iowa State’s Land Grant mission. This year’s award winners truly embody the spirit of this mission.”

CEAH Research Grants

CEAH Research Grants provide funding for research and creative activity designed to make a significant contribution to the scholarly development and academic career progression of faculty in the arts, design, and humanities disciplines. They can be utilized to fund scholarly humanistic inquiry and creative artistic productivity, including research in the design and social sciences disciplines that have artistic or humanistic content and employ artistic or humanistic methods.

This fall, three Iowa State scholars were selected to receive CEAH Research Grants.

Raluca Iancu, Assistant Professor of Art and Visual Culture
Proposal Title: “Mokuhanga and Washi in Japan”

This project will allow Iancu to pursue further study of Japanese non-toxic printmaking techniques — in addition to Japanese papermaking — which she will incorporate into her

creative scholarship and her pedagogy. The project includes: mokuhanga woodblock printing research in Tokyo and Osaka; participation in the juried invitational artist residency at the Mokuhanga Innovation Lab (Mi-Lab) in Echizen; participation in a papermaking workshop in the historical Echizen papermaking village; the creation of a new portfolio of eight mokuhanga prints; an exhibition at the Center for the Science of Human Endeavor (CfSHE) Gallery in Tokyo; and subsequent exhibitions in the United States.

Gregory Oakes, Professor of Music and Theatre
Proposal Title: “Expanding the Repertoire for the Quarter Tone-Extended Clarinet”

Oakes has developed a new clarinet, called the Quarter Tone-Extended Clarinet, which features extra keys to allow playing of quarter tones throughout the instrument’s entire range. This instrument allows composers to write quarter tone music for the clarinet without the limitations that a standard clarinet has historically presented. Through this project, Oakes will commission two composers to write music for the Quarter Tone-Extended Clarinet and perform the pieces in a concert at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. The performance will also be video recorded to reach a larger audience within the contemporary music field.

Jeremy Withers, Associate Professor of English
Proposal Title: “Birding English: Exploring the History of a Language through 50 Birds”

In this project, Withers will examine the contribution of birds and bird watching to the English language. This project will also investigate the connection between the language of birds and significant changes in the history of English. Consisting of 50 mini-essay chapters that each focus on a connection between a particular bird and a specific aspect of the history of English, Withers will make the argument that one can learn about English’s history by tracking the language of birds and human observation of them. Writers including Chaucer and Shakespeare and contemporary topics including social justice and the influence of the internet will be considered.

CEAH Digital Scholarship Research Grants

To foster innovative digital scholarship, the CEAH provides Digital Scholarship Research Grants for research and creative activity that incorporates a substantial digital component and that will make a significant contribution to the scholarly development and academic career progression of faculty in the arts, design, and humanities disciplines.

This fall, one Iowa State scholar was selected to receive a CEAH Digital Scholarship Research grant.

Xavier Dapena, Assistant Professor of World Languages and Cultures
Proposal Title: “Streaming Wars: The New Hispanic TV Series”

Dapena’s project will be a book-length critical examination of how digital platforms are becoming important agents in transmitting values and sociocultural changes, and why TV series are one of their key vehicles. The volume will be co-edited by Dapena and Fiona Noble from the University of Stirling, Scotland, UK, and will center on the increasing importance and prominence of Spanish-language streaming content. The project will feature 12 national and international contributors in the academic field.

CEAH Symposium Grants

The CEAH also provides Symposium Grants to support the creation of artistic and scholarly conferences, symposia, or seminars on Iowa State’s campus that will attract significant national attention and bring recognition to the scholarly work being done by the university’s arts and humanities faculty.

This fall, two collaborative groups of Iowa State scholars and one individually led initiative were selected to receive CEAH Symposium Grants.

Daejin Kim, Assistant Professor of Interior Design
Raluca Lancu, Assistant Professor of Art and Visual Culture
Jiwnath Ghimire, Assistant Professor of Community and Regional Planning
Patrick Finley, Assistant Professor of Graphic Design
Symposium Proposal Title: “Spectrum of Innovation Symposium”

The Spectrum of Innovation Symposium — expected to take place in April 2024 — will explore and celebrate the dynamic landscape of innovation across multiple fields and disciplines. Focused on four key themes – fostering creativity and innovation in higher education; promoting innovation in accessibility; exploring ethical considerations in innovation; and driving innovation for sustainability – this symposium is expected to have a significant impact on the innovation ecosystem. Bringing together leading experts, educators, and students, the event will offer valuable insights, experiences, and strategies for cultivating innovation in today’s ever-changing world. The event will feature keynote speeches, panel discussions, hands-on workshops, networking sessions, and innovation showcases.

Johnny DiBlasi, Assistant Professor of Art and Visual Culture
Ingrid Lilligren, Professor of Art and Visual Culture
Symposium Proposal Title: “Beauty Investigated: Dilemmas, Projects, and Promises”

Planned for February 2024, this symposium will investigate aspects of the cultural construction of beauty, including perspectives found in AI, art, and socially engaged pedagogies. Questions to be considered include how beauty is constructed and defined, who determines meanings of beauty, the social history of standards of beauty and the consequences of their application, and the relevance and impact of how we think about this all-too-often overused concept. The symposium’s focus on the interdisciplinary aspects of aesthetics will specifically spotlight the questions and problems that arise from constructed principles of beauty: How are these principles taught to us via society as behavior learned by the group? When we experience beauty, where does the intrinsic reaction to beauty come from? How do we come to agreement on what is considered beautiful?

Julie Stevens, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture
Symposium Proposal Title: “Trauma-Informed Design Symposium”

Slated for April 2024, this symposium will contend that Trauma-Informed Design (TID) is more than a buzz word, it is a paradigm shift that goes beyond making spaces beautiful and requires that designers work with an understanding of how the physical environment impacts human health and well-being. This symposium will bring together trauma experts from social work, criminal justice, and human development disciplines, along with environmental designers to create a community of designers and scholars dedicated to the development of Trauma-Informed Design. Through this symposium, attendees will have an opportunity to gather around the shared vision of bringing peace, justice, and healing to those who have experienced trauma through three primary goals: sharing knowledge, visions, concerns, and joys while building community; creating a holistic, research-based framework to guide the development of trauma-informed design; and preparing abstracts for a specific issue journal.