Enfilade

Mia Receives Funding for Empathy and Diversity Initiatives

Posted in museums by Editor on December 16, 2017

Installation view of Living Rooms: The Many Voices of Colonial America, on view in the Charleston Drawing Room at Mia from 22 April 2017 until 15 April 2018 (Minneapolis Institute of Art)

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Press release (13 December 2017) from Mia:

The Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) announced today that it has received two major grants: a $750,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in support of the museum’s Center for Empathy and the Visual Arts and a $520,000 grant from the Ford Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation supporting Mia’s ongoing Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility (IDEA) initiative.

Center for Empathy and Visual Arts / Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation funding will enable Mia to establish the first-ever Center for Empathy and the Visual Arts (CEVA) within an art museum. Mia is spearheading the project, collaborating with researchers, scholars, philosophers, content experts, artists, thought leaders, and colleagues at other museums to explore and research best practices to foster compassion and enhance related emotional skills. This ambitious initiative will span nearly five years, providing Mia and other art museums ample opportunities to purposefully build empathy into their learning practices as a strategy for impacting positive social change.

Kaywin Feldman, Nivin and Duncan MacMillan Director and President of Mia, said, “A visitor to our museum has the opportunity to experience works of art made over the course of some 5,000 years, from every corner of the globe. One of the most meaningful aspects of this encounter is the awareness it can awaken of a common humanity—an immediate sense of connection between the viewer and someone who may have lived in a very different time and place. Thanks to the Mellon Foundation, we’re proud to take the lead with partners across the country, in studying how to spark and nurture empathy through the visual arts, so that Mia and all art museums can contribute even more toward building a just and harmonious society.”

The first phase of this initiative kicked off in October, when Mia invited experts from fields as diverse as the social sciences, empathy research, virtual reality, and neuroscience fields, as well as museum curators and directors, artists, and educators, to discuss empathy and the art museum at the University of California, Berkeley—a partner in this research project. The ideas generated by the think tank will be developed and tested with the aim of fostering greater awareness and understanding, wonder, and/or global awareness among visitors.

“To be human is to express our emotions in art,” said Dacher Keltner, PhD, Professor of Psychology at University of California, Berkeley, Director of the Berkeley Social Interaction Lab and Co-Director of the Greater Good Science Center. “Aesthetic experiences—in viewing a painting, sculpture, photograph, or dance, or in music—are sources of awe and wonder. They enable us to solve a complex mystery—to understand what our fellow humans think and feel. For these reasons, the museum may be one of the great catalysts of human empathy and compassion. That possibility is the focus of Mia’s new scientific initiative with UC Berkeley and the Greater Good Science Center.”

During the initiative’s second phase, the Center will disseminate easy-to-use tools that guide museum educators and curators in using their collections to foster empathy among their own visitors. The initiative’s leaders at Mia hope that museums across the country and abroad will be inspired to build upon this work by incorporating the key learnings into their own practices, resulting in far-reaching impact inside the field and beyond.

Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility / Ford Foundation and Walton Family Foundation

The Ford Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation will provide resources for Mia’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility (IDEA) efforts, which strengthen the pipeline of art museum leadership positions for those who have been historically underrepresented: people of color and indigenous people. With the funding, the museum will hire a Diversity & Inclusion Manager, who will research, develop, and launch a robust fellowship program for college students of diverse cultural backgrounds. The IDEA program expands upon Mia’s current Native American Fellowship Program, which has been active for more than 10 years through financial support from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community.

“At Mia, we believe that embracing diversity as a core value, not just as a program, will bring more voices, perspectives, and experiences to the field and its practice,” Feldman said. “Within the next decade, we hope to see a significant impact on young leadership in the museum field.”

Mia will collaborate with Twin Cities’ colleges and other organizations to develop networks to recruit candidates for fellowships, full-time openings, unpaid internships, and volunteer opportunities. To do so, it will work with other institutions’ H.R. and diversity inclusion departments, college career advisors, and campus student groups.

“We are delighted to partner with Mia on this important initiative,” said Patricia Pratt-Cook, Senior Vice President for Human Resources, Equity and Inclusion at St. Catherine University. “St. Kate’s, home to one of the nation’s largest colleges for women and a student population that is 37.7% diverse, serves diverse students with an innovative approach to learning and a faculty that has been recognized nationally for their commitment to teaching. We look forward to supporting Mia’s success through this grant by sharing our experiences with the museum and connecting our students to opportunities available through Mia’s IDEA project.”

Lecture | Claudia Johnson on the Rice Portrait of Jane Austen

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on December 16, 2017

Happy Birthday, Jane Austen! (she was born on 16 December 1775). From The Lewis Walpole Library:

Claudia Johnson | Pride, Prejudice, and Portraits: The Rice Portrait of Jane Austen
Twenty-third Lewis Walpole Library Lecture
Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 4 April 2018

Ozias Humphry, Rice Portrait of Jane Austen, 1788.

Examining the controversial reception of the Rice Portrait of Jane Austen, by Ozias Humphry, this illustrated talk ponders the stakes of legitimacy in general as well as the unusual acrimony this portrait in particular has often inspired. Wednesday, April 4, 2018, 5:30pm, Yale Center for British Art Lecture Hall.

Claudia L. Johnson joined the faculty at Princeton in 1994 and was Chair of the English Department from 2004 to 2012. She specializes in 18th- and early 19th-century literature, with a particular emphasis on the novel. In addition to 18th-century courses, she teaches courses on gothic fiction, sentimentality and melodrama, the history of prose style, film adaptations of novels into film, detective fiction, Samuel Johnson, and, of course, Jane Austen. She has strong research interests in 18th-century music, in voice, in letterpress printing, in Yiddish story, and in the American Songbook of the 1930s and 1940s.

Johnson’s most recent book, Jane Austen’s Cults and Cultures (Chicago, 2012) won the Christian Gauss Award in 2103. Her other books include The Blackwell Companion to Jane Austen, ed. with Clara Tuite (Blackwell, 2005); The Cambridge Companion to Mary Wollstonecraft (Cambridge, 2002); Equivocal Beings: Politics, Gender and Sentimentality in the 1790s (Chicago, 1995), which won an Honorable Mention for the MLA Lowell Prize; and Jane Austen: Women, Politics, and the Novel (Chicago, 1988). In addition, she is keenly interested in textual scholarship and has prepared editions of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, Sense and Sensibility, Northanger Abbey, and (with Susan Wolfson) Pride and Prejudice. Her research has been supported by major fellowships such as the NEH and the Guggenheim.

Johnson is working on several book-length projects: an edition of Austen’s The Beautifull Cassandra, with drawings by Leon Steinmetz, forthcoming from Princeton University Press, 2018; 30 Great Myths about Jane Austen, with Clara Tuite, forthcoming from Wiley-Blackwell in 2019; and Raising the Novel, which explores key phases the history of the history of the novel in which critics have attempted to elevate them to keystones of high culture.