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Delta Chair’s high school visit featured in Washington Post

The visit by 2017 Delta Chair for Global Understanding Colm Tóibín to Clarke Central High School was featured in the Washington Post on March 23. Athens public education advocate Bertis Downs, a member of the Willson Center Board of Friends, wrote a guest post on Valerie Strauss’s Answer Sheet blog highlighting Tóibín’s conversation with CCHS students, part of his three days of events as Delta Chair.

Call for Proposals: Whiting Public Engagement Fellowship for 2018-19

The Whiting Public Engagement Fellowship is designed for nominees whose proposed project and professional expertise are both squarely in the humanities. The proposed project should engage a specific public beyond the academy in the humanities and the nominee should play a significant leadership role in the project.

Panel on “Food, Culture, and Community” brings top chefs for Global Georgia

Seed Life Skills is a nonprofit, research-based curriculum founded by Chef Hugh Acheson that is dedicated to providing young people with essential knowledge and skills in family and consumer sciences. Acheson and Almeta Tulloss, executive director of the Athens-based organization, have partnered with the Willson Center to produce a symposium on “Food, Culture, and Community” on Feb. 22, the first in what is planned to be a series of annual collaborations for the Willson Center’s Global Georgia Initiative.

The symposium’s main event is a 4 p.m. panel discussion in the UGA Chapel that will bring together a handful of world-renowned figures in culinary and food policy circles. Joining Tulloss on the panel will be Chef Tom Collicchio, author, restaurateur, and head judge on the Bravo TV series “Top Chef”; Helen Rosner, executive editor of the online food culture magazine Eater; Rashid Nuri, president and CEO of the Atlanta-based Truly Eating Well Center for Natural Urban Agriculture; and Chef Michel Nischan, author, food equity advocate, and founder and CEO of the nonprofit organization Wholesome Wave.

Acheson will serve as the panel’s moderator and Chuck Reece, editor in chief of the online magazine The Bitter Southerner, will give opening remarks before the discussion.

The symposium will also include a cooking competition for high school students at Athens Community Career Academy, with some of the visiting panelists as judges, at 11:30 a.m., and a 7 p.m. dinner to benefit Seed Life Skills hosted by Acheson’s Five & Ten restaurant in partnership with Creature Comforts Brewing and the Willson Center. Tickets to the dinner have sold out and attendance at the cooking contest is limited. To inquire about attending the contest, email the Willson Center at

A related event will be held Feb. 23 in partnership with the department of history and Dirty History, an interdisciplinary workshop in agriculture, environment, and capitalism. Marcia Chatelain, associate professor of history at Georgetown University, will speak on “Burgers in the Age of Black Capitalism: How Civil Rights and Fast Food Changed America After 1968” at 5 p.m. in Room 101 of LeConte Hall.

“Seed Life Skills works to provide teachers and students with resources to enhance science learning, practice functional finance skills, and we provide hands-on support to classrooms through community collaborations – all as a means to advocate for the profession of Family and Consumer Sciences,” Tulloss said. “We believe every student in America should have the opportunity to learn these essential skills in a fun, practical, and impactful way.”

Acheson has participated in the Willson Center’s Global Georgia Initiative once before, hosting a conversation with Southern Foodways Alliance Director John T. Edge in 2015. “The Willson Center has been such an amazing champion for so many great things in Athens, so to have Seed Life Skills invited to partner with them for this symposium is really exciting for us,” Acheson said.

Regarding the panel discussion, he added, “Gathering a group like this, a motley crew of wonderfully talented and brilliant minds of food policy… I am interested in whittling down to what concise action can be taken to improve the food sphere for everyone in this country.”

The symposium is presented in partnership with Five & Ten, Creature Comforts Brewing, The Bitter Southerner, the Clarke County School District, Family Connection-Communities in Schools, the University of Georgia Press, the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, and the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Institute.

The Willson Center’s Global Georgia Initiative presents global problems in local context with a focus on how the arts and humanities can intervene. The series is made possible by the support of private individuals and the Willson Center Board of Friends.

Global Georgia Initiative kicks off with big crowds

The Willson Center has announced its schedule of events for the 2017 Global Georgia Initiative, an annual speaker and events series that presents global problems in local context with a focus on how the arts and humanities can intervene.

English Professor Sujata Iyengar receives Partner University Fund grant

Sujata Iyengar, professor of EnglishFACE/PUF logo at UGA, and Professor Nathalie Vienne-Guerrin of the Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3 (UPVM) have earned a grant from the French American Cultural Exchange (FACE) Foundation through the Partner University Fund (administered through the French Embassy) to subsidize a series of conference-festivals, symposia, and workshops, “Scene-Stealing/Ravir la scène.”

The three-year cost-sharing grant will encourage knowledge-exchange and collaboration among faculty and PhD students at UGA and UPVM. Supported events will include the conference-festival “Balcony Scenes/Scènes de Balcon” at UPVM in November 2016; the symposium “Bedchamber Scenes/Scènes de lit” at UGA in April 2017; and workshops and a conference-festival on “Scenes in the Other’s Language/Scènes dans la langue de l’autre” at both UPVM and UGA in April 2017, November 2018, and April 2019. Selected proceedings will be eligible for peer-review and publication in the open-access, online, multimedia journal Scene Focus/Arrêt sur Scène.

“Scene-stealing/Ravir la Scène” builds on existing strengths at both institutions: the study of English and French Renaissance and Enlightenment Drama through UPVM’s project “Scene Focus/Arrêt sur Scène” (funded by France’s IRCL), and of Shakespearean adaptation, particularly through the UGA-faculty-founded and run online scholarly periodical Borrowers and Lenders: The Journal of Shakespeare and Appropriation. The grant also funds faculty at both partner institutions to collaborate and develop a set of online open-access graduate modules, with the goal of broadening and internationalizing graduate curricula.

The fund’s external peer-reviewers, from France and the United States, commented that the project leaders, “accomplished and productive scholars and senior members of their faculty[,]… have worked extensively and successfully in the area of the proposed project,” and they further praised the project’s “academic goals (contribution to our knowledge and understanding of theatrical history and theatrical practice), the cross-cultural opportunities it will provide to its participants and… its efforts to engage members of each local community in its work.” They added, “[T]he cross cultural dimension of the project might very well provide a model for scholars in such other academic disciplines as history and art to explore how culture affects interpretation.”

UGA announces membership in a2ru

The University of Georgia has joined the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities, known as a2ru, a consortium of almost three dozen research-intensive universities committed to advancing interdisciplinary, arts-oriented research.

The Willson Center has initiated a new faculty research cluster that will serve as UGA’s point of connection to a2ru. Along with the Willson Center, the university’s membership is sponsored by the Office of the Provost, the Arts Council, the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, the Lamar Dodd School of Art and the Office of the Vice President for Research.

Arts Council Chair and Vice Provost Russell Mumper said that “the mission of the council is to foster an awareness and appreciation of the arts and to create an environment conducive to artistic innovation. The council seeks to involve all students in the arts as part of their educational experience, and to foster mutual and beneficial collaboration among campus units to integrate the arts into the fabric of the university. Therefore, joining a2ru is an important milestone for UGA and the council.”

“The University of Georgia’s growing faculty interest in arts research and interdisciplinary ventures aligns perfectly with a2ru’s core mission,” said Laurie Baefsky, executive director of a2ru. “The Willson Center’s broad programming within the arts and humanities will add much to a2ru’s expanding network and influence. I look forward to UGA’s participation and contributions as a2ru’s 35th partner.” UGA will participate in a2ru’s national conference Nov. 3-5 at the University of Colorado, Denver.

Joining the consortium is an important symbol of UGA’s commitment to art’s inclusion in interdisciplinary research and teaching, and it aligns UGA with other institutions that share this forward-thinking philosophy, said Chris Garvin, director of the art school. “Membership in a2ru allows UGA to join with other research universities who want to position the arts at the heart of academic life, treating them as a significant means of inquiry, integral to problem-solving and the production of knowledge.”

The faculty research cluster will be directed by Isabelle Loring Wallace, associate director of research and graduate studies at the art school and Willson Center associate academic director for arts and a2ru.

“The University of Georgia is deeply committed to arts-oriented research,” said Wallace, an associate professor of art history. “Through existing, interdisciplinary, campus-wide initiatives, it affirms the many intellectual benefits of art’s integration and asserts its indispensability for the production of advanced research. Membership in a2ru and the Willson Center’s new research cluster are further evidence of these priorities.”

The research cluster is accepting grant proposals from full-time, research-budgeted faculty. Projects may be creative or scholarly in form, and they may be disciplinary or interdisciplinary in scope. More information including instructions for applications is available here.

To learn more about the national a2ru organization, visit

NSF grant will help further research supported by Kretzschmar’s DIGI cluster

A digital humanities project to identify variations in Southern speech over time and space will be aided by a grant from the National Science Foundation. William A. Kretzschmar, Harry and Jane Willson Professor in the Humanities (department of English) and the project’s principal investigator, directs the Complex Systems and the Humanities research cluster, part of the Digital Humanities Initiative (DIGI) of the Willson Center, the UGA Libraries, and the UGA Press. Much of the current research will be presented on the website of Kretzschmar’s Linguistic Atlas Project, also affiliated with DIGI and the Willson Center DigiLab.