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“Can Art Save the Planet? A Symposium on Art and Planetary Health”

April 11, 2019 @ 8:30 am - 5:00 pm

Our world depends on a healthy planet—our economy, our individual and societal health and ultimately the fate of our species. When one thinks of advancing planetary health, some common roles come to mind: doctors, biologists, environmentalists, sociologists and educators; however, art is an often-overlooked discipline that can also advance planetary health.

In this daylong symposium, interdisciplinary partners from the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, College of Veterinary Medicine, and the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences aim to integrate the arts and health sciences in a way that will facilitate a global conversation among Auburn faculty. Through presentations and breakout sessions facilitated by distinguished guests and leading Auburn researchers, participants will discover the myriad ways that the visual arts can be used to address public and planetary health issues.

Register for April 11

A working lunch will be provided to attendees. Please register by Monday, April 8. Auditorium seating is open and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Aerial view of artist Matthew Willey, The Good of the Hive, painting a mural on top of a barn.
Artist Matthew Willey stands beside his rooftop mural on a barn in Lyons, Nebraska.

Program and Speaker Biographies

8:30 a.m. – Grand Gallery

Coffee will be served and name tags provided at check-in. Advance registration is encouraged.

9:00 a.m. – Auditorium

Welcome and introduction to Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art
Scott Bishop, curator of academic and public programs

Introduction and Planetary Health
Dr. Sarah Zohdy, assistant professor, School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences and College of Veterinary Medicine

9:30 – 11:30 a.m. – Auditorium

“Can Art Save Lives?”
David Gere, director, UCLA Art & Global Health Center

David Gere, Ph.D., serves as director of the UCLA Art & Global Health Center and is a professor in the Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance, where he teaches courses in arts activism. His book How to Make Dances in an Epidemic: Tracking Choreography in the Age of AIDS received the Outstanding Publication Award from the Congress on Research in Dance and was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award. Gere has co-authored numerous public health articles addressing arts-based health interventions, especially concerning the Sex Squad concept that he co-invented. He has also co-curated a trilogy of AIDS exhibitions: MAKE ART/STOP AIDS (2008), The A.R.T. Show (2011), and Through Positive Eyes (2016), the latter of which is set to tour the U.S. starting in September 2019.

“Saving the World One TV Show at a Time”
Kate Folb, director, Hollywood Health & Society

Kate Folb, M.Ed. is director of the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center’s Hollywood, Health & Society program (HH&S). After an early career in jazz, rock’n’roll and TV, Kate joined the Scott Newman Center, where she worked with top TV shows and films on depictions of alcohol and drug addiction. Later, she spent nearly a decade as director of the Media Project, a partnership of Advocates for Youth and the Kaiser Family Foundation, which addressed portrayals of adolescent reproductive health in the media. In 2001 she led Nightingale Entertainment, an independent consulting firm developing cause-related media campaigns with the entertainment industry. She joined HH&S in 2012. Kate speaks fluent Spanish, has traveled to every continent except Antarctica, has a husband, two children and two mischievous puppies.

Noon – Grand Gallery

Join in a small group roundtable discussion during a working lunch by Ursula’s Catering. Table topics will be announced.

2 – 4 p.m. – Auditorium

“Design Ecology: Interventions for Global Health”
Lindsay Tan, director of the Design Ecology Lab at Auburn University

Lindsay Tan (M.F.A., I.D.E.C., E.D.A.C., L.E.E.D., G.C.P., N.C.I.D.Q.) is a design ecologist with special expertise in symbolic aspects of human-computer and human-environment interaction. She is director of the Design Ecology Lab at Auburn University, where her team explores the multimodal, multilayered interaction of people, places, products and processes as they impact health and wellness of individuals and society. She also serves as the W. Allen and Martha Reimer Reed Associate Professor and Program Coordinator for Auburn’s nationally-ranked interior design program, where she teaches design as an intervention tool to benefit global health and quality of life. Tan has over 12 years of professional design experience including hospitality, healthcare, civic, educational, residential and corporate interiors, digital and print media, interface and interaction, exhibit, visual merchandising and production for stage and film.

“Disconnected: Exploring the Broken Relationship between Humankind and Nature through Sculpture”
Annie B. Campbell, assistant professor of ceramics, Department of Art and Art History, Auburn University

Annie B. Campbell, M.F.A., is Assistant Professor of Ceramics in Auburn University’s Department of Art and Art History. In 2011 she was awarded an Emerging International Artist Residency at the Scottish Sculpture Workshop in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. She was also awarded a year-long residency at Studio 550 in Manchester, NH in 2012, and was a Distinguished Fellow at Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences in 2015. She has worked in ceramics programs in Italy, at Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts in Maine, Maho Bay Clay Works in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Sugar Maples Center for the Arts in New York State. Beginning in Summer 2019, she will be an artist in residence at the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop in Scotland culminating in a solo exhibition. She exhibits her sculpture and installations nationally and internationally.

4 p.m. – Grand Gallery

“Conservation Conversations”
Matthew Willey, artist and founder, The Good of the Hive
Zach Ellis, producer and arts activist, The Good of the Hive

Matthew Willey, B.F.A., is an artist and the founder of The Good of the Hive, an initiative based on a personal commitment to hand-paint 50,000 individual honey bees in murals and art installations around the world. The essence of the mission is to change the way people feel about (and interact with) the natural world. He has painted and exhibited bees at Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington D.C., Dag Hammarskjold Plaza in NYC, and Burt’s Bees Global Headquarters in Durham, NC. He has collaborated with the World Council of Peoples for the United Nations and NYC Parks’ Art in the Parks Public Art Program. His work has been featured on the NEA’s podcast, in “The Huffington Post,” and “The New York Times.”

Zach Ellis is a videographer and general manager for The Good of the Hive. A nationally recognized speaker, photographer, videographer, group dynamics facilitator, event coordinator and art activist, Zach brings a high level of dexterity to the work at hand. Radical awe for our environment(s), both natural and personal, informs his approach to all projects, constantly striving to build connections between people and passion, making the impossible possible for the good of the hive.

Support for this symposium is provided by Auburn’s Office of the Vice President for Research, the College of Veterinary Medicine, the School of Wildlife Sciences and the Louise Hauss and David Brent Miller Audubon Endowment at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art.

Developed by Scott Bishop, curator of academic and public programs; Kayleigh Chalkowski, Ph.D. student, School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences; and Dr. Sarah Zohdy, assistant professor, School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences and College of Veterinary Medicine.

"Planetary health is the health of human civilization and the state of the natural systems on which it depends."

Safeguarding human health in the Anthropocene epoch: report of The Rockefeller Foundation–Lancet Commission on planetary health. "Lancet." 2015.


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