A few weeks ago we enjoyed sitting down with Dr. Jennifer Shewmaker, associate professor of Psychology and director of faculty enrichment in the Adams Center to talk about her work with undergraduate research.
Her study investigates gendered marketing of Lego blocks and possible implications for attitudes toward STEM in young girls. Dr. Shewmaker reflects on working with Caitlyn Spain, a marketing major, on a human subjects study in the Adams Center’s new Learning Research Lab.
Pursuit is a quality enhancement program at ACU focused on developing energy around undergraduate research and creative expression. Dr. Shewmaker’s was just one of a dozen projects over the last two years that provided mentoring and research experience in departments across campus.
For more information or to apply to work on a future project, visit the Pursuit site.
This week a group of faculty and technology leaders from campus will be in Washington, D.C. to explore the future of 3D printing in the arts. The Smithsonian X 3D event will include representatives from the Department of Art & Design and from the Maker Lab, sharing the process of digitizing Jacob’s Dream.
The 34-foot-tall bronze was dedicated in 2006 as part of the university’s Centennial Celebration and became an instant campus icon. ACU art and design professor Jack Maxwell and a team of students, engineers, and construction and landscaping specialists worked for two years to plan and produce the towering project.
Jack sat down with us last month to talk about the process of digitizing the 8-foot maquette.
The project was led by Jordan Williams, ACU graduate and co-founder of Captured Dimensions in Dallas, who will also be a part of the Smithsonian event. Jordan’s team scanned the scale model last summer, providing a digital record of this one-of-kind of piece, along with the ability to reproduce Jacob’s Dream at sizes beyond the reach of traditional methods.
This is one of two stories we produced this semester about ACU faculty and alumni actively working with new maker technologies. Last month we shared the story of Dallas artist and alum Rolando Diaz and his collaboration with ACU faculty and staff in the Maker Lab on a mixed-media project combining 3D modeling and precision laser cutting in the final piece.
We’re thankful to Ro and to Jack for sharing their experience connecting emerging tech with artistic vision.
Rolando Diaz has been a painter for as long as he can remember. The ACU alum and Cuban native has spent more than 20 years working with paint on canvas. Only recently did he start thinking in three dimensions, creating several mixed media works from found objects and materials. Then he discovered the ACU Maker Lab.
Even before ACU’s new digital fabrication space opened to the campus in October, Ro began working alongside ACU faculty and staff inside the space, planning and creating a sculptural piece with the tools the facility offered.
The Learning Studio’s filmmaking team accompanied Ro and his collaborators during the project, including visiting his Dallas studio. The result is this beautiful two-minute documentary of the group’s creative process inside the Maker Lab, from start to finish.
Ro hopes to use this small model as a prototype for a five-foot version, to be unveiled at his annual gallery show in Dallas this December. We asked him to give us the backstory on “Forbidden Fruit,” the series of paintings on which the sculpture is based.
As we enter the dark stretch of the semester it’s not unusual to see students shuffling listlessly through the library, but this year we’ve noticed this mindlessness is transforming the ACU faculty.
The Learning Studio works closely with our most creative faculty from the humanities and the sciences, professors and instructors, and this year for the first time . . . living and undead.
In our experience, faculty inspire us with their persistent hunger after knowledge and relentless pursuit of an idea at all costs, but this week their devotion to the life of the mind has turned.
Students be warned: they’re after your brains.
Thanks to some great faculty volunteers for our photo shoot and to Krista Cukrowski and Emily Teel for their help with makeup. We had a great time!
This last month we welcomed a remarkable group of faculty to join us for our first Scholarly Storytelling workshop in the Learning Studio. We wanted to explore the potential of mixed-media storytelling to communicate messages drawn from research and professional writing with a wider audience.
Al Haley and Kyle Dickson led the workshop which paralleled the basic structure of a three-day storytelling workshop with the exception that the final products didn’t follow any one basic format. Presentations included expanded training in the proper use and citation of digital sources and advanced production options like working with a green-screen or teleprompter. The workshop also coincided with planning for the One-Button Studio which will make these types of stories even easier to produce in the future.
Here are just a few examples from the workshop.
Copier – Al Haley
Different – Jeff Childers
Hope & Tragedy in Amos – Mark Hamilton
Modeling Intentional Community – Kent Smith
Each of the projects was produced with a particular audience in mind. Al was presenting at a conference and wanted a way to talk about his interest in mixed-media texts. Mark was thinking about videos to introduce biblical texts for a media commentary project he was considering. Kent was working with colleagues on a research project to share interviews with members of intentional communities around the country. Jeff had a particular role for his project to play within a graduate theology class. This last demonstrates the complexity of these messages for particular audiences:
“This project is intended to stimulate conversation about synthesis in a graduate class. All the students will have read assigned texts, and one of the themes on which I will focus in class is the attempt in early Syriac Christianity to have radically different styles of discipleship co-existing in the same communities. It was difficult for them, as for us, and I prepared a film that 1) underscores a range of related themes in certain texts (which they will have read), 2) grounds the topic in a particular socio-historic setting, yet 3) suggestively associates their struggles maintaining unity-in-diversity with our own struggles to do so, in several different arenas of interest to Christian communities (i.e. worship styles, fellowship, ministry, race, etc.). The music is that of Syrian Orthodox hymnody.”.
Overall, a remarkably diverse group of teachers and scholars thinking about the potential of media tools to forward their work across campus.