Creative Conversations, Fall 2014

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Welcome to the Fall 2014 edition of Creative Conversations. This quarter, we’re excited to welcome Doug Thorpe, Roger Feldman, Doug Koskela, Karen Snedker, and Jennifer McKinney to the series to discuss topics ranging from Palestinian poetry to art to vocation to homelessness in Seattle. Doug Thorpe will kick off the series tomorrow (October 30th) at 3:00 p.m. with a discussion on his recent trip to Israel and Palestine. Visit our website for more information on dates, times, and our speakers. Please do note that Roger Feldman will be speaking on December 4th instead of November 6th.

Coffee and cookies will be provided – we look forward to having you!

Day of Common Learning 2014

On Wednesday, October 22nd, SPU canceled all classes so faculty, staff, and students could attend Day of Common Learning, where talks and sessions were based on the theme of power. Below are the thoughts of some of our Library staff who attended lectures and taught sessions.

Keynote: The Good News About Power
Andy Crouch

Andy Crouch began his keynote address about power by addressing the problem that conversations about power are usually either cynical or naive, and asked the question of whether it was possible to have a talk that was both honest and hopeful. Crouch felt that was possible with some reframing of the grammar and definition of power. He then offered some descriptions of power, including Nietzsche’s concept that all people want to individually exert their power as widely as possible, forcing them into conflict with others who try and exert their own power. Crouch offered an alternative view of power from First Genesis, saying that our power comes from our ability as image bearers of Christ to make things that are “very good.” Crouch then offered several examples of this in physics, art, and music – showing how scientists and artists can use their ability to effect change to increase power for everyone. For example Henry Ossawa Tanner’s painting The Banjo Player – which took an instrument and music style that was being caricaturized and oppressed, and gave it a fuller expression in showing the importance of the banjo as part of African-American culture and community. Finally, he gave a two-by-two chart (for the business majors, he teased) showing a cross of authority – defined as the ability to effect change (authority), and vulnerability – to show the amount of risk one is exposed to. Crouch believes that low authority and high vulnerability results in poverty; low authority and low vulnerability is safety; high authority and low vulnerability is idolatry and injustice; and only with high authority and high vulnerability can we be image bearers.

- Carrie Fry

Session 1: Re-thinking Power and Powerlessness: Listening to Iraqi Voices in Blogs from Baghdad
Kimberly Segall

Dr. Segall’s talk yesterday focused on ways that the Western world tends looks at conflict in the Middle East. The ways in which our media tends to portray the Middle East as one homogenous region, whose religions and beliefs are all blurred into one. We talked about looking at the stories we hear from both sides of a conflict. For example, some of us may see the veil as forced upon women, as a sign of oppression. Dr. Segall pointed out that yes, there is oppression and power when forcing women to wear the veil, but there is also power when women make their own choice to wear it. She spoke about her own experiences of daily life from recently living in Iraq with her daughter. One of the main messages that I came out of this talk with was to remember to look to other sources of information for a clearer picture of the individuals living in conflict.

- Jo Krogh

Session 2: Technology and Power
Ryan Ingersoll, Michael Paulus, and David Wicks

David Wicks started the session sharing about the new Digital Education Leadership M.Ed. program. Wicks stressed the program’s intentional flexibility, as it is built around a unique sandboxed learning environment with team-taught courses, project-based learning, beta tests technology tools, and a preference towards using open access educational resources. Wicks touched on some of the important issues K-12 and higher education technologists, teachers, and students are navigating. Michael Paulus spoke next, reminding us of the long history of technology and invited us on journey to the past. Paulus shared about the different views of technology as liberator, oppressor, and instrument. To that end, Paulus introduced the need for attention and framed it by the Ten Commandments through the love of God and neighbor. Ryan Ingersoll closed the session with reflections about course topics on digital citizenship, mindfulness, multitasking, digital identity, and vocation. As a group we discussed Facebook’s mood manipulation project and reflected together on power and privacy dynamics. Ryan encouraged a need to focus on relationships in digital spaces by integrating love of God and neighbor, mindfulness, and a balanced approach to life based on the rhythm of Sabbath. Finally, he discussed how we should expand on Andy Crouch’s call towards being image bearers and implement that action of authority and vulnerability in digital spaces we inhabit.

- Ryan Ingersoll

Creative Conversations: Winter Quarter Recap

Creative Conversations is the library’s new speaker series that highlights scholarly and creative work begin done by members of the SPU community. We continue to focus the program on the creative processes that go into their work with the aim of stimulating conversations about these processes among students, scholars, and others at SPU.

This quarter Rob Wall and David Nienhuis started us off by presenting their work on their new book A Bite-Sized Introduction to the Whole Bible, a collaborative work that will ultimately include most of the Theology faculty. Each chapter in the book will focus on a different book or collection of books of the bible and will be written by a different faculty member. Slated for becoming a new textbook in the core curriculum, the aim is to provide a book for students (and edited by students) that provides a foundational big picture look at the whole biblical story.

Executive editor of Image Journal, teacher, and author Suzanne Wolfe presented the following week, sharing from her latest novel in progress, The Iron Ring: The Confessions of St. Augustine’s Concubine. She talked about her research process – including her adventures abroad, the process of seeing characters come to life, and the ups and downs of being a writer. Suzanne read the finished epilogue which was rich and beautifully written and is very promising of things to come.

We welcomed Myrna Capp as our third speaker, a gifted pianist who also teaches piano at SPU. Myrna and her husband spent a significant amount of time in Namibia, during which she conducted a great amount of research on Namibian music and musicians. Her book, Namibian Soundscapes: Music of the People and the Land, gives us a glimpse into a fascinating culture so different from our own, and an introduction to a musical people committed to keeping that culture alive.

Don Yanik rounded out this quarter’s Creative Conversations with a talk on scene design. Don has designed sets for a prolific amount of plays in his time, at SPU and outside of it. He shared a little about the process of design as a process that includes collaboration between the director, designers, and actors. It is a process that creates a world for the play to live in and not detract from it. It accomplishes a purpose. To show his work, Don brought along to-scale models of the stage at SPU.

After a successful Winter quarter, we’re excited to welcome Dr. Kimberly Segall, Dr. Jennifer Maier, Dr. Kevin Watson, and the alumni behind SHEP Films in the Spring. Times and dates to come!

2014 Friends of the Library Event: “The Archive of Seattle Pacific University: A Panel Exploring the Origins of SPU in Time and Place”

FOL Archives PanelOn Tuesday, March 11, 2014, 7:30-9 p.m. in Upper Gwinn Commons a panel of historians and archivists will explore the origins of Seattle Pacific University through the history of Seattle, the Pacific Northwest, and educational institutions in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

When the school that became Seattle Pacific University, Seattle Seminary, was founded in 1891, Seattle had recently emerged as the largest city in the new state of Washington and there was broad interest in establishing schools to prepare for the region’s future.

Inspired by a passion for mission and place, the seminary’s founders proclaimed their belief in “teaching for the future” and their ambition to provide a place where students would acquire a thorough “education for character.” In 1930, the school’s leaders wrote that they had witnessed the transformation of both their “great city,” “from a village in a deep and lonely forest … to the great metropolis of the Pacific Northwest,” and their “small denominational Academy located on a barren hillside into a leading liberal arts College, on a beautiful tree-covered campus.”

Each panelist will focus on a different facet of the content and nature of the historical record that enables exploration of these transformations and better understanding of the SPU that exists today.

The event is free and open to the public.

Creative Conversations

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Creative Conversations is the library’s new speaker series that highlights scholarly and creative work being done by members of SPU community. The intent of this program is to focus on the creative process and stimulate conversations about this process among students, scholars, and others at SPU.

This quarter, we are really excited to have Rob Wall, David Nienhuis, Suzanne Wolfe, Myrna Capp, and Don Yanik join us for the series.

Rob Wall and David Nienhuis will kick things off with A Bite-Sized Introduction to the Whole Bible, followed by Suzanne Wolfe, presenting from her new novel The Iron Ring. Myrna Capp will talk about her work with Namibian music, and Don Yanik will finish out the series this quarter with a discussion on scene design and the process that goes into creating the worlds of plays. Go to our Creative Conversations website for dates, times, and more information.

Last quarter, Fall 2013, saw the debut of Creative Conversations, and we were delighted to see it be a success. We were privileged to have Jeff Keuss, Ben McFarland, David Wicks, Andrew Lumpe, and SPU MFA alum Shannon Huffman Polson speak about their various works. We witnessed a clear shift of focus from the presenting of finished works to the sharing of ideas, processes, and choices that go into creating finished works. Ben McFarland, for example, discussed the collaboration of art and science and the inspiration that he finds in the world around him. David Wicks and Andrew Lumpe talked about creating bPortfolios (blog portfolios) to meet the evolving needs of students who must have up-to-date portfolios in a world of technological progress. Jeff Keuss shared his musings on how Stephen King draws more parallels with the gospel than one might think. Shannon Polson read from her highly acclaimed memoir North of Hope, and talked about the emerging genre of memoir as creative non-fiction, as well as her journey through grief after the loss of her parents.

Join us this quarter for another intriguing series brought to you by scholars in our community.