2020 Projects

Legacy and Identity through Fashion: A Portrait of the First Ladies of Indiana University

Linda Pisano & Heather Milam - Department of Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance

Throughout history and even in our current climate, political leaders who identify as male have been left a clear   unchallenged legacy of their work, while those who identify as female, particularly first ladies, have been mostly remembered for their fashion and style. With this record of inequality in mind, Professors Linda Pisano and Heather Milam will recreate selected garments worn by Indiana University first ladies as an investigation into how powerful women use garments as vestimentary code to convey their platforms, ideals, and the constituencies that they represent. The resulting exhibit will provide a clear identity for women who had a profound impact on the leadership of Indiana University in the past two hundred years, but whose faces are rarely seen, as well as a lasting, tangible engagement about how we have engendered dress and how these Indiana University women, like other women throughout history, have used their style and fashion to amplify their voices and expand their influence. 


Indiana Switchgrass: Style "Homegrown" in Midwest Contemporary Art and Beyond

Freda Fair - Department of Gender Studies & Faye Gleisser - Department of Art History

"Indiana Switchgrass" brings together four emerging artists of color (Shamira Wilson, Devon Ginn, Mikael Chukwuma Owunna, and Katherine Simone Reynolds) whose creative practices engage with built, natural, and atmospheric environment. Taking Indiana as a point of departure, Professors Faye Gleisser and Freda Fair will create a two-part program (an undergraduate workshop and a public roundtable) that highlights the artists' investigatory work across transportation, agricultural, industrial, and cultural processes. The program's goals include providing a supporting platform for emerging contemporary artists in the region to reflect and convene around salient topics of identity, infrastructure, and embodiment; exposing IU students to emerging contemporary artists and the values that drive their practices; and fostering open conversations between campus and community artists with the hope that these connections will lead to future opportunities and collaborations.

Home State

Tim Kennedy - Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design

Tim Kennedy, a Midwest native who has lived in Indiana since 2000, started his painting career in response to the charged appearance of the everyday world and the texture of our lives. Over time, however, his work has evolved to include more social commentary, and his circle of subjects has widened to include exterior spaces intended for public use such as parks, boating facilities, marinas, and campgrounds. With "Home State," Kennedy plans for the first time to show a significant number of INdiana-themed paintings from a variety of periods in the state where they were created. This retrospective of themes that are particularly Midwestern and proudly American will provide a dynamic window on the lives we lead and the larger social forces that shape them.

Devised Theatre Production based on the fiction of author Michael Martone

Jonathan Michaelson - Department of Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance

Michael Martone, an Indiana native and Indiana University alumnus, writes fiction that examines the people of Indiana and life in the Hoosier State, while grappling with questions of place, identity, and how our daily lived "style" impacts our lives. Professor Jonathan Michaelson plans to adapt Marton's novel, Winesburg, Indiana, into a theatrical script which will shed light on aspects of the state's identity through the dramatization of the humor and humanity found in small-town Indiana. The project includes touring the play and outreach to audiences with limited access to the performing arts with the goal of fostering exchange between artists and community.

New Harmony

Tanya Palmer - Department of Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance

New Harmony, Indiana, situated 130 miles southwest of Bloomington, was home to two utopian communities that have left a lasting legacy and informed New Harmony's regional culture and identity. Tanya Palmer and her creative team will work with community leaders to devise a new play featuring the voices of Souther Indiana dreamers past and present in order to discover what New Harmony's utopian history, and the art and architecture it inspired, reveals and reflects about the regions current culture, values, and style. The project will explore tensions between competing visions of an ideal community, between opposing narratives of what constitutes a community's past, present, and future, and between secular ideologies and spiritual values.

So This Was Hillside: A Novel

Brenda Weber - Department of Gender Studies

Brenda Weber will begin work on So This Was Hillside, a fictionalized biography of her family and the broader social history of Indianapolis from the early 19th century to the present day.  Extending from the social history of her family’s original Beach Grove home to her grandfather’s self-published 100-page history of his adopted Indiana home, Weber proposes a book that is both fiction and non-fiction, weaving together historical accounts, personal letters, archival materials, and social history with imagined narrative and dialogue. Weber’s book will explore the manifold style of Indiana as well as its many diverse instantiations, including the contrast between agrarian farmlands and increasing urbanization as well as the broader ideologies of Americanness that assert themselves in and through the growing footprint of Indianapolis.

In the Style of Indiana Limestone

Jeeyea Kim & W. Dorian Bybee - Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design

Indiana limestone, quarried from the narrow, irregular band of a geological deposit in south-central Indiana, not only bears the name of our state, but also represents the style of the state through its proud history and enduring presence in some of our most important landmarks. Assistant Professor of Architecture Jeeyea Kim’s plans to explore this ‘traditional’ material as it has been deployed across an array of contemporary design applications - including architectural panel systems, product design, public art, and large-scale sculpture. She is especially interested in researching vernacular architectural details found in Indiana limestone veneers and the ornamental styles found around architectural apertures – doors and windows – typical of local residential architecture. Her work will result in a series of graphic presentation boards, a comprehensive booklet, several small-scale 3d print models of portions of the design, and two half-scale physical mockups of detail conditions, with a goal to serve both the design community and the general public.

Indiana Style: Formative and Conceptual Identity

Jooyoung Shin - Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design

Assistant Professor of Fashion Design Jooyoung Shin plans to research Indiana’s fashion icons (Elizabeth Clementine Miller Tangemen, Mary Stewart Carey, Irene Dunne, Leroy Carr, among others) in order to identify the state’s distinct styles and trace their formation and evolution over the past two hundred years. Using various perspectives to understand prevailing ideal aesthetic tastes, social customs, moralit,y and ideologies favored and employed by the people of Indiana at different times, her project will be the first study to identify the unique patterns of Indiana style development and to propose how its legacy can be preserved for future generations. The project will produce first a written publication demonstrating the shaping of Indiana style and then a curated fashion exhibition. The outcomes of the project will not only provide resources for students, academics, designers, artists and other professionals in the relevant fields, but also support and encourage the next generation who will lead the development and preservation of the Indiana style.

Midwestern Modernism and Indiana: The Other French Connection

Marleen Newman - Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design

The architectural works of Le Corbusier, Gropius, and Mies van der Rohe loom large in the history of modernism, as chronicled in Hitchcock and Johnson’s famous book, International Style. But where does the work of the other modern titan, Alvar Aalto, fit into this historiography? In my initial research into the largely unexplored archives of Harry Weese in the Chicago History Museum, Research Center and in the Ryerson and Burnham Archives at the Art Institute of Chicago, I have found significant linkages between Weese’s early design work in Columbus, Indiana and a new theory of modernism based on regionalism in the mid- west generally and in Columbus, specifically. I hope to continue my initial research into the largely uncatalogued archives of Harry Weese, which suggest linkages to another as yet unknown modernism supported by Alvar Aalto and Andre Lurcat, and in turn form a counterpoint to the mainstream theories of modern architecture supported by Le Corbusier, Gropius, and Mies.

Forest and Industry: John Muir in Indiana

Nathan Schmidt - Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of English

My research is interested in the point in John Muir’s life when he shifted his focus away from being an inventor towards the wilderness. After a business venture in Canada involving mechanically-turned broom handles literally burned to the ground, the unmoored Muir went looking for a new place to center himself, settling on Indianapolis. Delving into the archive of Muir’s Indianapolis experience, I want to explore the ways in which his assumptions about Indiana as a state between the forest and the factory constitute what could be considered a “style”—Indiana as the meeting-place of the forest, the swamp, and the railroad, and therefore of the environmental and the technological. Within the larger trajectory of my dissertation, I want to consider the “style” of the place that became so pivotal for Muir, investigating how it began for him as a place that expressed the ideal synthesis of the natural and the technological, but it became the place where he drew the most distinct dichotomy between the inventions of man and “the inventions of God.”

Community Music Making in Southern Indiana

Jennie Williams - Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology

Lotus Dickey (1911-1989) is a widely known fiddler in the music scenes of southern Indiana as well as in Bloomington, thanks in part to the local popularity of his namesake, the Lotus World Music & Arts Festival. In the 1980s, folklorists and musicians became interested in documenting Lotus and the traditional tunes and original compositions he played. The documentary Water From Another Time (1982), book publication The Lotus Dickey Songbook (1995), and multiple music recordings have been studied in university classes and in his local community. Several music and field recordings of Lotus Dickey can be accessed in the Archives of Traditional Music at Indiana University. Today, Lotus’s son Stephen Dickey plays the fiddle with his wife and friends in and around Paoli, where his family was raised. My project will utilize ethnographic research methods to document the music making events currently happening that community and perhaps produce a publication or music album that captures the style of the state among the musicians who knew Lotus Dickey and his family, with special attention paid to those families and individuals in the region who carry on this tradition of communal music making.