H+U+D 2.0- The Inclusive City, Past, Present and Future—

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For the past five years, we have been privileged to oversee the H+U+D initiative aiming to contribute new sensibilities and collaborations centered on humanities, urbanism and design (hence H+U+D) to Penn’s scholarly climate. As we have worked with faculty and students, promoting interdisciplinary scholarship and building social capital, we have also laid the groundwork a renewed Mellon-sponsored project, “The Inclusive City, Past, Present, Future” (H+U+D 2.0), that will, again bring together faculty and students from the Schools of Arts and Sciences and Design. We found that H+U+D has been successful in three areas that we will replicate, slightly modified in H+U+D 2.0. They are:

The first area, the signature H+U+D project, has been the interdisciplinary, multi-generational H+U+D Faculty Colloquium that met bi-weekly, sometimes around a seminar table and sometimes at a site or exhibition, to explore shared interests and discuss the work of its members. Participants included 36 Penn faculty at all levels of their careers, four visiting Junior (Postdoctoral) Fellows, and several associated postdocs (including two Marie Curie Fellows from the EU) who were already at Penn. The colloquium has been very successful in creating a supportive environment for younger scholars and connecting them with mentors and peers with whom they would not usually come into contact. The scholarly productivity of this group is impressive; to date they have produced 14 books, 9 chapters, 28 refereed journal articles, and 8 exhibitions.

The Colloquium has also hosted a small number of lectures and co-sponsored symposia. We have gone “on the road,” organizing interdisciplinary panels at scholarly conferences (most recently the “Sensing the City” at the last meeting of the Society for American City and Regional Planning Historians).

The second area has been in instruction. The H+U+D initiative sponsored 15 co-taught courses involving 35 faculty members and more than 150 students. These comprised 10 undergraduate “city seminars,” with international and domestic field trips, and an annual “problematics” seminar for graduate students.

The third area has been in research. H_U+D supported 27 undergraduate and graduate student research projects with results presented by the students to the Colloquium. The projects have yielded enriched doctoral dissertations, publications, notably one by an undergraduate in the Smithsonian Magazine, and inspired ongoing career choices and graduate studies.

As we look forward to the next step with “The Inclusive City, Past, Present, Future” (H+U+D 2.0) we will retain the basic structure but adding the thematic dimension focusing on inclusion and diversity both in what we study and who we are. The new project will have at its heart a renewed the Inclusive City Colloquium to explore how the humanities can inform the design professions and how the design professions can inform the humanities with a special focus on inclusion in its many forms. With the course sponsorship effort, we will give preference to courses that are co-taught, likely to reach a large audience, part of the College general education requirement and permanent “gateway” courses, designed to attract a large and more diverse undergraduate audience to the study of cities and the built environment generally. In this area, we will also initiate “Anchor Institution” seminars to take advantage of the opportunities that Philadelphia offers as a laboratory for the study of inclusion and diversity. Here we will select and work with one of Philadelphia’s “anchor” institutions to create the seminar. We expect that these seminars would offer students opportunities to study and work with collections, exhibition design, public programming, policy making and implementation, city planning, architectural design, and management. Finally, in the research arena, we will offer up to 12 graduate and undergraduate fellowships per year with undergraduates being offered a non-credit Undergraduate Student Research Colloquium to enrich their experience.

So the projects of the past five years have nurtured a remarkable treasury of human capital in the Schools of Arts and Sciences and Design as this report illustrates. The Mellon Foundation’s support has made a huge difference in the lives of faculty, undergraduate and graduate students at Penn, Moreover Mellon’s has been field-defining world-wide, seeding creativity and productivity in urban humanities among the many scholars of the participating universities Penn is proud to be among their number.

H+U+D Colloquium Visits Wright Exhibition at MoMA—

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H+U+D colloquium members traveled to New York to MoMA to see Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive   The show marked the recent joint acquisition of the archive by Columbia University and MoMA. The exhibition divided materials fromthe Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation’s Archive into 12 sections showcasing 12 different guest curators and scholars. The show was organized by Barry Bergdoll, Curator, Department of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art, and the Meyer Schapiro Professor of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University; with Jennifer Gray, Project Research Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art. Colloquium members discussed the exhibition with Jennifer Gray.

H+U+D co-director, David Browlee and Jennifer Gray

H+U+D co-director, David Browlee and Jennifer Gray

Wright_MoMA

H+U+D Colloquium Members (l-r) Raffaella Giannetto Fabiani, Domenic Vitiello, Lee Ann Custer (guest) and Naomi Waltham-Smith

 

H+U+D Launches Four New Courses in Spring 2018!—

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In its final year, the H+U+D initiative invested in the creation of four new courses to attract students from across the university at both graduate and undergraduate levels. The courses each pair a faculty member from the Schools of Design and Arts and Sciences to co-create and co-teach a course that explore cities from the dual perspectives of the humanities and design disciplines. The city seminar courses focus on one city in depth for undergraduates and include travel to the city under study. This semester students will be traveling to New York and Berlin. Students in “New York as Incubator for the Twentieth Century” will study four urban visionaries influence by New York City. In “Media Memories and the Future: Sound and Environment in Berlin,” students will use the city as a  a palimpsest—sonically, visually, and spatially—to investigate and interpret historical patterns and their relationship to novel practices and methods in the present. The graduate problematics seminar takes a theme and tackles it using methods of inquiry from both the humanities and design disciplines. Students will be studying coastal cities and how infrastructure needs contend with sea level rise in “Sinking and Floating: Phenomenologies of Coastal Urban Resistance.” A fourth course, “Philadelphia: Urban Experience and Public Memory,” explores how monuments. memory, politics and sensory experience shape understandings of Philadelphia’s past, present and future.  For more information

The Culture of Cultivation: Designing with Agriculture—

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The earliest roots of place making have involved a symbiosis of different kinds of natures: a necessary one of production—also called the “other” or “second” nature to distinguish it from the pristine “first”—and a third nature of polite, yet dispensable, aesthetic appreciation, its distinctness articulated in the 16th century. The etymology of the word garden, from the Frankish gardo, in fact, refers to an “enclosed place” that can be cultivated both for pleasure and for consumption. The history of landscape architecture is replete with examples in which the relationship between the beautiful and the productive—with the former often indebted to the latter—is apparent. According to Charles Elliot, speaking in 1891, the design work of a successful landscape architect will elicit beauty “from the happy marriage of the natural and the needful.” Yet today, the needful, or functional, has almost been lost to the discourse, with little attention paid to such problems as soil conservation, the globalization of food production, and the effects that industrial agriculture—the largest landholder and producer of monocultures—has on the environment and its inhabitants.

The objective of this conference is therefore to create a cross-disciplinary forum that will address the relationship between landscape design and the productive or working landscape from a variety of lenses. The latter will include the perspectives of a few emerging and established professionals, whose work has begun to explore the relationship and interaction between design, agriculture and infrastructure; the research of historians who have addressed the relationship between the worlds of second and third nature; the contributions of planners who have studied the challenge of urban food production; and those of scholars who have devoted their attention to the conservation of natural resources, the protection of biodiversity within working landscapes, and the preservation of the latter for their historic, social and cultural values.

Licensed landscape architects may register for CEU credit at the event.

For schedule and registration

Become a H+U+D Student Research Award Recipient! Deadline April 17, 2017—

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The Project in Humanities, Urbanism, and Design (H+U+D), invites undergraduate and graduate students to submit research proposals for Academic Year 2016-17. Small grants will be awarded to support projects that align with the mission of the H+U+D project. Both undergraduate and graduate students are encouraged to apply. The maximum award is $2,000. Allowable research expenses include travel, archival charges, and photography. A list of previous student award recipients is available here.

Application Instructions

The application should include

  • Research project proposal (maximum: 500 words)
  • Short itemized budget
  • Unofficial Penn transcript
  • Letter or recommendation from sponsoring faculty member
All application should be submitted through the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships (CURF).
 
Deadline:  April 17, 2017
Questions? Contact Eugenie Birch (elbirch@design.upenn.edu) or David Brownlee (dbrownle@sas.upenn.edu)

 

Deadline Extended for City Seminar Proposals—

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The Mellon Humanities, Urbanism and Design (H+U+D) Initiative requests proposals for undergraduate city seminar courses and course development funds. Attached please find the full RFP that details the application process. 

Next year (2017-18) the initiative will sponsor two city seminars: one international and one domestic. Please see our website for descriptions of previous seminars here. The seminar should examine one city in a detailed, multidisciplinary way that incorporates both the humanities and design. Please consult HUD Course Development RFP for full application information. 

The deadline for proposals is April 21 , 2017. Proposals should be submitted to Mary Rocco at mrocc@design.upenn.edu. 

For questions, please contact Genie Birch at elbirch@design.upenn.edu or David Brownlee at dbrownle@sas.upenn.edu.

H+U+D Colloquium Visits Jewish Museum in New York City—

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On Friday, February 3, members of the H+U+D Colloquium ventured to New York City’s Jewish Museum to view the first US exhibition to focus on French designer and architect, Pierre Chareau. The exhibition brought together many rarely-viewed works from both private and public collections. Pierre Chareau: Modern Architecture and Design  also addresses the designer’s life and work in the New York area, after he left Paris during the German occupation of the city, including the house he designed for Robert Motherwell in 1947 in East Hampton, Long Island. Together with his wife Dollie, Chareau was an active patron of the arts, and the exhibition reunites several pieces from their collection of paintings, sculptures, and drawings by significant artists such as Piet Mondrian, Amedeo Modigliani, Jacques Lipchitz, and Max Ernst. The exhibition utilizes virtual reality and video technologies to the present the design evolution of Chareau’s extraordinary Maison de Terre, the glass house completed in Paris 1932. The Colloquium met with Professor Esther da Costa Meyer, History of Modern Architecture, Princeton University, one of the show’s organizers to discuss the curatorial and design process of the exhibition.

The exhibition continues through March 26, 2017.

From left to right: Shiben Banerji, Esther da Costa Meyer, Nancy Davenport and Orkan Telhan

From left to right: Shiben Banerji, Esther da Costa Meyer, Nancy Davenport and Orkan Telhan

H+U+D Annual Public Lecture Featuring Alan Greenberger—

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H+U+D Co-Directors David Brownlee  (left) and Eugenie Birch (right) with Alan (center)

H+U+D Co-Directors David Brownlee (left) and Eugenie Birch (right) with Alan (center)

This year’s H+U+D Annual Public Lecture featured Alan Greenberger discussing the work and legacy of his mentor, the renowned Italian-American architect and professor, Romaldo “Aldo” Giurgola.

Giurgola moved to Philadelphia in the late 1950s to teach at the University of Pennsylvania where he joined an influential group of architects called “The Philadelphia School” who pushed back against Modernist orthodoxies and as a result made Philadelphia a hotbed of design thinking and innovation in the 1960s.  Giurgola partnered with Ehrman B. Mitchell to form the firm Mitchell/Giurgola. They were responsible for many important projects built in Philadelphia in the run-up to the Bicentennial, including the Penn Mutual tower at 508 Walnut St., the United Way headquarters at 1709 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and the original Liberty Bell Pavilion on Independence Mall. For 34 years, Greenberger was a practicing architect with Mitchell/Giurgola Architects and its successor, MGA Partners, where he was the design lead on many award winning projects. Greenberger described his time at MGA and his relationship with Giurgola, his mentor and friend. The presentation featured a number of Giurgola’s designs and Greenberger discussed the commonalities among them as well as the need for design that works in context with its surroundings to enhance rather than detract.

 

H+U+D Request for Proposals for City Seminars and Course Development Grants—

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The Mellon Humanities, Urbanism and Design (H+U+D) Initiative requests proposals for undergraduate city seminar courses and course development funds. 

Proposals should include

  • a one-page letter from the proposed instructor(s), laying out the general objectives of the course
  • a letter of support from the chair of an SAS undergraduate academic program or department
  • a short biographical sketch of each instructor
  • a sketch syllabus that includes the major topics to be considered, principal readings, the nature of the assigned work, and travel schedule
  • a one-page budget

Next year (2017-18) the initiative will sponsor two city seminars: one international and one domestic. Descriptions of f previous seminars can be found here. The seminar should examine one city in a detailed, multidisciplinary way that incorporates both the humanities and design. Click here for HUD Course Development RFP.

The deadline for proposals is January 30, 2017. Proposals should be submitted to Mary Rocco at mrocc@design.upenn.edu. 

For questions, please contact Genie Birch at elbirch@design.upenn.edu or David Brownlee at dbrownle@sas.upenn.edu.

 

Calling all Students Engaged in Urban Research!—

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The Mellon Humanities, Urbanism, and Design (H+U+D) Initiative, invites undergraduate and graduate students to submit research proposals for Academic Year 2016-17. Small grants will be awarded to support projects that align with the mission of the H+U+D project.

Undergraduate Research

Small research grants will be awarded to support interdisciplinary design/humanities projects undertaken by undergraduates in conjunction with a course or faculty-supervised independent study. Eligible research must draw from both humanities and design disciplines. Examples of eligible projects include senior theses in Visual Studies and Urban Studies, ABCS projects, work in the Undergraduate Urban Research Colloquium, and other kinds of interdisciplinary research. The maximum award is $2000 per proposal. Allowable research expenses include travel, archival charges, and photography.

Graduate Research

Small research grants will be awarded to support interdisciplinary design/humanities projects undertaken by graduate students in humanities and design disciplines that focus on the built environment. Eligible research must draw from both humanities and design disciplines. Examples of eligible work include master’s thesis projects, independent study projects, and doctoral dissertation research. The maximum award is $2000 per proposal. Allowable research expenses include travel, archival charges, and photography.

For examples of student projects from past cycles click here.

Applications should be submitted on or before April 17, 2017 through the CURF website.