Welch Symposia

2015 Welch Symposium “Plastic GYRE: Artists, Scientists and Activists Respond”

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Georgia State University, The David J. Sencer CDC Museum, and the Plastic Pollution Coalition announce the 2015 Welch Symposium: Plastic GYRE: Artists, Scientists and Activists Respond
In an effort to raise awareness and discourse on the global crisis of plastic pollution, the Welch Foundation at Georgia State University (GSU), David J. Sencer Museum of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Plastic Pollution Coalition (PPC) jointly host the 2015 Welch Symposium, The Plastic GYRE: Artists, Scientists and Activists Respond on March 26-27.

The two-day symposium is part of the Atlanta Science Festival and will feature a wide array of experts discussing the most current research, creative response, activism mobilization and industry best practices in a quest to address runaway global plastic pollution. In conjunction with the conference, several events are planned including a partnership with a major international art exhibition, Gyre: The Plastic Ocean at The David J. Sencer CDC Museum, film screenings, pop-up exhibition, press junket and a cocktail reception at the CDC Museum.

The Plastic GYRE: Artists, Scientists and Activists Respond symposium is conceived by Pam Longobardi, GSU Distinguished University Professor, Professor of Art and founder of the Drifters Project. “The Gyre is the scientific term for the ocean currents that propel plastic pollution around the world,” states Ms. Longobardi. “This is a unique conference that brings together top scientists, artists, activists and industry leaders as partners in exposing the environmental and public health issues and collaboratively working to offer solutions.”

A signature symposium component is the current art exhibit Gyre: The Plastic Ocean at The David J. Sencer CDC Museum. The exhibit explores the relationship between modern-day consumption culture, the environment and their joint impact upon communities around the world. Featured artists include Mark Dion (NY), Alexis Rockman (NY), Susan Middleton (CA), Dianna Cohen (CA), Pam Longobardi (GA), Stephen McPherson (UK), Sue Ryan (AU), Andy Hughes (UK), Max Liboiron (NF), and many more.

Symposium schedule includes:

Thursday, March 26 – Sessions/Events

GSU Salon Ballrooms, Student Center

8:15 a.m. – 9:15 a.m. – Coffee Mingle

9:15 a.m. – 9:45 a.m. – Welcoming Remarks and Scope of Problem

10:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. – Communicating the Issue: Science and Art

1:00 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. – Beyond Greenwashing: Extended Producer Responsibility

3:00 p.m. – 4:45 p.m. – Mobilization from the Ground Up: Activism

5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. – State of the GYRE – Good News Blitz

6:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. – Film Screening: National Geographic’s
“Gyre: Creating Art from the Plastic Ocean”

Friday, March 27 – Sessions/Events

David J. Sencer CDC Museum and CDC Auditorium

10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. – Press Junket and Announcement

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – Exhibition Viewing with Curators and Artists Present

1:30p.m. – 1:45 p.m. – Welcome Remarks / CDC + Sustainability

1:45 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. – Social Justice

3:15 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. – Keynote Address
Charles Moore, Algalita Marine Research and Education, Discover of Great
Pacific Garbage Patch

4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. – Cocktail Reception and Exhibition Viewing


* Charles Moore – (Keynote) scientist, founder Algalita Marine Research and Education, Discover of Great Pacific Garbage Patch
* Rachelle Carson-Begley – (MC) Actress, activist, sustainable living expert with Ed Begley ‘Living with Ed’
* Abby Barrow – Scientist, Marine Environmental Research Institute, Maine
* Lisa Boyle – Environmental Lawyer, Writer, Editor, Tulane Law Journal ‘Plastics’ issue
* Antonia Calafat, Ph.D. Research Chemist, CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health
* Ellen Caldwell – Art Historian at Otis, Pepperdine University, researches Balinese artist/activists
* Dianna Cohen – Artist, Activist, Co-founder, CEO of Plastic Pollution Coalition
* Steve Combs – Activist, Surfer, Surfrider Foundation National Board Member
* Julie Decker – Artist, Director, Anchorage Museum and Curator of GYRE Exhibition
* Barbara DeVries – Artist, Designer, Bahamas project
* Marcus Eriksen – Scientist, Explorer, Director of Research and Co-founder of 5 Gyres Institute
* Howard Ferren – Former Director of Conservation, Alaska SeaLIfe Center, Founder of GYRE Project
* Jeff Gold – Engineer and Inventor of plastics-to-oil company Nexus Fuels
* Cyrill Gutsch – Founder of Parley for the Oceans
* Hon. Kwanza Hall, Atlanta City Councilman
* Jenna Jambeck – UGA scientist, developer of app ‘Marine Debris Tracker’
* Asher Jay, Artist – Designer, National Geographic Young Explorer
* Sonya Kelliher-Combs – Artist, Native Alaskan, exhibitor in GYRE exhibition
* J.J. Kelley – National Geographic Producer and award-winning filmmaker
* Arielle Kilroy – Digital Product Director, SIERRA Club, Washington DC
* Rick Kuykendall – Lawyer, Surfrider Foundation National Board Member, Key Litigator, BP Deep Horizon Disaster Class Action Suit
* John Lanier – Executive Director, Ray Anderson Foundation
* Pam Longobardi – Artist, Activist, GSU Distinguished University Professor, Drifters Project
* Rod Mast – President/CEO, Oceanic Society and former VP of Conservation International
* Susan Middleton – Guggenheim Fellow, Artist/Scholar/Author, Nat’l Geographic Photographer
* Rashid Nuri – Director, Truly Living Well, Urban Gardener, former Clinton advisor on Agriculture
* Jane Patton – Education Pioneer and Director of Data, Algiers Charter Schools Association
* Olivia and Carter Ries – Activists, Co-founders, One More Generation
* Chelsea Rochman – Ecotoxicologist, UC Davis, Plastic As Hazardous Waste
* Scott Seydel – President and CEO, The Seydel Companies Sustainable Packaging Coalition, Chair Advisory Board of Elemental Impact
* Laura Turner Seydel – Chair, Captain Planet Foundation, Co-founder Chattahoochee RiverKeeper, Board, Environmental Working Group
* Robert Simmons – Artist, Scientist, Director of GSU Micro Imaging Lab
* Stephanie Stuckey Benfield – Lawyer, Director of GreenLaw
* Heather White – Executive Director of Environmental Working Group
* Liz York – CDC Director of Sustainability
* With special musical guest, Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls

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2013 Creativity and Imagination

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Creativity, imagination, and innovation are necessary twenty-first century skills for learners from all disciplines. Motivated by an intrinsic need to solve problems, instill meaning and innovate, creative individuals use these skills in nearly every aspect of their professional lives. As part of its ongoing commitment to excellence in scholarship and education, to the community and to the belief that creativity is critical to transformative experiences, the Ernest G. Welch School of Art & Design is pleased to sponsor an interdisciplinary symposium on creativity and imagination.

Dr. Melanie Buffington
Art Education and Social Media
Thursday, Oct. 3, 6-7 p.m.
Arts & Humanities, Room 505

Dr. Buffington is an Associate Professor of Art Education at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her research interests include technology, museum education, multiculturalism, feminism, service-learning, contemporary art and teacher preparation. Dr. Buffington will address a range of ideas including how art teachers can utilize social media in their teaching. Funded by the Welch Visiting Artists and Scholars Program. Watch the video of the talk.

Dr. Melanie Buffington
Art Museums and Multiculturalism
Friday, Oct. 4, 1-2 p.m.
Arts & Humanities, Room 505

Art museums are challenged with helping visitors understand a wide range of works of art. Different museums use various strategies to educate their patrons. Buffington will specifically talk about culturally relevant approaches to museum education. Watch the video of the talk.

Dr. Tom Anderson
Monday, Oct. 14, 3-5 p.m.
Langdale Hall, Troy Moore Library

Dr. Tom Anderson holds the Jessie Lovano-Kerr Chair in Art Education at Florida State University. Dr. Anderson examines the qualities that constitute the creative processes of painter Mark Messersmith and the parallel process of making a video about Mark Messersmith’s development of a painting over the course of two weeks. The presentation will begin with a showing of the video, “Mark Messersmith: A Sense of Place”, then the presenter will summarize the creative processes Messersmith engaged in, compare them to the creative processes Dr. Anderson engaged in making the video, and draw conclusions for teaching and learning in an academic context. Watch the video of the talk.

Dr. Wanda Knight
Tuesday, Nov. 12, 3- 5 p.m.
Langdale Hall, Troy Moore Library

Dr. Wanda Bridges Knight is Associate
Professor of Art Education and Women’s Studies at Pennsylvania State University. Individuals express their creativity in various ways. Images and objects created can be highly emotional and have staying power within the grayest regions of our brain. Racist colonial discourse embedded in racial stereotypes in United States culture is not new. What is new; however, is the aggressive revival of these “classic” derogatory stereotypes by contemporary African American artists. What happens when we create images and objects that stereotype? Moreover, what happens when imagination is skewed towards creating racist imagery and objects that sustain fear, loathing and hatred of others? This presentation interrogates the long history of racial stereotypes and challenges creative forms of artistic expression that undermine social justice.

Raymond Veon
Thursday, Jan. 16, 4-5 p.m.
Ernest G. Welch School of Art and Design Galleries

Children’s art fascinates adults because of its originality and spontaneous expression. Raymond Veon will discuss works of art created by K-12 students and pre-service teachers at the Ernest G. Welch School of Art and Design Gallery and explain how adults can appreciate those creative works through visual thinking strategies. An opening reception for the exhibit “Creativity and Imagination from Children’s Works” follows the talk from 5-8 p.m. The exhibition runs January 16, – March 6, 2014.

The Welch Symposium is a cross disciplinary cooperation by the Ernest G. Welch School of Art and Design at Georgia State University. The 2013 Welch Symposium on Creativity and Imagination was initiated by Assistant Professor Kevin Hsieh.
Imagination & Creativity


2012 Welch Symposium on Death

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Death is perhaps the greatest mystery each individual will face. Across the course of history, artists, scientists, theologians, and philosphers have delved into the subject, each adding insights into this great unknown. Though no single discipline can offer definitive statements about what, if anything, awaits us on the other side, the collective works of scholars across many fields does bring some illumination. In the spirit of this type of broad inquiry, the Ernest G. Welch School of Art and Design, in cooperation with multiple departments in the College of Arts and Science at Georgia State University, will host an interdisciplinary conference on the topic of death to be held at GSU December 14-15, 2012. The conference will feature invited scholars from a range of disciplines to share their insights on this topic. We also invite student papers from all disciplines and encourage the broadest possible considerations of death, dying, and mortality.

Friday, December 14th
Featured Speakers
Library South, 8th Floor, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Saturday, December 15th
Student Symposium
Troy Moore Library, General Classroom Building, 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
10 Peachtree Center Avenue, Atlanta GA 30303
Located at the corner of Gilmer Street & Peachtree Center Avenue
Sponsored by the Ernest G. Welch School of Art and Design

Keynote: Professor Carolyn Walker-Bynum (Institute for Advanced Study)
Author of multiple volumes including Last Things. Death and Dying in the Middle Ages
(University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000)

Professor Gary Laderman (Emory University)
Author of Sacred Matters: Celebrity Worship, Sexual Ecstasies, the Living Dead, and Other Signs of Religious Life in the United States (The New Press, 2009)

Professor John E. Seery (Princeton University/ Pamona College)
Author of Political Theory for Mortals, Shades of Justice, Images of Death
(Cornell University Press, 1996)

Professor Karl Taube (UC Riverside)
Author of several works including Aztec and Maya Myths (University Texas Press, 1993)

Associate Professor Tiffiny A. Tung (Vanderbilt University)
Author of Violence, Ritual, and the Wari Empire. (University Press of Florida, 2012)

Professor Heidi Kaufman (University of Delaware)
Author of English Origins, Jewish Discourses, and the Nineteenth-Century Novel: Reflections on a Nested Nation (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2004)

Associate Professor Isabelle Loring Wallace (Art History, University of Georgia)
Co-editor of Contemporary Art and Classical Myth (Ashgate 2011). Co-editor of Architectural Strategies in Contemporary Art. (Ashgate Press, 2012)

Artist Panel Discussion
Stephanie Kolpy (Moderator), Assistant Professor–Mark Burleson,
Associate Professor–Constance Thalkin, Candice Greathouse