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Spencer Museum convening Jan. 22 to highlight digital projects across KU

Thursday, January 16, 2020


LAWRENCE — University of Kansas faculty and staff are invited to attend the Spencer Museum of Art Digital Initiative Convening, which will take place from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22, at The Commons at Spooner Hall. This event will highlight the Spencer Museum’s technology-driven educational projects and digital activities of other KU units, with the goal of discovering opportunities for collaboration across campus.

The convening is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation as part of the Spencer Museum’s Digital Initiative through the Integrated Arts Research Initiative (IARI). With Mellon support, the museum aims to explore how it can use digital tools to increase access to its art collection and other educational resources for students, researchers and general audiences.

Spencer staff will open the convening with a brief discussion of recent digital projects, including a new online collection search. The Spencer has invited seven scholars from across KU to each give five-minute presentations about digital initiatives in their units:

  • Brian Rosenblum, scholarly digital initiatives librarian, will highlight technical structures, processes and platforms that can empower marginalized groups to tell their own stories.
  • Sylvia Fernández, digital and public humanities postdoctoral fellow at the Hall Center for the Humanities, will discuss her work mapping U.S.-Mexico borderlands newspapers, illuminating data narratives about U.S. immigration policies and developing a digital archive of the life and legacy of Puerto Rican author Delis Negrón.
  • Scott Hanrath, associate dean of KU Libraries, will outline the tools and strategies behind KU Libraries digital collections.
  • Rhonda Houser, senior GIS specialist at KU Libraries, will speak about her project to geospatially locate historic maps and use them alongside other maps and land imagery for research, teaching and outreach.
  • David Johnston, senior vice president for strategic communications at KU Alumni Association, will share the digital plan for Kansas Alumni magazine, as well as successes and lessons learned in launching the project.
  • Jim Miller, associate professor in electrical engineering & computer science, will present his collaborative research to create a web-based, data visualization application to share information about artists and art in the Spencer Museum’s collection.
  • A. Townsend Peterson, Distinguished professor in the Biodiversity Institute and ecology & evolutionary biology, will share his research documenting the configuration and composition of historic landscape paintings, photographs and drawings with contemporary views of the locations depicted in the objects.
  • Perry Alexander, AT&T distinguished professor in electrical engineering and computer science, will discuss how artists, writers, and creatives can be involved in developing aesthetics for computing.

The convening will conclude with a networking reception for participants to further discuss opportunities for digital collaboration across KU.

Photo: Recent digital projects at the Spencer Museum have made it easier for students and educators to connect the museum’s collection with their areas of study.