Schuylkill Corps River Research Seminar
- Paul M. Farber, PhD, Managing Director, Penn Program in Environmental Humanities
- Joanne Douglas, Schuylkill River & Urban Waters Research Corps Coordinator, Environmental Educator Glen Foerd on the Delaware
- Coryn Wolk, Environmental Researcher/Writer, EDGE Philly and Physicians for Social Responsibility Philadelphia
Paul M. Farber, PhD, Managing Director, Penn Program in Environmental Humanities
"'As Long as the Creeks and Rivers Flow'": Monument Lab, Historical Memory, and Civic Landscapes in Philadelphia
What is an appropriate monument for the current city of Philadelphia? To reflect on this line of inquiry, Monument Lab – a team of scholars, artists, students, and researchers – staged a two-month citywide exhibition in Philadelphia this fall with Mural Arts Philadelphia. Situated in the midst of a massive public reckoning with monuments sweeping the U.S., Monument Lab’s curatorial team sought to "change the ways we write the history of our city together." Over 200,000 Philadelphians and visitors engaged with the project at twenty prototype monuments imagined by leading contemporary artists; ten adjacent learning labs in public squares and neighborhood parks throughout the city; and interactions with students at the labs, including those whose participation as researchers were a part of a Fine Arts "civic studio" course at Penn which merged work at the labs with engaged humanities methods and public art practices.
In conversation with the Schuyllkill Corps research seminar, Monument Lab co-founder and PPEH Managing Director Paul Farber routes the exhibition's curatorial motivations and implications through the concept of "river monumentality," revisiting the ways Philadelphia’s foundational historical identity is mapped, managed, and reflexively revisited over time around living memory at and of its waterways. In his talk, Farber will examine several prototype monuments from the recent exhibition (including those by artists Tania Bruguera, Duane Linklater, Michelle Angela Ortiz, Klip Collective, and RAIR – Recycled Artist in Residency) and highlight river-minded examples of the public research proposals, to explore how they each respond and extend the existing monumental landscapes of the city.
Joanne Douglas, Schuylkill River & Urban Waters Research Corps Coordinator, Environmental Educator Glen Foerd on the Delaware
Schuylkill Corps: Tools for Outreach, Collaboration and Power Shifting in Environmental Humanities
As Coordinator of the Schuylkill River & Urban Research Corps, Joanne has been working with the Corps to develop the River Archive, an interactive and growing public archive of citizen science and public humanities projects. Joanne will demo the archive by highlighting current and upcoming tours, partnerships and collaborations in context with the Seminar. The River Archive hopes to serve as a tool for interdisciplinary connection and Joanne’s talk hopes to explore how the archive and other methods can be used for institutions to reach outward to include and amplify community voices in research around the river.
Coryn Wolk, Environmental Researcher/Writer, EDGE Philly and Physicians for Social Responsibility Philadelphia
Legal Trespass: Exploring the PES Refinery from the Lower Schuylkill River
Despite the PES refinery's visibility from local bridges, streets, and flight paths, a variety of literal and figurative barriers prevent most Philadelphia residents from seeing and understanding its operations. The public waterways of the Lower Schuylkill River enable a nearly unparalleled access to the sights, sounds, and smells of the refinery and nearby infrastructure. EDGE Philly, Bartram's Garden, and Sierra Club have collaborated to present this infrastructure to residents through kayak tours. Coryn will discuss some content and observations from the tours, as well as PES and law enforcement's responses to this unpreventable, legal use of the River to access these sites.
Complimentary Lunch is Provided.
Founded in April 2016, the Schuylkill River and Urban Waters Corps is an informal collective of academic, non-profit, civic and community organizations. Based in Philadelphia, we are devoted to exploring and stewarding urban waters past and present. The Corps is currently fostering collaborations in other cities in the U.S., including Mumbai and New York, and we are building a digital archive for our members' varied work: contributing, collecting, and curating oral histories; developing a variety of tours, both on-line and in-person; measuring air and water quality; and designing and building an array of citizen science and public humanities projects to discover and document the waters--and invite considerations of how they will exist in the future.