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Wednesday, March 27 • 9:00am - 10:20am
Insightful Ecology, Using the Arts to Incite Conversation: Art & Ecology in the Library

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According to Andrew Brown, editor of Art & Ecology Now (2014), the arts can do things that information can't, and they can do more than science to deepen our understanding of the natural world. Statements such as these are foundational in many of the Environmental Arts and Humanities programs that are springing up around the U.S. But how do they translate into goals for research and instruction, learning outcomes, methods, and practices? How can we best support these programs—as librarians, educators, museum professionals, archivists, and curators?

In 2017, University of New Mexico (UNM) librarians Amy Jankowski (Life Sciences) and Stephanie Beene (Art and Architecture) began a collaboration with Subhankar Banerjee, Professor of Art & Ecology. UNM's Art & Ecology Department started in 2009, growing out of the Land Arts of the American West program, which began in 1999. Housed in the College of Fine Arts, its pedagogy consciously shifted to become interdisciplinary while continuing to be firmly rooted in contemporary artistic practice. Disciplinary lenses are integrated with studio practice, including fields which impact land use and ecologies, for example, public policy, indigenous histories, community and regional planning, and sustainability studies. Art & Ecology “encourage[s] [graduate and undergraduate] students to investigate, question, and expand inter-relationships between cultural and natural systems” (ae.unm.edu).

In this interactive panel, we will engage audience members in conversations about Environmental Arts and Humanities as an area of research, practice, and teaching. Based on our information literacy work with an upper-level Art & Ecology course in Fall 2017, “Species, Space, and Survival,” we will explore the connections between arts and sciences in the discipline and the broad potential for creative products. Through the lens of curiosity, we will discuss how we can effectively work with an interdisciplinary course which bridges the arts, humanities, social sciences, and sciences. Integrating creative approaches to information sources allows us to move beyond information as format and toward an exploration of documents as sources that act upon the natural environment, as well as describing or capturing it.

The audience will have the opportunity to assess their own curiosity style(s) through a self-assessment exercise, leading to a better understanding of the range of curiosities which may be present in an interdisciplinary course. Widely differing curiosities may be present in the different disciplines we often see integrated into Environmental Arts and Humanities programs, for example, across the sciences, social sciences, journalism, studio arts, and humanities. Panel attendees will have the chance to interact with colleagues to share perspectives, ideas, and experiences. We will collectively approach different types of information sources common to the field of Environmental Arts and Humanities in an effort to answer the questions: What fields are integrated into Environmental Arts and Humanities? How can we best meet the information needs of students in an interdisciplinary art-based and science-informed program?

Learning Objectives:
  • How to conceptualize art and ecology as an evolving area of research, teaching, and artistic practice
  • How to collaborate with subject specialists to build inclusive information literacy instruction
  • How to integrate the understanding and application of the range of curiosity styles into instruction for a diverse approach to source assessment


Debra Riley-Huff

Division Head: Humanities, Arizona State University

avatar for Paisley Rekdal

Paisley Rekdal

University of Utah
avatar for Stephanie Beene

Stephanie Beene

Assistant Professor, Fine Arts Librarian for Art, Architecture, and Planning, University of New Mexico
avatar for Amy Jankowski

Amy Jankowski

Assistant Professor and Life Sciences Librarian, The University of New Mexico

Subhankar Banerjee

The University of New Mexico

Wednesday March 27, 2019 9:00am - 10:20am MDT
Grand America Hotel: Milano (3rd Floor) 555 Main Street, Salt Lake City, UT, 84111