Kenyon College
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Gund Gallery Faculty Seminar

Since its dedication in the fall of 2011, it has been the Gund Gallery’s mission to celebrate art as a critical centerpiece of Kenyon’s liberal arts mission and the community by championing the best art and artists of the 20th and 21st centuries via an active exhibition schedule, expanding permanent collection, and formal and informal learning experiences.

To encourage the conceptualization of creative interdisciplinary and curriculum-inspired projects aligned with the Gund Gallery’s mission and goals, tenured and tenure-track professors and instructors on long-term contracts from across all the College’s liberal arts disciplines may apply to participate in biennial faculty seminars supported by the Smart Family Foundation and organized by the Gund Gallery.

Past Seminars

Fall 2018

The contemporary art museum is a unique institution that frames the intersection of artistic production, collecting practices, exhibition programs, global markets, and public life. A museum’s collection and curatorial approaches offer insight into the power dynamics at play in the museum apparatus, the interests of public and private funding sources, and the economic structures of the art world on global, regional, and local scales. Meanwhile, the study of educational initiatives and audience reception can tell us how the museum engages with the public to critically explore issues of race, class, gender, ethnicity, and nation, and whether or not it is successful in building community and political consciousness.

Using the Gund Gallery, its collection, and its exhibitions as material for different case studies, faculty will explore a variety of issues about the politics and economics of contemporary art museums and, based on this study, will develop new class sessions and/or assignments in partnership with the Gallery that enrich and expand existing course curricula.

Partial Seminar Schedule

  • September 25: Michael O’Hare, Professor of Public Policy, Goldman School of Public Policy, University of
    California Berkeley
  • October 16: Robert L. Fischer, Associate Professor and Chair, Master of Nonprofit Organizations, Case
    Western Reserve University
  • November 13:  Deena Chalabi, Associate Curator of Public Practice, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
  • November 27:  Tim Schneider, Art Business Reporter, artnet

Fall 2017

Metaphoric thinking is often considered a tool of artistic creativity because it reflects the work of the imagination, yet it requires the mind to perform a complex integration of different concepts, essential to all intellectual processes. The premise for this seminar is the idea that by using art to mediate students’ exploration of scientific concepts, we exercise the imagination and creativity to inspire new ideas and modes of inquiry that expand the formal structures used to communicate math and science principles. One goal of this seminar is to create an opportunity for faculty in mathematics and the sciences to explore ways of using contemporary art exhibited at the Gund Gallery, or 20th and 21st-century art in the Gund Gallery Collection, to enhance metaphoric thinking in their courses to improve students’ critical thinking and their ability to produce new forms of knowledge.

Seminar Schedule

  • October 4: Liliana Milkova, Curator of Academic Programs, Allen Memorial Museum of Art, and faculty collaborator Taylor Allen, Biology Department, Oberlin College.  Dr. Milkova works with faculty across a range of non-arts disciplines, including biology, chemistry, mathematics, neuroscience, and astronomy to support teaching with art in science curricula.  She and three faculty from the Department of Biology at Oberlin College, including Dr. Allen, published an article in Life Sciences Education in 2013 detailing their multi-part collaboration using museum objects to study and discuss the biology of love.  In the spring of 2017 Dr. Milkova and Dr. Taylor Allen (Biology, Oberlin College) conducted a one-day seminar for STEM faculty at Colorado College.
  • October 18: Elizabeth Cavicchi, Experimental Science Instructor, Edgerton Center, MIT.  Elizabeth’s teaching and research extends critical exploration in the classroom. This research pedagogy, developed by her Harvard doctoral adviser Eleanor Duckworth, has roots in Jean Piaget’s works and science education projects of her MIT adviser Philip Morrison. An MIT alumna and visual artist, Elizabeth has written and presented internationally, including narratives from her teaching and on her re-creations of nineteenth century electromagnetic experiments.  In 2007 she collaborated with the Harvard Art Museums Art Study Center to use collection objects in teaching her science courses.  She is also a practicing artist and says that the concept of metaphor as the common thread linking scientific and artistic thought has deep and recurring significance in her research.
  • November 8: Ethan Lasser, Head, Division of European and American Art, and Theodore E. Stebbins, Jr. Curator of American Art, Harvard Art Museums.  Dr. Lasser is curator of The Philosophy Chamber: Art and Science in Harvard’s Teaching Cabinet, 1766–1820, on display at the Harvard Art Museums from May 19 through December 31, 2017.  This exhibition and the accompanying publication explore the history and collections of one of the most unusual rooms in early America. Between 1766 and 1820, the Philosophy Chamber, a grand room adjacent to the Harvard College Library, was home to more than one thousand artifacts, natural specimens, and works of art dispatched to the college from points around the globe. Named for the discipline of natural philosophy, the Philosophy Chamber served as a lecture hall, experimental lab, and picture gallery. The room was frequented by an array of artists, scientists, travelers, and revolutionaries, and its collections stood at the center of artistic and intellectual life at Harvard and in the New England region for more than 50 years.
  • November 15: Veronica White, Curator of Academic Programs, Princeton University Art Museum and faculty collaborator Catherine Riihimaki, Associate Director, Science Education, Council on Science and Technology, Princeton University.  In the fall of 2014, the Princeton University Art Museum hosted a series of labs for ENV201B, “Fundamentals of Environmental Studies: Population, Land Use, Biodiversity and Energy.”  The visits to the Museum were designed to draw connections between the humanities and social sciences, and the sciences and engineering, to appeal to the students’ different academic interests.  The sessions concluded with a panel discussion with representatives from the Museum, Geological and Geophysical Sciences, Chemistry, and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.  Dr. White also works with faculty in cognitive psychology, addressing issues of space perception, and with faculty in neuroscience, examining facial expressions and discussing face perception.  Dr. Riihimaki’s teaching interests focus on introducing Earth science, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and data visualization to undergraduate students.

Faculty Participants

Nuh Aydin, Professor of Mathematics
Christopher Bickford, Assistant Professor of Biology
Andrew Engell, Lodish Faculty Development Assistant Professor in Natural Sciences and Assistant Professor of Psychology
Siobhan Fennessy, Professor of Biology; Philip & Sheila Jordan Professor in Environmental Studies
Sheryl Hemkin, Associate Professor of Chemistry
Judy Holdener, Professor of Mathematics
Andrew Kerkhoff, Associate Professor of Biology
Jennifer McMahon, Lead Instructor and Director of Introductory Labs in Biology
James Skon, Visiting Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science
Madeline Wade, Assistant Professor of Physics

Fall 2016

This fall the Gund Gallery Faculty Seminar welcomes interested faculty from the Department of Modern Languages and Literature to explore various methods and benefits of using contemporary art exhibited at the Gund Gallery, or 20th and 21st-century art in the Gund Gallery Collection, to teach language at introductory, intermediate and advanced levels. Pedagogical methods explored show how using art to teach can help students develop vocabulary, grammar and syntax, stimulate student participation in discussions, and provide opportunities for higher levels of creative thinking by enabling more sophisticated application of language skills to intellectual discussions.

Seminar Schedule

  • September 21: First meeting and dinner discussion
  • October 12: Dinner and discussion of Visual Thinking Strategies and Communication in the Classroom with guest scholar Barbara Sawhill, Director, Cooper International Learning Center; Assistant Professor, Hispanic Studies, Oberlin College
  • November 2: Dinner and discussion of Using Museum Collections in Foreign Language Teaching & Learning: Planning and Logistics with guest scholars Shalini Le Gall, Curator of Academic Programs, Colby College Museum of Art and Anita Savo, Assistant Professor of Spanish, Colby College faculty
  • November 9: Dinner and discussion with guest scholar Charlene Shang Miller, Associate Educator for Academic Programs, Smith College Museum of Art
  • November 16: Dinner and discussion Image & Object: Engaging Italian Students at the Art Museum with guest scholars Ellen Alvord, Interim Director and Weatherbie Curator of Education and Academic Programs, Mount Holyoke College Art Museum and Ombretta Frau, Professor of Italian and Chair, Department of Classics & Italian
  • December 7: Discussion of individual course projects

Gund Gallery Faculty Seminar Syllabus 2016

Faculty Participants

Qussay Al-Attabi, Assistant Professor of Arabic
Chengjuan Sun, Assistant Professor of Chinese
Pierre Dairon, Assistant Professor of French
Mary Kathryn Malone, Language Program Coordinator and Visiting Assistant Professor of French
Travis Landry, Associate Professor of Spanish
Anna Aydinyan, Visiting Assistant Professor of Russian
Leo Riegert, Associate Professor of German
Patricia Richards, Associate Professor of Italian
Clara Roman-Odio, Professor of Spanish
Marta Sierra, Professor of Spanish

Fall 2015

Over casual dinner discussions based on short articles and essays, topics presented by guest experts, and experiences gained from focused visits to other art museums, seminar participants had the opportunity to consider contemporary curatorial practices and academic museum issues, including but not limited to: the history of the modern museum, visitor motivations and expectations, learning and engagement through objects and exhibitions, contemporary curatorial practices and trends, intersection of museum and higher education history, Visual Thinking Strategies and interpretation, contemporary art in encyclopedic museums, visual literacy, collecting and collections management, the public trust and collections ethics, curating from collections, collaboration and interdisciplinarity, creativity and innovation, and other topics. Seminar participants were given a $1,250 honorarium.

Seminar Schedule

  • September 23: First meeting and dinner discussion
  • October 7: Dinner discussion with special guest: Dr. Lauren Lessing, Mirken Curator of Education, Colby College Museum of Art
  • October 21: Dinner discussion with special guest: Dr. Athena Hadji, Visiting Professor, Plato’s Academy (Athens, Greece) and NEON Foundation/Whitechapel Gallery Emerging Curator Award (London)
  • October 28: Dinner discussion
  • November 4: Dinner discussion with special guest: Dr. Denise Birkhofer, Ellen Johnson ’33 Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College and Dr. Joy Sperling, Professor of Art History and Visual Culture, Denison University
  • November 11: Dinner discussion with special guests: Jessica Hunter-Larsen, Curator, InterDisciplinary Experimental Arts (IDEA) Program, Colorado College and Dr. Carolyn Allmendinger, Director of Academic Programs, Ackland Art Museum, UNC-Chapel Hill
  • November 21-22: Field Trip to Cleveland
  • December 2: Dinner discussion with special guests: Dr. Andria Derstine, John G.W. Cowles Director, Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College
  • December 12-13: Field Trip to Pittsburgh

Gund Gallery Faculty Seminar Syllabus 2015

Faculty Participants

Juan DePascuale, Associate Professor of Philosophy
Zoe Kontes, Associate Professor of Classics
Maria Mendonca, Henry Luce Associate Professor of Asian Music and Culture
Wendy Singer, Roy T. Wortman Distinguished Professor of History
Patricia Vigderman, Assistant Professor of English

For more information, please contact:

Natalie Marsh, MFA, Ph.D.
Gund Gallery at Kenyon College
(740) 427-5975


Jodi Kovach, Ph.D.
Curator of Academic Programs
Gund Gallery at Kenyon College
(740) 427-5246