English Professors Honored with 2014 IFI Awards

Jul 24, 2014
Jen Buckley, Stephen Voyce photo

Jennifer Buckley, Assistant Professor, English
Arts and Humanities Initiative Grant

Action, Scene, and Voice: Twenty-first Century Dialogues with Edward Gordon Craig

Scholarship and performance interact and circulate in 'Action, Scene, and Voice: Twenty-first Century Dialogues with Edward Gordon Craig,' a multimodal digital collection that brings together an international group of established and emerging scholars, actors, dancers, performance artists, puppeteers, mimes, directors, choreographers, stage designers, and archivists. Capitalizing on the intense interest in theatre and media and in performance as research, I propose an interdisciplinary scholarly website in which Edward Gordon Craig (1872-1966), the controversial English actor, director, engraver, and theatre theorist, serves as the central node in a network connecting innovative critical and performance work that responds both to Craig’s art and to his polemics. Contributors from the US, France, the UK, and China have already committed to the project, and I intend to use a polished, content-rich initial web publication to attract more. The site will be innovative not only in its use of a new platform, Scalar, but also in its equal valuation of performance and scholarship. The project will demonstrate how digital platforms can enable scholars and performing artists to collaboratively produce work and to make that work accessible to a global audience.

Miriam Thaggert, Associate Professor, English
Arts and Humanities Initiative Grant

Riding Jane Crow: Gender and the Railroads in African American Culture

My book manuscript, “Riding Jane Crow: Gender and the Railroads in African American Culture,” examines the social effect of nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century technology, particularly the railroad, on the perception of race, gender, class and nationality in American literature. The book examines the portrayal of the train in African American fiction, the black female workers who serviced railroad lines, the black middle-class women who sued to ride as “ladies” in first-class passenger cars, and the impact of the train in black expressive culture.

Stephen Voyce, Assistant Professor, English
Arts and Humanities Initiatives Grant

Fluxus Digital Collection

The Fluxus Digital Collection consists of an online archive of the most artistically mischievous works in twentieth-century art history. Fluxus was an international consortium of artists, composers, writers, and filmmakers working together during the 1960s, 70s, and early-80s. The group’s members famously created their genre-blurring “intermedia” art and performance events, which often involved text, image, film, and audio recordings together in a single work. Both prescient and playful, Fluxus members referred to this collaborative mode of art-making as the “Eternal Network.”

It is precisely this multi-modal approach to art that makes the group so difficult to document and exhibit, since traditional formats (the gallery space, book catalogue, etc.) either fail to represent Fluxus’ intermedial work or grant its viewers the necessary access to view/read/listen/interact with such works. As a result, only a very small number of scholars have ever experienced Fluxus artworks in their entirety. Approximately 90% of UI Special Collections’ holdings, for instance, remain unpublished or unexhibited.

At present all pre-production phases of the project are complete (e.g. copyright acquisition, metadata processing), while many production phases are finished or underway (e.g. photography, 3D modeling, scanning). Working with an outstanding team of designers, programmers, and librarians, the Fluxus Digital Collection requires funding to complete (1) web-animated filming, (2) data visualization, and (3) digitizing of a magazine collection donated by artist Ken Friedman (who generously gave us his collection after learning about our project and the expanded audience it will offer his work).

Simply put, the final outcome of this project is a media-intensive website that gives unprecedented access to the art, writing, musical scores, films, unpublished primary documents, and criticism of a movement exceedingly elusive yet widely considered to be one of the most important of the twentieth century. In so doing, we create a model for future faculty-librarian digital humanities collaborations, creating greater efficiency and cost-effective protocols for digital archive research, management, and exhibition.

For a full list of the 2014 IFI Award recipients, click here for the full article.