2017 CAA Symposium NYC STEM to STEAM

CAA NYC February 2017- Time: 02/17/2017: 10:30AM–12:00PM Location: Madison Suite, 2nd Floor

STEM to STEAM to Teams- Is Art Historical?: Advocacy as the Dangerous Artistry of Collegiality– Dr. Donald Preziosi, Professor Emeritus, University of California, Los Angeles

The theme for this panel claims that art history ‘is uniquely positioned to transform the current obsession with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math’ – that fictional matrix designed to foster, accelerate and further corporatize American education – by inserting art into that matrix. A trap for the gaze, troubling and problematizing what might be taken as natural, true, or real. But if art were actually to be transformational, then we would need to be quite clear indeed about what we actually understand not only by ‘art,’ but also ‘history,’ ‘advocacy,’ and ‘collegiality’ as well. Each of these terms are not only nests of enduring conundrums in themselves, but also mark complex and convoluted histories of disputes about the very nature of society and its identities, opportunities, and affordances.


Exploring the Art of the Medieval Liberal Arts– Dr. Danielle P. Joyner, Visiting Assistant Professor of Art History, Southern Methodist University

Proverbs 9:1 states, “Wisdom hath built herself a house, she hath hewn her own seven columns.” Medieval scholars interpreted those columns as the Seven Liberal Arts—the verbal trivium (grammar, rhetoric, dialectic) and numerical quadrivium (arithmetic, geometry, music, astronomy). For centuries these disciplines defined a well-rounded education and their lofty ideals were strongly promoted during the Carolingian era. Today, the digitization of an extraordinary number of ninth-century manuscripts allows access to what survives of the “nuts and bolts” of Carolingian educational practices. This paper examines the pedagogical value of manuscript imagery associated with studying the Liberal Arts in the ninth-century. Where does imagery appear in the surviving codices and how is it used? Do didactic diagrams and tables provide a unifying continuity across verbal and numerical disciplines? Might representational styles of imagery connect codified knowledge with lived experiences? And importantly, what does imagery reveal about the interdependence of the verbal and numerical disciplines? Teachers and students from the ninth to the twenty-first centuries seek firm toeholds in seemingly insurmountable mountains of knowledge. The efforts of those from an era still too frequently called the “Dark Ages” can encourage and propel us today, especially when arguing the value of merging poetry with astronomy and of applying art historical lessons to broader cultural principles. Surely a formulation of knowledge that builds upon itself and leads to wisdom offers an especially powerful model for today’s world. After all, were any of Wisdom’s columns unstable, her house would collapse.

Identifying Stakeholders and Collaborating with Industry to Refigure Art Curricula– Dr. Andrew Paul Findley, Assistant Professor of Art History, Ivy Tech Community College

The current trend at many technical and community colleges to tailor course offerings to job preparation can be perceived as a threat to the long-term health of art historical education. While challenging, this situation also presents art historians with an opportunity to present the study of art as something relevant and helpful to teachers and students of STEM fields. One way to accomplish this is by collaborating across disciplines and consulting with representatives of private industry to identify how an art historical education can enhance the transferable skills of STEM field students. This paper outlines an approach to course development that emphasizes the importance of working with STEM stakeholders inside and outside of academia. In particular, this presentation will offer strategies to identify potential advocates and foster working relationships using the basic institutional resources maintained by most schools of higher education, including offices of Development, Alumni Affairs, Corporate Partnerships, and Foundation Relations.


STEAM Emphasis at Fisk University Galleries: Art History, Physics, and Computer Science– Dr. Nikoo Paydar, Assistant Curator, Fisk University Galleries

Fisk University is a Historically Black College and University that has received multiple R&D 100 Awards and has a collection of 4,000 artworks (including The Alfred Stieglitz Collection and The Harmon Foundation Collection). Fisk University Galleries’ focus is to integrate the galleries into all academic disciplines. This paper, “STEAM Emphasis at Fisk University Galleries: Art History, Physics, and Computer Science,” explores the 2016-17 transformation of the Fisk University Galleries programming toward a focus on STEAM as well as a “powered by Fisk students”-operational approach. It outlines three successful models of collaborative STEAM projects with a strong university art collection as the foundation: 1) The STEAM Series of gallery talks with Physics Professor Kent Wallace, 2) “Under the Microscope,” a photography competition for physics students with Physics Professor Arnold Burger, and 3) a kiosk development project with Professor Sajid Husain and his computer science students. The paper will describe the process and outcomes of these projects (all in various stages of development), and the opportunities and impact of working with physicists and computer scientists on the design-side of our programs. By fully integrating them into the future vision of what the gallery can do from a strategy perspective, we are greatly expanding the variety of transformational experiences possible in the gallery.


Arts Integration and Art Historical Pedagogy in STEM Collaborations– Dr. Shalini Le gall, Curator of Academic Programs, Colby College Museum of Art

Institutions of higher education are currently structured in ways that separate humanities faculty from their scientific counterparts, yet collaborations across these disciplines can inspire new forms of pedagogy that draw from the interdisciplinary student experience. At the Colby College Museum of Art, STEM faculty have tailored the laboratory model of their courses to the object-centered learning that occurs in the museum by developing a methodological process that includes working in teams, generating hypotheses, defining data sets, and reporting findings. This paper will provide an overview of case studies in Biology, Mathematics, and Statistics courses that incorporate the study of art works, and then consider the implications of bringing scientific methodologies into the field of art history. During a class recently held at the Colby Museum, a Statistics professor used works of art to help students distinguish between random and representative data samples. Students observed that although random samples of the museum’s collection could be mathematically generated, representative samples had to be selected, or curated, to reflect the strengths and scope of the collection. The ensuing discussion raised questions about the humanistic nature of data collection, the limits of the artistic canon, and the potential for works of art to serve as visual data. Within such a framework, this paper will explore how art historians are uniquely situated to lead such STEM collaborations by leveraging the methodology and deductive processes of the sciences in ways that highlight the importance of object-centered research and visual literacy.


Training the Eye: Pedagogic Approaches to Teaching with Art in the Sciences– Dr. Liliana Milkova, Curator of Academic Programs, Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin

Over the last twenty years leading medical schools have increasingly included museum sessions in their curricula. Engagement with original works of art, as well as in an open-ended dialog about their meanings, helps medical students strengthen their critical observation skills, but also become more flexible thinkers, who can entertain multiple possibilities, adopt different perspectives, and grapple with ambiguity. But how can teaching and learning at the undergraduate level benefit from encounters with art? How can STEM faculty deploy some of the tools and methodologies of art history to advance their discipline-specific course goals and learning outcomes, while training students in a progressively global context? Drawing on recent collaborations with Oberlin College faculty in Biology, Mathematics, and Neuroscience and with Oberlin’s Premedical Program, this paper discusses the application of visual analysis – the basic unit of art historical writing – in science courses and its relevance to the scientific process. The paper further explores how works of art from various time periods and geographic locations can be utilized as visual documents that can aid understanding and knowledge retention in the sciences, in addition to introducing an intercultural angle on scientific phenomena.


What’s Art Got to Do with It?– Dr. Polly Hoover, Professor, Wilbur Wright College

The international Conference on High Energy Physics (ICHEP) recently hosted the Windy City Physics Slam: Where Particle Physicist Collide, which included a musical on the death of the universe, a rap about neutrinos, and a dance replicating electrons in a sold-out event. Its popularity mirrors the general move toward incorporating the arts into the sciences and the sciences into the arts to elucidate the sciences and arts more clearly, to deepen STEM learning, and to cross the divide between the two areas. The transformation of STEM subjects into STEAM projects challenges the typical pedagogy of science and arts education, yet it also raises concomitant issues. What is the Art in STEAM: what arts are being integrated and for what purposes? Is it art or is it craft? Does STEAM privilege the sciences or do the two areas inform each other? Baines (2015), for instance, argues that the arts represents the language arts; Spector (2015) configures the arts as the liberal arts and humanities in general; and Sousa and Pilecki (2013) narrow the category to visual and performing arts only. This presentation examines the assumptions about art that underpin the conceptualization of STEAM and explores the questions of creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration heralded as the benefits of incorporating the arts into STEM and the sciences into the arts to form STEAM.


Intersecting Art and Science: Curation, Curriculum, and Collaboration– Dr. Hannah Star Rogers,Columbia University

Rogers will discuss her experience as a researcher on the intersection of art and science from a Science and Technology Studies perspective. She will highlight her work on what the arts can add to scientific conversations and what teaching creative methods can add to science and engineering curricula by way of her experience teaching at Mountain Lake Biological Station, the ABCRC in Oyster, VA, and UVA’s School of Engineering and Applied Science. Rogers is also the curator of Making Science Visible: The Photography of Berenice Abbott and she will discuss Abbott’s photographs as objects of research and pedagogical tools.