Carnegie Mellon News Online Edition: December 5, 2001
Carnegie Mellon News Online Edition
In This Issue

BioVenture/Life Sciences Greenhouse Aims to Develop Bioscience Industries

Behrmann Cited for Research into the Mind's "Eye"

Students Get Chance to Impact Public Policy Through Friedman, Johnson Fellowships

HR Launches New Just-in-Time, Self-Service Web Technology

Akram Midani Remembered for His Knowledge, Sense of Humor

Heinz School Appoints William Guttman To Head Software Industry Center

Judith Modell to Direct Center for Arts in Society

Simon Memorial Fund Established

"Strong, Distinctive Voices" Take Circuitous Routes to Poetry, Carnegie Mellon

News Briefs
Historian Manning Marable is Keynoter for Martin Luther King Day

Most Eligible Bachelor Returns

Regina Gouger Miller Gallery Presents...

Entries Sought for Martin Luther King Writing Awards

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Modell Judith Modell, the Right Scholar to Direct Center for Arts in Society, Says H&SS Dean

Judith Modell's interdisciplinary interests in anthropology, history and art, and her genuinely curious and collaborative spirit have led her to accept the position as the first formal director of the Center for the Arts in Society.

A member of the Carnegie Mellon faculty since 1984, and a professor of anthropology, history and art since 1994, Modell is no stranger to the blending of arts and humanities. Her interests are eclectic-spanning studies of the policies and practices of American adoption and foster care to the impact of the decline of the Pittsburgh steel industry, a project in which she collaborated with Associate Professor of Design and photographer Charlee Brodsky.

Modell spent last summer working with School of Architecture Professor and artist Doug Cooper and four students on a mural for the Health Sciences Building at the University of California at San Francisco. She is currently working with Brodsky on a project exploring the experiences of Allegheny County children in foster care.

box Hawaii is a primary site for Modell's work. There, she has conducted research into the relations between American social service agencies and Hawaiian families. She is also at work on a book manuscript intertwining the life story of a native Hawaiian man and the recent history of Hawaii.

John Lehoczky, dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (H&SS), said Modell is just the kind of interdisciplinary scholar and teacher to take on the leadership of the Center for the Arts in Society. She has served as acting director since the center was established in June 2000 with an $800,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The center comprises 25 faculty who have interests that range from cultural theory to studio arts.

Modell said the center has "already gotten off to a very successful start, but there's much more we can do on campus and off."

As examples she points to the center's three goals-to create and energize research projects and educational programs that link H&SS and the College of Fine Arts (CFA); to bring visiting scholars and arts practitioners to campus who provide new perspectives on the role of the arts and the humanities in a rapidly changing technological and political environment; and to collaborate with arts institutions and community groups in the Pittsburgh area.

The center aims to annually host two research fellows and one distinguished visiting faculty member.

Modell said members of the center explore pressing issues such as the role of the arts in public controversies, the cultural and historical determinants of artistic products, and the relation between critical/humanistic studies and evolving arts practices.

Center members also develop new interdisciplinary approaches to examining the arts in society, including visual anthropology, public arts policy, the arts and the environment, dramatic performance and social change.

The center sponsors talks, exhibits, performances and panel discussions. Recently, Modell and Associate Director Timothy Haggerty organized a panel discussion focusing on the many social and cultural issues surrounding the Warhol Museum's controversial exhibit "Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America."

Collaboration with an institution such as the Warhol is an example of the way the center intends to foster contacts between the university and local, national, and international developments in the arts and the humanities.

"We have a long-range plan to work with local arts institutions, with community organizations and with neighborhood associations involved in revitalization and preservation, in the creation of public spaces for the arts, and in developing appropriate commemorative structures," Modell said.

The center has created a minor in Arts in Society that will complement the successful Bachelor of Humanities and Arts Program, giving students from all parts of the university the opportunity to broaden their exposure to the humanities and the arts.

The minor offers a range of approaches to arts in society, with courses that focus on history, politics, theory and practice. The minor draws on CFA and H&SS programs, as well as the Heinz School's Arts Management program.

Research fellows Larry Bogad of the School of Drama and Melissa Ragona of Film and Cultural Studies are teaching courses that expand the center's offerings. Michigan State University's Howard Bossen will visit campus this spring as the Center for the Arts in Society's distinguished visiting faculty member. In addition to giving a public lecture, Bossen will teach an advanced course on media and imagery.

Teresa Sokol Thomas

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