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Arts & Sciences Grant Awards 2018 Announced

As you probably know, with Oya Reiger transitioning into new roles at Cornell and with digital scholarship at large with Ithaka S&R, I will be joining Eric Rebillard (Classics) in the role of Co-Chair of the Visual Resources Advisory Group. I’d like to thank Eric for his continued leadership and collaboration on this program. It continues to be a rich connection between the library and the communities we serve.

We were delighted to receive fifteen strong proposals for the eighth year of the visual resources grants program and are pleased to support seven exciting projects, including two from graduate students. Through these initiatives, we’ll continue to expand our digital collections for research and teaching and contribute to the field of digital scholarship through the integration of new research methods, innovative data visualization, and tools that enable novel ways of analysis and interpretation. Read the Cornell Chronicle’s coverage here.

Continued thanks to Dianne Dietrich, in her role as DCAPS Coordinator, as she helped shepherd and scope proposed projects in wonderful ways. In working with the applicants, both faculty and graduate researchers, she ensured the library can both meet the goals of the researcher and keep its commitments as the steward of the digital content. As you well know, this balance is imperative in an ever-changing technical landscape. I also want to thank Agata Okulicz-Kozaryn (DCAPS Administrative Assistant), Jasmine Burns (Visual Resources Metadata Librarian), Tabitha Cary (RMC, Digital Projects Assistant), Melissa Wallace (UX Designer), Rhea Garen (CUL’s Imaging Specialist), Simon Ingall (Visual Resources Collections Coordinator) and the Cornell Conservation Lab for support through the process of scoping and budgeting.

Here are the awarded proposals:

Akwe:kon Press Collection

Investigator:  Jolene Rickard, History of Art and American Indian & Indigenous Studies Program (AIISP)

Collaborators: Urszula Piasta-Mansfield, AIISP

This project will digitize the entire publication of the Akwe:kon Press (1984-2002), a Cornell University and American Indian Program (AIP) initiated press that garnered the attention of Indigenous and human rights scholars. The Akwe:kon Press was authored by the first generation of Indigenous scholars with direct access and responsibility to the ongoing formation of Indigenous survivance and was one of the only sources in North America that provided this perspective.

Dynamic Breakthroughs in 20th Century Mathematics

Investigator: John H. Hubbard, Mathematics

Collaborators: Beverly H. West, Mathematics

The more we learn, the more we realize we do not understand (our take on a quote attributed to both Einstein and Aristotle). Computer graphics in the late 20th century brought a revolution to teaching and research in mathematics. Cornell was the forefront internationally in the study of dynamical systems, which includes differential equations and iterative equations, as well as complex dynamics, which expands on the popularized pictures from the Mandelbrot Set. But some of the most important outcome are not well known. Lest this history be forgotten, our collection captures the history and brings important resources to educators and researchers alike.

Excavations of the Maroni Complex, Cyprus

Investigator: Georgia Andreou, Classics

Collaborators: Sturt Manning, Classics

The Maroni Complex is a 2nd millennium BCE coastal settlement on the island of Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean. From its early exploration by the British Museum in the late 19th century to its scientific excavations in the 1980s and 1990s and its multidisciplinary investigation in the past 10 years with geophysical and underwater surveys, Maroni has attracted significant scholarly attention. The material recovered from the site comprises, among other things, an impressive number and variety of imported artefacts from international trade, along with evidence for a centralized agricultural economy, a large, still well-preserved, urban center, as well as extensive underwater remains.

Langtang Memory Project

Investigator: Austin Lord, PhD Candidate, Anthropology

On April 25th 2015, the village of Langtang in Nepal was destroyed by a co-seismic avalanche that killed over 300 people. Over the course of the past three years, the Langtang community has attempted to rebuild their lives while honoring the memory of those who were lost. The Langtang Memory Project is a collaborative volunteer effort that seeks to create a ‘living archive’ of Langtangpa culture and heritage, while supporting intergenerational dialogue about place, identity, and memory within the Langtang community. This project will fund local image and metadata creation in Langtang, supported by library imaging experts.

Nuclear Fallout Shelter Collection, 1959-1961

Investigator: Ji Hyun Lee, PhD Candidate, English

On August 6, 1945, the world changed forever: nuclear war became a possibility. The Nuclear Fallout Shelter Collection, 1959-1961, held by the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, contains pamphlets, booklets, and newsletters issued by the United States federal and state governments that instruct citizens on how to prepare for and survive a nuclear attack. Encapsulating the heyday of American civil defense, this collection is relevant not only as a piece of Americana but also as an investigative tool into the values and mores of the United States during the early Cold War.

Photographs & Travel Journals from the Hedda Morrison Collection

Investigator: Kaja McGowan, History of Art

Collaborators: Shorna Allred, Natural Resources

This collaborative project examines the cultural resilience of the Penan people in the state of Sarawak in northwestern Malaysia. Hedda Morrison spent 20 years living and working in Sarawak, starting in the late 1940s and she frequently returned to the region throughout the 1970s and 1980s. She began photographing the Penan at a time when they were still predominantly nomadic, but a shift to a more settled life is evident in later photographs. A selection of photographs from the Hedda Morrison photographs, [ca. 1950-1985] collection held by the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections were used to conduct ethnographic interviews with the Penan in 2018, aiding in the collection of stories, memories, and ecological and cultural knowledge from Penan elders.

Postcards of European Cross-dressers, 1880s-1920s

Investigator: Durba Ghosh, History and Feminist, Gender, & Sexuality Studies

Collaborators: Leslie Adelson, German; Mitchell Greenberg, Romance Studies; Tamara Loos, History; Brenda Marston, Cornell University Library; Kristin Roebuck, History

At the turn of the twentieth century, postcards of men dressed as women and of women dressed as men circulated across Europe, as performers, musicians, dancers, and actors challenged (and reinforced) gender norms and binaries. This collection draws together French, German, and Swedish postcards held by the Divison of Rare and Manuscript Collections that represent different ways of performing gender. The images, as the one on the right, show bodies in various states of dress, undress, and redress, troubling the ways that clothing expressed a range of identities. The form of the postcard was public in that many were sent through the mail; the images, however, were taken in photography studios in intimate encounters between anonymous photographers and their subjects. The images play with depictions of race, colonialism, desire, and questions related to LGBT history. The collection supports research and teaching for gender and sexuality studies, performance studies, language and literature.


In addition to the grants program, the Arts and Sciences digitization program continues to support instructional needs by providing timely and convenient digitization services, especially for the History of Art and Visual Studies, Anthropology, Archaeology, History, Classics, and Music departments. By digitizing instructional materials and loading them into image databases, we provide campus-wide access to these resources in support of academic goals and allow their reuse and repurposing. We have a promotional schedule and have begun to target new faculty to build awareness of this and other library services.

On behalf of the Arts and Sciences Visual Resources Advisory Group, we would like to express our gratitude for your support of the program that fosters the use of visual resources in teaching and research through a range of creative and interdisciplinary digital scholarship collaborations. We welcome your questions and comments.

Best regards,

Tre Berney (Cornell University Library) & Eric Rebillard (Classics)

Co-chairs, Arts and Sciences Visual Resources Advisory Group



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