H+U+D Annual Report 2019-20

In 2018, we embarked on the new five-year Humanities, Urbanism, and Design (H+U+D) project, “The Inclusive City, Past, Present, and Future.” With the renewed $1.5 million Mellon grant, we are continuing to build on the foundation of the first project (2013-18) while focusing on the theme of inclusivity and diversity both in what we study and teach and in who we are. Fifteen faculty from departments across both the Weitzman School of Design and the School of Arts and Sciences were appointed to the Faculty Colloquium and have met bi-weekly for the last two years in a supportive and multi-disciplinary setting. They have taken several field trips together, developed collaborations, and formed lasting friendships. Over the past two years, this faculty cohort has also helped teach eight H+U+D-sponsored courses, including undergraduate “City Seminars” (domestic and international), graduate seminars, an undergraduate “Gateway Course,” and two “Anchor Institution” seminars, taught in collaborations with one of the cultural institutions that reflect and serve Philadelphia’s diverse populations. We are excited to partner with Taller Puertoriqueño, a non-profit that promotes cultural understanding and community engagement through a focus on Puerto Rican and Latinx art, history, and culture, as our “Anchor Institution” for the coming academic year.

Over the past year, we were pleased to increase support for undergraduate and graduate student research, with the successful launch of the Mellon Undergraduate Research Colloquium, in which five undergraduate student awardees met regularly with H+U+D faculty mentors. The creation of the Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship was also a success and we are delighted to welcome two new Doctoral Dissertation Fellows, as well as two Junior Fellows, to the Colloquium for the 2020- 21 academic year. They will join a new cohort of H+U+D Faculty, who come from a variety of humanities and design departments across the university and are appointed to the Colloquium for two-year terms.

The Covid-19 pandemic brought many challenges and disruptions to the Initiative’s activities this spring. We were forced to cancel several Colloquium meetings and field trips, including a visit to the Philadelphia Lazaretto and a H+U+D “City Seminar” class trip to Paris. H+U+D classes, and the Colloquium itself, continued to meet virtually and we plan to continue holding class and Colloquium sessions by Zoom during the Fall 2020 semester.

This fall, we also welcome Andrea Goulet (French and Francophone Studies, School of Arts and Sciences) and Daniel Barber (Architecture, Weitzman School of Design) as the new co-directors of the H+U+D Initiative.

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