CMCS newsletter - Dec 2012


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Su Au-Arnold, Team leader, Reducing the Risk program, will provide a short presentation on the university's inventory initiative, followed by discussion and contributions of ideas from the CMCS members.

"Reducing the Risk" is a program started John Kleberg and Patrick Maughan in the Department of Public Safety to protect and document the University's cultural properties (paintings, memorabilia, items regarding university history, or an academic discipline, items of cultural significance, ethnographic objects, books, sports historic materials and other collections). By gathering this information, storing it in an accessible database, we hope to provide the University Community and others with the ability to see the items, study the items, and use them to further study and promote learning. We are still in the infancy of this program and would like your input and continued input into what this database should look like and how it should function within the University and outside.


Clayton Funk

Clayton Funk (Art Policy, Education and Management) provided one of the year's first presentations. Clayton’s background in the history of education is really a study of the histories of learning and the construction of agencies that transmit culture across the generations.  His research in history and art education tends to focus on the 19th and 20th centuries, in North America, particularly between 1890 and 1940. Interest focuses on the fit of the history of education within strains of cultural, social, and material cultural history. That statement means that the value of histories of educational thought and of schools is as important as that of school buildings, technology, and what they imply about the cultures we value. These histories reveal a web of learning filters, learning ways, and learning machines. Ideas that were once emblemized in stone are now fabricated into electronic pulses, here and gone in seconds.Funk has published articles, book chapters, and book reviews on the history of education and material culture, and technology in the first half of the 20th century. In the studio, he works in fibers and wood, in addition to web design and programming.

Nena Couch

Nena Couch, Curator of the Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute, offered the first CMCS tour of the 2012 year. Nena provided behind the scenes comments on the exhibition "Dancing Dimensions: Movement through Time and Space". The exhibition highlights dance and movement collections of the Theatre Research Institute, ranging from an 18th-century French fan with dance scenes to a top hat from Chorus Line; from dance in notation to dance in 3D; costume and set designs to a costume that pirouettes and scenery. Through a variety of materials such as photographs, programs, posters, correspondence, video, and a mask, the exhibition celebrates dance and movement artists and companies, international as well  as those who have kept dance thriving in Ohio. The exhibition continues in the Thompson Library Gallery until December 30.

Upcoming meetings

February 13, OSU collections and objects inventory discussion, 3:30, Knight House

February 20, presentations by Sarah-Grace Heller and Debbie Smith-Shank, 3:30, Knight House 

April 3, presentations tba. 3:30-5:00, Knight House

April 18, planning meeting including steps toward the formal center proposal, 3:30-5:00, Knight House

The mission of the Center for Material Culture Studiesat the Ohio State University is to provide a forum for interdisciplinary inquiry and  research focusing on material culture.  The center will also serve as an umbrella organization under which the diverse and disparate collections held across the university will be made more accessible to the faculty, undergraduate and graduate students and the community.




Theatre Research Institute

Historic Costume & Textiles Collection

Arts Administration, Education and Policy department

Draft Proposal to Establish The Center for Material Culture Studies [pdf]



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