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PROJECT ABSTRACTS
2019–2020 A&A FACULTY RESEARCH GRANTS

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Cathy Braasch—Architecture

DRAWING LABORATORY: The Pedagogy of Robert Reed

This proposal is seeking funding for publishing expenses for Drawing Laboratory: The Pedagogy of Robert Reed, which documents and analyzes the undocumented curriculum of Robert Reed (1938-2014). Reed taught drawing for nearly fifty years and was the first black professor tenured at the Yale School of Art. His curriculum is key to understanding the Bauhaus legacy in the United States and the curricula of contemporary art programs. Based on interviews, Reed’s private archives, and the implementation of curriculum at the 2019 Robert Reed Drawing Workshops, this book provides access to Reed’s pedagogical innovations for a broad audience of art and design students and educators.

Alexandra Staub—Architecture

Ethics in the Built Environment

In the project Ethics in the Built Environment, I will develop an edited book and write a substantial theoretical chapter for a volume that will, for the first time, bring together stakeholder theory, principled negotiation theory, and architectural theory. I will also organize an international, two-day symposium (separately funded) to be held at Penn State in the Fall of 2020. This grant application seeks funds for a graduate research assistant who will assist me in developing a detailed book proposal to be sent to an academic press in the Summer of 2020.

Naomi Pitamber—Art History

Conquering the Sacred East: The Orthodox, Latin, and Muslim Histories of Hagia Sophia, Panagia Antheniotissa, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

My second book project, entitled Conquering the Sacred East: The Orthodox, Latin, and Muslim Histories of Hagia Sophia, Panagia Atheniotissa, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, centers on the persistence of sacred space epitomized by three monuments spanning the eleventh to fifteenth centuries. Each was built by one culture, and throughout their medieval histories, were taken over, converted, and rededicated for use by Orthodox Christians, Latin Christians, and Muslims. The transfers and renovations coincide with contestations of power between western European crusaders, Byzantine Orthodox Greeks, and north African and Egyptian Muslim powers during the period of the crusades.

Stephen Mainzer—Landscape Architecture

Socio-Ecological Structure of Pro-environmental Governance in Pennsylvania Counties

As the climate crisis rages forward, the current breakdown in federal governance is a threat to resilient energy development. Instead, state and county governance might offer opportunities to guide ecologically sensitive energy decisions. Yet, our previous work found that the Pennsylvania counties most in need of transitioning to a renewable energy economy were among the least likely to vote in favor of pro-environmental platforms. This study proposes to leverage socio-ecological systems (SES) data from a statewide pilot study to investigate this conflict in greater depth through a geospatial and statistical analysis of four representative counties.  Through this process we expect to identify SES structures that influence counties’ support of pro-environmental initiatives, specifically renewable energy implementation.

Baljinder Sekhon—Music

Original Saxophone Compositions—Portrait Recording

This grant is to support the recording, publication, and release of my original compositions for saxophone on a commercial album. My work is presented to audiences in two ways: live performance and recording. It is essential to have compositions recorded by first-rate performers in an environment where the composer is collaborating with the performers and engineer. The result of such a scenario is a recording that definitively represents the artwork at the highest level. This album will assist future performers in understanding my work, generate reviews from commercial media outlets and journals, and provide a definitive representation of my compositions.

Christopher Kiver—Music

19th Amendment Centenary Commissioning Project

In November 2020, the Glee Club will present the world premiere of three commissioned works by women composers to mark the centenary of the adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution granting women the vote. Students will visit the Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls and the Susan B. Anthony home in Rochester. Related interdisciplinary events will provide an immersive experience and engaged scholarship opportunities for performers and the community through collaboration with the College of the Liberal Arts, Humanities Institute, Special Collections Library, Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and The Palmer Museum of Art.

Christopher Guzman—Music

J.S. Bach’s Keyboard Partitas:  A Concert Tour and Premiere Video Recording

The collection of six keyboard Partitas of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750) is a masterpiece of the Baroque era which, unfortunately, very rarely receives complete live performances. I plan to study these in great depth with one of the most important Bach keyboard scholars of our time, Robert Levin, professor emeritus of Harvard University. After meeting with Professor Levin, I will perform at various schools in the United States, Singapore, Taiwan, and China. Remarkably, there is no commercial video recording of the complete Partitas by a single pianist available online. I plan on producing the first video recording of this important collection of works, in addition to publishing two audio CDs, which will showcase Penn State’s new Recital Hall and beautiful Hamburg Steinway piano.

Naomi Seidman—Music

The National Flute Associate Library: Exploration and Discovery

The National Flute Association (NFA) music library is held at the University of Arizona Fine Arts Library in Tucson, Arizona. This library includes music donated by flutists since its founding in 1974. The library contains five special collections of sheet music in closed stacks which are mostly uncatalogued and contain rare and fragile materials. These materials do not circulate, and there is very little online catalog information about them. have received permission from the University of Arizona Library and the NFA to visit the library to research the contents of these collections and to identify rare and out of print materials for further research and study.

Eduardo Navas—Visual Arts

Remixing Analytics: Metaproduction for Image, Sound, and Text

I propose an art and research installation, and series of dialogues that comprise my practice and research on remix studies. The installation will include research on the emerging role of machine learning as an integral part of the elements of selectivity and remix in contemporary creative production. The installation is to be considered a merging of art, research, and pedagogy. It will include research documentation and visualizations about the role of remix as both research method and creative practice.

Aaron D. Knochel—Visual Arts

Zooming Out: Scaling Up National to Global Initiatives in Media Arts Standards and Curriculum 

My research explores digital technologies impact on arts learning, more generally known as the media arts. I propose researching three scales of context for understanding media arts pedagogy in art education by focusing on practice at the local, national, and global context. Impacts of this research are to develop a better understanding of the media arts at a global scale to initiate, catalyze, or allow reconceptualization of a domestic media arts agenda. Grant funding provides capacity to develop case studies of media arts pedagogy, cultivate professional learning communities in media arts pedagogy and educational policy, and disseminate research findings.

Nichole van Beek—Visual Arts

Systems-Thinking in Art Practice: Growing Compostable Materials in Support of Climate Action

I am seeking “Seed Funding” to continue to research and test compostable materials that can be used to create two- and three-dimensional art works, and props, costumes, or sets for community events. I will be combining mycofoam, kombucha leather, agar and starch-based bioplastics, and handmade inks, dyes, and paints to make lightweight components. I am aiming to exhibit the work during the late summer and fall of 2020, and to develop possible workshops, curriculum, and a written guide for growing, using, and composting these materials.

Cristin Millett—Visual Arts

Ex-Utero: A Sculptural Exploration of Ectogenesis

With the assistance of College Project Funding, I will complete phase 2 of my research by creating Ex-Utero (June–August, 2020). Prior Seed Funding supported an exploratory visit to SymbioticA at the University of Western Australia in 2017. As a result, I received a Fulbright Scholar Award to Australia (2020). Project Funding from the College will support the creation of Ex-Utero, a sculptural artwork based on the science of ectogenesis, the replacement of the fecund uterus by a machine. Ex-Utero will prompt questions and conversations about the socio-cultural impact of ectogenesis, a science that will change the future of humanity.

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