In 2011, Washington University in St. Louis received a three-year, $500,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support a series of five “Vertical Seminars” in the humanities. The seminars, part of a pilot program directed by Steven Zwicker, Stanley Elkin Professor in the Humanities, and Professor, Department of English introduce an innovative format of collaborative research to the humanities and include scholars of different levels — dissertation and Master of Fine Arts students, postdoctoral fellows and junior and senior faculty — working together to examine a series of overarching questions in the humanities.
Patricia Olynyk, Director, Graduate School of Art and Florence and Frank Bush Professor of Art in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, will direct the 2014 Vertical Seminar: The Role of Arts Practice in the Research University. The seminar will focus on artists and their collaborators across the U.S. who have been producing unique work that cuts across disciplinary boundaries.
Weekly meetings will include scholars and practitioners who are reflecting on two distinct aspects of art-making that involve research: original creative work produced through some form of studio or post-studio practice in collaboration with high-level research activity on the one hand; and the integration of arts practice across disciplines in the research university on the other. Numerous models will be studied; including those that claim studio-based practice provides the ideal connective tissue to bridge disciplines.