Art + Scholarship:  Theory-Practice Collaboratory

Borghesi-Mellon Interdisciplinary Workshop at UW-Madison Center for the Humanities

The Art + Scholarship Borghesi-Mellon Interdisciplinary Workshop is committed to investigating, inventing, and paying attention to unexpected possibilities in the praxis of scholarly research and artistic production. At the heart of our intellectual inquiry is creative experimentation and serious play. When and how is knowledge-production a creative act? How can art theorize? What intersections do we notice between creative writing and scholarly writing? Inspired by artist-scholars such as Anne Carson, Ann Hamilton, Fred Moten, Adrian Piper, and Avital Ronell, we are captivated by the conceptual and aesthetic force of such hybrid forms as autoethnography, photo essays, artist books, experimental theory, montage, and conceptual art.* Facilitating conversations between performative scholarship, artistic research, new media, and visual studies, Art + Scholarship engages a richly interdisciplinary nexus of questions, practices, and possibilities for unsettling generic and medium-specific boundaries.

During the 2014-2015 academic year we launched our “Theory-Practice Collaboratory” programming, a series of carefully curated participatory, exploratory symposia. Each Theory-Practice Collaboratory creates a conceptual framework for two hands-on models of exciting, boundary-pushing work happening across campus. Drawing upon the talents and expertise of Art + Scholarship workshop participants, the series catalyzes intellectual and creative exchange within and across the arts and humanities. Collaboratories provide opportunities to engage in collective exploration of playful, creative scholarship through such practices as performance-making, sensory awareness, digital remediation, public discourse, and relational aesthetics. Our workshop leaders and participants collaboratively produce new conceptual and aesthetic possibilities, acknowledging disciplinary constraints and expectations while exploring ways that our research might take on new shapes, reveal assumptions, and prompt unexpected questions.

All of our programming is free and open to the public, and we have partnered with The Bubbler at Madison Public Library, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Madison Performance Philosophy Collective to reach audiences beyond campus boundaries. We have also co-sponsored two open call symposia, MAD THEORY and MAD THEORY 2, which provided workshop participants and the Madison community at large with a dynamic time and space to explore performative scholarship, artistic research, and critical-creative collaboration.

Art + Scholarship’s regular participants include faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students from Art, Art History, Cartography Lab, Chemistry, Communication Arts, Comparative Literature, Creative Writing, Curriculum & Instruction, Design Studies, DesignLab, Engineering, English, French & Italian, Gender and Women’s Studies, Geography, LGBT Campus Center, Library & Information Studies, Philosophy, Public Affairs, Slavic Studies, Spanish & Portuguese, Theatre, Visual Cultures, and Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, as well as local artists, scholars, librarians, and educators.

In its first two years of funding, the Art + Scholarship A.W. Mellon Workshop was generously supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. In its third year of funding, the Art + Scholarship Borghesi-Mellon Workshop was generously supported by Nancy and David Borghesi and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Explore a narrative archive of the practices we have engaged with, the experiments we have conducted, and the knowledge we have produced on our blog, and view photo documentation in our Facebook albums.

*View a selection of texts and objects that operate at the interstices of art and scholarship here.

2015-2016 Coordinators:
Jill H. Casid (Professor, Art History)
Jon McKenzie (Professor, English)
Andrew Salyer (PhD Student, Art Theory and Practice)
Katie Schaag (PhD Student, English)

2014-2015 Coordinators:  Jill H. Casid (Art History), Jon McKenzie (English), Andrew Salyer (Art Theory and Practice), Katie Schaag (English)

2013-2014 Coordinators:  River Bullock (Art History), Jill H. Casid (Professor of Visual Studies, Art History), Lauren Hawley (English), Kat Lieder (Theatre and Drama and Southeast Asian Studies), Sylvie Rosenthal (Art), Andrew Salyer (Interdisciplinary: Art/Art History/Theatre), Katie Schaag (English), Anna Vitale (English)

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