Imagining America Conference

At the Crossroads is the theme of the 16th Annual National Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on October 6 – 8, 2016. The Pre-conference will be held on October 5th. The Conference is hosted by the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, and
co-sponsored by the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD), and Marquette University.

Imagining America was launched at a 1999 White House Conference initiated by the White House Millennium Council, the University of Michigan, and the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. The name Imagining America reflected the theme of the White House Millennium Council that focused on renewing participation in all walks of U.S. life: “Honor the Past—Imagine the Future.”

By the late 1990s, the national conversation about higher education’s civic purpose was well established, reinvigorated during the previous decade. Newly created centers for service‐learning and community partnerships were advancing higher education’s commitment to engagement. However, values of reciprocity and mutual benefit sometimes went unrealized, and humanities, arts, and design were underrepresented.

Register, view the schedule, learn about hotel accommodations at the conference website.


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

4:00–5:30 pm
Digital Humanities Lab
UWM Golda Meir Library
Place Acts, Storytelling and New Digital Media

Presenters: Tim Raphael and Julie Winokur
In a series of interactive conversations Raphael and Winokur will speak on the role of storytelling and new digital media in producing histories of local places and people. In their work, Raphael and Winokur have worked with grassroots organization and local communities, bringing to public attention worlds and voices of people whose accounts are often ignored in official histories of places and cities. They will introduce us to some of their projects and collaborations and address how the medium, methods and practices of storytelling can engage and empower communities and citizen in the twenty first century in innovative ways.

This event is sponsored by Buildings-Landscapes-Cultures, Chipstone Foundation, UWM DH Lab and C21.

Presenter and Bio: Julie Winokur, Executive Director of Talking Eyes Media, has been a storyteller for over two decades, first as a magazine writer and then as a documentary filmmaker. She launched Talking Eyes in 2002 as a way to focus on creating visual media that catalyzes positive social change. Her work has appeared on PBS, the Documentary Channel, MediaStorm, National Geographic Magazine and Discovery online, as well as in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, and Beyond broadcast and publication, Winokur works extensively with nonprofit organizations to develop their messages and put Talking Eyes’ films to work at the grassroots level. She is also on the faculty of the International Center of Photography.

Presenter and Bio: Tim Raphael is associate professor of Arts, Culture and Media at Rutgers University-Newark. He is the founding director of the Center for Migration and the Global City, (CMGC) an incubator for multidisciplinary scholarship, teaching, and civic engagement. CMGC supports immigration research, educational curriculum, public humanities programming and civic partnerships with community and cultural organizations that work with immigrant communities. Raphael is also the co-founder and director of Newest Americans, a multimedia research, documentary and arts project produced by CMGC and faculty in the Department of Arts, Culture and Media at Rutgers University-Newark in partnership with VII Photo and Talking Eyes Media. He is also a theater director, producer, dramaturge, and adapter who has developed more than 50 new American plays. He has written extensively on the intersection of politics and performance and is the author of The President Electric: Ronald Reagan and the Politics of Performance, which examines Reagan’s immersion in radio, film and television as a case study of how the techniques and technologies of electronic media have transformed American politics and political representation. Raphael holds a BA in the History of Religions from Wesleyan University and an MA and PhD in performance studies from Northwestern University. He has taught theater, performance studies, and American studies at Rutgers, Dartmouth College, Northwestern University, Wesleyan University, Ursinus College, Georgetown University, and the Universidade Aberta in Lisbon, Portugal.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

UWM Campus
Our Changing Climate: Community Partnerships for Resilience

Presenter: N. Claire Napawan, Assistant Professor, Landscape Architecture & Environmental Design, Department of Human Ecology, University of California Davis


A team of environmental designers from UC-Davis will offer a 90-minute workshop on “a digital/physical scavenger hunt that gets participants to explore parts of UW Milwaukee campus through the lens of climate vulnerability/resilience and record/share their discoveries via social media.” The goal is to meet briefly for 30 minutes to introduce the project and pass out cards to participants that indicate a specific element related to climate change (water, heat, health, transportation, public space, infrastructure, etc.) Each card is double sided with information related to the condition as evidence if either resilience of vulnerability to climate change (attached are past examples). Our participants then spend time looking for evidence of the specific element they were assigned and evaluate whether they find it represents community resilience or vulnerability. Participants use their smartphone and the card to photograph and upload what they’ve found.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

8:00 pm
UW-Milwaukee Theater Building Mainstage
“This is Washington Park”

Performer and Bio: Professor Alvar Rios from the Peck School has transformed the oral histories collected at the BLC field school into a drama production. This production will open on Thursday October 6 at the UWM Theater mainstage as part of the opening night festivities at the Imagining America conference. This is Washington Park is a docu-drama told through the eyes of a group of college students who have been assigned to collect oral histories from the people who live, work and care about the neighborhoods in the Washington Park area. This play is created in partnership with the UWM School of Architecture and Urban Planning.

Friday, October 7, 2016: Four Events!

11:30 am to 2:30 pm
AUP Commons
The School of Architecture & Urban Planning
“CoPED: A New Voice for Publicly Engaged Design Education”
A special session of “At the Crossroads,” the 16th annual national conference of Imagining America: The Commission on Publicly Engaged Design (CoPED).

Presenters: Kush Patel, Sekou Cooke, Lyn Osgood, Brett Snyder, Mallika Bose, Arijit Sen and others.

Session Summary: This special session will focus on the work being done by IA affiliated faculty to educate young designers on the importance of publicly engaged scholarship. The session will include an introductory presentation by Sekou Cooke, Assistant Professor of Architecture at Syracuse University and Chair of the IA Commission for Publicly Engaged Design. This will be followed by a series of short presentations by others in the IA design community reframing their work presented elsewhere at the conference and focused on the following questions: What are the benefits of design educators aligning themselves with IA? Where does publicly focused design work fit within IA’s overall framework? What do you believe the mission of the CoPED should be as we move forward? These presentations will be followed by a panel discussion and an open Q&A session. The session will end with a targeted set of short-term and long-term tasks and goals for the CoPED.

Friday, October 7, 2016

11:30 am to 2:30 pm
3910 W. Lisbon Avenue
Washington Park, Milwaukee
Finding “Home”: Formulating Creative Civic Engagement in Community Health

Session Summary: This session is organized by Tommy Yang and Chelsea Wait.

Friday, October 7, 2016

3:30 to 5:00 pm
American Geographical Society Library
Golda Meir Library
“Place Acts: Some Methods, Applications and Practices in Community-Engaged Work”

Presenters: Arijit Sen, Mallika Bose, Mike Frisch, Tim Raphael, Beth Haskovec

Session Summary: Scholars see “place” as an active agent that can transform everyday practices and precipitate equitable social change. Our use of the term place acts refers to place-based storytelling and action research practices that render visible overlooked places, forgotten histories and disregarded people. This roundtable will engage the audience in dialog with 5 panelists who have successfully used place as a central trope in their practice, albeit from different perspectives. An initial discussion, based on actual examples drawn from the participants’ experiences will identify specific methods, best practices, technologies, and techniques of “place acts” in different locations such as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Texas and Wisconsin. Subsequently a moderated discussion will encourage all attendees to debate the impact of community collaboration by explicitly linking place-based design practices, new digital and social media tools, as well as assessment methods in their respective teaching, practice and grassroots activities.

Friday, October 7, 2016

5:30 pm
The School of Architecture & Urban Planning
AUP 170
“People centered Approach to Research and Teaching in Design: A personal journey”

Presenter: Mallika Bose, Associate Professor, Graduate Program Professor in Charge, Department of Landscape Architecture, Pennsylvania State University. Bose faculty page

Bio: Mallika Bose is an Architect and Urban Planner with a specialization in Environment-Behavior Studies. She is Associate Professor and Professor in Charge of Graduate Programs in the Department of Landscape Architecture at Penn State University. Her research is motivated by her interest in understanding how social structures are embedded in the built environment, and how such socio-spatial constructions shape behavior of different groups in society. She has been active in research in the following areas: Built Environment and Active Living/Healthy Eating; Public Scholarship and Community Engaged Design and Planning; Gender and Development; and Design/Planning Pedagogy.Her scholarship has been published in Landscape Journal, Habitat International, International Development and Planning Research, Journal of Urban Design among others. She recently co-edited a book on community engaged teaching/scholarship titled—Community Matters: Service-learning in Engaged Design and Planning—which received the 2015 Great Places Book Award from the Environmental Design Research Association. She served as the Chair of EDRA Board of Directors in 2012-13 and joined the National Advisory Board of Imagining America—Artists and Scholars in Public Life.

Lecture Summary: In this talk, Mallika Bose shares the trajectory of her research and teaching streams to reveal how her training in environment-behavior research and more specifically here interest in commitment to issues of democracy, social justice, and equity have shaped her professional life. Using specific examples from teaching, research and service activities she speaks about the relevance of people centered placemaking especially in today’s intimately connected yet deeply divided world.