Food Futures: Design + Comparative Studies Class Teaching Cluster

Credits: Ethan Newburger, Dana Niehaus, Nicholas Pentony, Nick Romanowski, Claire Spicer, Christine Stankiewicz, Sherry Xiao, Sagul Ali, Ava Berzinsky, Nadja Dewberry, Tira DiYanni, Amber Lanese, Lily Li, Sarah Martin.

Credits: Ethan Newburger, Dana Niehaus, Nicholas Pentony, Nick Romanowski, Claire Spicer, Christine Stankiewicz, Sherry Xiao, Sagul Ali, Ava Berzinsky, Nadja Dewberry, Tira DiYanni, Amber Lanese, Lily Li, Sarah Martin.

The central mission of the Livable Futures Collaborative is to explore effective ways of combining artistic, scientific, and humanistic methodologies in order to address near-horizon challenges that affect both planetary and human conditions. In that spirit, we brought together design arts and humanistic inquiry in a teaching cluster focusing on a topic that involves wide-ranging elements of genetics, environmental science, geopolitics, economics, and art: the future of food. Contemplating the problems and promises associated with how we cultivate, process, and distribute food is therefore an integral part of envisioning what shape our livable futures might take.   

Our Spring 2019 teaching cluster involved two courses: American Food Cultures (Comparative Studies 2420, taught by Rick Livingston) and Introduction to Visual Communication Design II (Design 3153, taught by Peter Chan). With the assistance of Ben McCorkle, who participated in curriculum design and meet with students as a consultant with expertise in visual rhetoric, students in both classes collaborated to address the topic of food futures.

Working in small teams—both in person and online—students developed a variety of design projects (sketchbooks, “food landscape” photo-essays, posters, digital signage, social media, etc.) as part of a campaign to help raise awareness of sustainable food practices in general.

More specifically, this project aligned with The OSU Panel on Food Sustainability’s goal to have the university purchase 40% of its food from local and sustainable sources by the year 2025.

These project deliverables were displayed and distributed to reach OSU students, staff, faculty, and other relevant audiences.

Student posters were also displayed at the On Food and Faith Conference, held in May at The Methodist Theological School in Ohio and funded by OSU inFACT. Among the attendees was former Vice President Al Gore (pictured).

Student posters were also displayed at the On Food and Faith Conference, held in May at The Methodist Theological School in Ohio and funded by OSU inFACT. Among the attendees was former Vice President Al Gore (pictured).

Display event in Mershon lobby, Sullivant Hall

Display event in Mershon lobby, Sullivant Hall

This teaching cluster design draws upon evidence-based teaching practices commonly acknowledged in teaching and learning research. It presents students with an opportunity to engage in collaborative, experiential learning with a long-term project that results in real-world impact for actual audiences. Over the course of the semester, we observed, documented, and analyzed how students interacted in the cluster, we are now planning for future publications.    

Intergenerational Community Gardening

With support from Livable Futures, Design student Susan Booher spent the summer working with Elizabeth Speidel and the elders and children at Columbus’ Champion Intergenerational Center to plan to a garden, maintain and harvest together. The intention of planting a garden is to foster intergenerational interaction and education.

Preschool children completing their planting of vegetables and herbs.

Preschool children completing their planting of vegetables and herbs.

The garden was planted in mobile rectangle containers indoors; then, moved outdoors to grow. The garden containers are visible from the children’s outdoor play area to retain their interest by watching the plants grow and produce fruit for harvesting and enjoyment.

Adults placing gardening gloves on the preschool children’s hands.

Adults placing gardening gloves on the preschool children’s hands.

An instructional binder was provided to Champion Intergenerational Center for future intergenerational gardening activities as well as the equipment needed to support them. Champion will be able to grow plants from seeds in February and March; then, plant them into mobile garden rectangle containers and vertical towers in the spring over the course of the next several years. The rectangle containers can be planted by the children with adult clients assisting them; the towers’ trays can be planted by the adults and children seated comfortably at tables. The binder also includes activities that can be completed by the children and adult clients, independently and together. It was a joyful experience and we are grateful to Champion for letting Susan come learn with them and share her passion biophilic design / designing spaces with lots of green growing friends.

The Emerging Future of Design

The Emerging Future of Design

In the evolution from making to thinking, Scott Denison collaborates with students from OSU’s Industrial Design & Visual Communications fields to create a piece of ‘design fiction’ — focusing on the livability and sustainability of human emotions.

Social Choreography

Social Choreography

Arts leader, performance curator and cultural producer Tonya Lockyer was called “one of the key cultural change-makers in the Northwest” by The Seattle Times, and she'll be at the Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design (ACCAD) for a free talk and lunch (RSVP required) at noon on Thursday, May 16, as part of a residency with ACCAD, the Department of Dance and the Livable Futures project. Norah Zuniga Shaw, Livable Futures co-director and professor, recently spoke with Lockyer about her work, social engagement and the path to a livable future.  

Reports From the Field – Livable Futures in the Land of Many Voices

Reports From the Field – Livable Futures in the Land of Many Voices

The Choctaw name for New Orleans translates to “The place where many languages are spoken,” according to Monique Verdin, photographer, activist and member of the Houma Nation. But this land of many voices is slowly disappearing as the Louisiana coast loses approximately one football field worth of ground each hour and the coastal communities continue to exist under threat of hurricane storm surges rushing up canals and over the land. Yet, every eight square miles of wetlands reduces a hurricane’s storm surge by one foot, according to Britt Aliperti, the program manager at Common Ground Relief, an organization now devoted to wetlands restoration at the mouth of the Mississippi River and the generous host of The Ohio State University’s first Livable Futures Louisiana Field School, which this year comprised of eight undergraduates, two graduates and two faculty: Thomas Davis (Dept. of English) and Mary Thomas (Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies).

Ecological Consciousness Raising Through Art

Ecological Consciousness Raising Through Art

Livable Futures student fellow Calista Lyon presented her new work The Unknown and the Unnamed in March at the Urban Arts Space in Columbus, OH. A collaborative hybrid performance drawing from a range of forms including the educational lecture, essay, memoir and family slide-show evenings, the piece shares the natureculture narratives of Australian native orchids and their ecological, scientific and political entanglements. The narrative is woven around place, specifically Lyon’s childhood home in Australia.

Visiting Artist André M. Zachary Creates Afrofuturist Visions

Visiting Artist André M. Zachary Creates Afrofuturist Visions

In Autumn 2018, Livable Futures co-sponsored a residency by visiting professor André M. Zachary in ACCAD’s Motion Lab performance research space. Zachary worked with students from the Department of Dance, producer Norah Zuniga Shaw, and a team of ACCAD faculty and staff to explore all the possibilities of the incredible intermedia technologies on hand in the Motion Lab.

Tommy’s top 5 essential readings for a livable future

Tommy’s top 5 essential readings for a livable future

Livable Futures co-director, professor Thomas S. Davis, shares five of his favorite readings for a livable future. The list includes works across a range of genres, from politics and economics to poetry and fiction.

Emergent Strategy Gathering

Emergent Strategy Gathering

Recently we came together to discuss Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds, a nourishing and galvanizing text by Adrienne Maree Brown (AMB) that has been circulating widely since it was published in 2017. Facilitated by Norah Zuniga Shaw, a group of 20 students, faculty, and interested parties met to talk about the book and about facilitating emergent strategies for change in our communities.

Analog Futures through Expanded Cinema Communities

Analog Futures through Expanded Cinema Communities

Experimental filmmakers Richard Tuohy, Dianna Barrie, Ohio State professor and filmmaker Roger Beebe, along with Ohio State professor and Livable Futures co-director Norah Zuniga Shaw held a public dialog to discuss strategies for building thriving community through creative living and skills trading as demonstrated by the artist-run film lab movement. Both Tuohy and Barrie, who are from Australia, were in town to share their works at the Wexner Center as part of Beebe’ Expanded Cinema series. Beebe describes the series as a challenge to the “traditional single-projector black box theatrical screening” with live performance of the films by the filmmakers using multiple analog projectors.

Artist Ben Cuevas encourages students to fill the campus with “soft” activism in yarn-bombing workshop

Artist Ben Cuevas encourages students to fill the campus with “soft” activism in yarn-bombing workshop

There is always a starting point. For multimedia artist, Ben Cuevas, it started with a knot. A knot in yarn, from there Cuevas took yarn and intertwined and intersected and turned it into intricate sculptural fabrications of skeletons, organs, and pharmacology. When he visited Ohio State recently, to teach a workshop on yarn bombing, Cuevas started his class with this simple instruction–start with a knot, a slip knot and then a loop.

Get to know the Livable Futures leadership team

Happy New Year 2019. As we start a new year and a flurry of new activity and grounded action, we are also launching our blog to document what we’re doing, what’s been happening and what’s coming up, and share what we value in the hope that it is useful to you too!

The Livable Futures project grew out of three allied projects funded by Ohio State’s Discovery Themes initiative, an effort by the Provost’s office to catalyze collaboration and interdisciplinary research addressing “grand challenges” and seemingly impossible to solve problems. Jenny seeded our efforts with her Human Rights in Transit project, Tommy and Mary headed up Environmental Humanities efforts and Norah created the Collaboration for Humane Technologies with her co-conspirators at ACCAD. We held a series of reading rooms and embodied practice events last year called “The Problem of the Human” that helped us to gather thinkers and makers and doers around decentering the human even as we struggle for survival on the planet. We pick up from there as we launch into the Livable Futures projects and gatherings. Join us!

 

Norah Zuniga Shaw

Co-Director

With a background in choreography and environmental science, Norah is an interdisciplinary artist working in a blend of mediums and genres from live sound and movement performance, to data visualization, film, interactive media installations, virtual reality, writing, artist walks and participatory theater. At heart, she is deeply interdisciplinary and finds that her best work involves collaboration and the successful leadership of creative teams.

Read more about Norah

Thomas S. Davis

Co-Director

Thomas began his academic career as a scholar of midcentury modernism, and was initially fascinated by the dialectical relay between the aesthetics of everyday life in late modernism and the large-scale shifts happening in the world system between the 1930s-1970s. That research resulted in his first book, The Extinct Scene: Late Modernism and Everyday Life (Columbia UP, 2016) and a batch of essays in Twentieth Century Literature, Textual Practice, Literature Compass, and several edited volumes. He became increasingly interested in the aesthetics and politics of energy as he finished that book. Those interests have pushed his current research fully into the emerging fields of Environmental and Energy Humanities.

Read more about Thomas

Mary Thomas

Co-Director

Mary’s scholarship examines the attachments people have to social, racial, sexual, and gender divisions. She has examined these processes of attachment in a range of contexts, including among teenage girls after a racially-motivated large scale fight at their high school, among oil field workers and town planners in western North Dakota, and in juvenile detention facilities and adult men’s prisons in Ohio. Her academic training as a feminist and a geographer grounds an understanding of marginalization as experienced and perpetuated through nuanced relations in specific places and spaces.

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Jennifer Suchland

Co-Director

Jennifer’s research and ethical commitments are to a critical study of law and rights categories as they are culturally and transnationally entangled. This research is focused on the evolution of global women’s rights discourses, in particular the formation of the composite category called “violence against women.” She has traced shifts in development discourses as the countries undergoing capitalist transition were incorporated into and helped reshape global precarity. Her research traversed the archives of the United Nations, U.S. congressional hearings, and years of fieldwork in Russia and Europe.   

Read more about Jennifer