Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Students to present research on social issues at Art History and Visual Culture Symposium Friday

November 19, 2020

Five advanced undergraduate students will be presenting their independent research projects in front of a virtual crowd Friday, Nov. 20 from 2 to 5 p.m.

The title for this year’s 2020 Art History and Visual Culture Undergraduate Symposium is “Refracting Histories of Art and Community." All of the student projects present similar topics of artistic expression interacting with societal issues.

These projects are from students of associate professor of Art History Lily Woodruff, who teaches a professional development seminar about public presentation and gives feedback on research. 

“The seminar is supposed to help set them up for the world of everyday work,” Woodruff said. “But also to help them go through the process of conducting research on their papers and then refining it and preparing it for public presentations.”

Each of the students have their own faculty advisor with expertise in the subject they have chosen to research. This year, the undergraduate students presenting in the symposium are Kaylee McCarthy, Sophia Boismier, Caitlyn Danforth, Morgan Hollemans and Aria Frawley.


Woodruff is excited to see her students’ presentations.

“We do these practice talks and they’re very excited, and it’s exciting for me to see them have the opportunity to share what they’ve been working on for so long now with others,” Woodruff said. “There’s a lot of adrenaline or excitement that goes into these kinds of moments where people do have the opportunity to share something that they care about.”

Because the presentations will be held over a Zoom webinar rather than in-person, Woodruff expects the atmosphere to be different.

“Oftentimes there’s an extra form of charge that one gets off of being present in a room with others,” Woodruff said. “By standing in front of a group of other people who you can see looking at you, there’s a form of body performance of research that is not necessarily going to be as evident in this instance.”

Woodruff has worked with these students on their research projects in conjunction with assistant professor Jacquelynn Sullivan, who had her students develop the poster and organize the Zoom webinar.

Another participant in the production of the symposium was associate professor Yelena Kalinsky. She invited one of her professional acquaintances, Dr. Kristin Romberg, an associate professor of Art History at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, to participate in the symposium prior to the webinar at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 19.

Romberg will serve as a keynote speaker, presenting her paper called "Russian Constructivist Tectonics and the Wegenerian Revolution." The next day, she’ll offer a formal presentation and constructive feedback to the students’ work.

The audience of the symposium usually consists of friends, family and faculty, but anyone from the community or around the world is welcome to participate. Although the dynamic may be different, Woodruff said the Zoom webinar is the best alternative.

“In some ways, I think maybe there’s something lost in the fact that there might be less of a sense of togetherness, but we’re trying to recreate that to the extent that we can by inviting people to participate in the question and answer period,” Woodruff said.

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