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Category: Arts & Humanities

UW-Madison professor pens haiku collection detailing medical treatment

Wisconsin Public Radio

Ellen Samuels has spent a lot of hours in loud, cramped MRI machines.

She said medical personnel would give her these “little headphones” to play music, but the sound of banging metal coils and vibrating electrical pulses all but muted that music.

So to pass the time, she would craft poems in her head. Without the ability to jot them down, she imagined haiku because the five-seven-five-syllable format was easier to remember.

UW-Madison researchers pour themselves into 40-year History of Cartography Project

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Embedded within a four-decade-long endeavor to document the history of cartography is a deceptively simple question: What is a map?

In a world where most people interact with maps almost daily, pulling them up on their smartphone to effortlessly chart a path through the lattice of streets that lie between Point A and Point B, the map, at first glance, is a tool.

But ask a generations-spanning team of researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison what a map is, and they’ll give you a more complex answer. Maps are more than a flattened rendering of the land around us, said Matthew Edney, a senior scientist at UW and a professor of geography at the University of Southern Maine.

“They’re cultural documents,” he said. “They’re social instruments.”

UW Madison Cartography Lab’s “We Are Here: Local Mapmakers Explore the World That Connects Us” Exhibit


We Are Here: Local Mapmakers Explore the World That Connects Us is an exhibit that was developed by the UW Madison Cartography Lab and currently showing at the Overture Center until January 16th. The exhibit features work from both current students and alumni from their current places of employment and aims to let people know that Madison is a hub and important place of cartography training.

The Artists We Lost in 2021, in Their Words

The New York Times

“When I studied engineering at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, it was the humanities classes that I had put to the side that ultimately started me on this path of thinking about creativity in a much more cultural context — not designing for design’s sake, but connecting design to the rhythm of what’s happening in the world.”— Virgil Abloh, designer, born 1980 (Read the obituary.

31 movies with Wisconsin ties in 2021, from ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ to ‘No Time to Die’

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Noted: “Ghostbusters: Afterlife”: In this franchise reboot, Carrie Coon plays the daughter of OG (original Ghostbuster) Egon. After he dies, Coon, who got her start at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and in Madison-area theater, brings her kids to his rural Oklahoma house and discovers the ghosts are coming back.

“Enemies of the State”: Oscar-winning documentarian and University of Wisconsin-Madison alum Errol Morris is executive producer of this true tale of a family that caught up in intrigue when their hacker son is targeted by the federal government.

The alien beauty and creepy fascination of insect art

Knowable Magazine

Noted: Another striking example is the singing shawls made by the Karen people of Myanmar and northern Thailand, says Jennifer Angus, who teaches textile design at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. These woven garments, so named because they’re worn at funeral ceremonies where mourners sing around the clock for several days, sometimes have a fringe made from the shiny, iridescent elytra, or hard outer wings, of jewel beetles. Angus, who grew up in Canada, had never seen anything like it. “I really had trouble believing that it was real,” she says.

The discovery inspired Angus to start incorporating insects into her own work. Her first installation was at a storefront gallery in Toronto, where she arranged hundreds of weevils into a wallpaper-like pattern on the walls. When people walked up to take a closer look, Angus says, “literally, I saw them take a step back as they realized the wallpaper was composed of insects.” The piece created tension, she says, between what people expect when they see a pattern they associate with domestic spaces and the realization that the pattern is composed of bugs, which most people don’t like to find in their homes.

Do children’s books encourage gender stereotypes?

Daily Mail

Books designed for children may be perpetuating gender stereotypes, a new study warns.

More than 240 books written for children five years old and younger were analysed by a team from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

They found that books with a male main character were more often about professions, whereas those with a female protagonist were about affection.

36 Children’s Books About Diversity to Read to Your Kids

Reader's Digest

Noted: A recent count by Cooperative Children’s Book Center School of Education at the University of Wisconsin–Madison found that “books about white children, talking bears, trucks, monsters, potatoes, etc. represent nearly three-quarters of children’s and young adult books published in 2019.” In other words, vegetables, animals, monsters, and aliens had more visibility in books than brown or black characters.

Viroqua, Hillsboro public libraries awarded grants from the Center for East Asian Studies

La Crosse Tribune

The Center for East Asian Studies (CEAS) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is pleased to announce the winners of the “East Asia in Wisconsin Library Program” competition. Grants have been awarded to public libraries throughout Wisconsin, enriching their collections with new titles that will enable patrons to deepen their understanding of East Asia (which includes China, Japan, and Korea). Over $24,000 in funding will be distributed to 29 libraries, representing 12 of the state’s 14 library systems.

Xela Garcia helps young Milwaukee Latinos see themselves in art, education

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Quoted: Garcia earned her bachelor’s degree in English Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She recalls taking American English classes and only learning about white male authors.

She remembers thinking: “America is more than these old dead white dudes.” She decided to minor in Chicano/Latina studies and American Indian studies, where she saw herself reflected in the stories she learned about.

“It brought me back to that feeling of empowerment, of feeling seen,” she said. “This was something that was me.”

Commemorative plaque on Richard Davis Lane helps to preserve jazz legend’s legacy for generations of Madisonians to come

Madison 365

In 2018, a new street in the Darbo-Worthington Neighborhood on Madison’s east side was created in honor of the legacy of Richard Davis, a Madison jazz legend and Professor Emeritus of Bass at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he taught for nearly four decades. Now, after a fundraising effort throughout the pandemic, Davis’ former student and mentee, Wilder Deitz, has honored the man who inspired him and so many others with a commemorative plaque to accompany the street sign on Richard Davis Lane.

From books to museums, here’s where you can learn about Native peoples in Wisconsin during Native American Heritage Month

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Quoted: What do you know about the Native peoples who have called Wisconsin lands their home for thousands of years?

November is Native American Heritage Month and is a good opportunity to learn about the history, culture and sovereignty of the 11 federally recognized tribes in Wisconsin and the Brothertown Indian Nation, which hopes to regain its federal status.

Most people know little to nothing about Native Americans, said Aaron Bird Bear, director of tribal relations at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“Keeping ourselves ignorant about Indigenous nations, about our shared history and our treaty-based relationships with Indigenous nations is a form of collective amnesia,” Bird Bear said.

“One thing we would hope is that people really think deeply during Native American Heritage Month of how they can interrupt or arrest settler colonialism itself, which is a process by which the vast majority of U.S. society knows little to nothing about the people who’ve lived here for 20,000 years and counting.”

Corporate archives and American history: how not being able to look at Firestone’s papers affected one historian’s writing.


Firms build worlds. On this, historians and businesspeople agree. Corporations have always been among the greatest forces shaping American life. And the many corporations that hold private archives documenting their past activities have unique powers to disclose—or hide—their contributions to racial injustice in America. That’s why, if they truly want to advance the cause of social justice, companies should throw open their archives for researchers to use.

-Gregg Mitman

“The Stories We Tell” a community discussion of the shared history of Black student activism at UW

Madison 365

The Wisconsin Black Student Union (WBSU), the Division of Diversity, Equity, & Educational Achievement (DDEEA), and the Black Cultural Center (BCC) will host “The Stories We Tell: Sharing Black Activism Experiences at UW-Madison” this afternoon, a panel discussion with UW-Madison alumni and current students about their activism during their time as students at the UW.

Deryk G fuses rap, funk, R&B in “Lotus Junky”

Madison 365

Deryk Gonzalez and your friendly neighborhood Deryk G. are one in the same. By day, you might experience Deryk, the soft spoken, well intentioned University of Wisconsin engineering student, who wishes to make his family proud and enjoys his time with friends. But after a quick costume change, the vivacious funk-lionheart known as Deryk G. comes to. It’s a persona that never requires a mask, with an aptitude for animated, romantic story-telling that allows him to live his truth.

5 Things to Do This Weekend

New York Times

Noted: The program, which costs $15 for adults and $10 for ages 2 to 12 (museum admission is included), will also offer a scavenger hunt through the exhibition “Jennifer Angus: Magicicada.” Angus, an artist (and design professor in the School of Human Ecology), has devised decorative scenes and Victorian-like dioramas involving hundreds of preserved insects. Enhanced by historical taxidermy specimens, the show promises some haunting pleasure.

UW Prof. Jordan Ellenberg, “Shape: The Hidden Geometry of Information, Biology, Strategy, Democracy, and Everything Else”


It’s the most wonderful time of the year, time for the Wisconsin Book Festival, 28 events this week alone, both in-person and online, and Stu Levitan welcomes one of the featured presenters, and one of the brightest stars in the firmament that is the University of Wisconsin faculty, Professor Jordan Ellenberg, to discuss his NYTimes best-seller, Shape: The Hidden Geometry of Information, Biology, Strategy, Democracy, and Everything Else.

A World Without Soil


For today’s show, Monday host Patty Peltekos speaks with Jo Handelsman about her new book, A World Without Soil: The Past, Present, and Precarious Future of the Earth Beneath Our Feet.

The Wisconsin Book Festival and the Wisconsin Science Festival are co-presenting a book event with Jo Handelsman this Thursday, October 21 at 6 p.m. in the Discovery Building at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. More information available at the Wisconsin Book Festival website.

Jo Handelsman is the director of the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, a Vilas Research Professor, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor. She previously served as a science advisor to President Barack Obama as the Associate Director for Science at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) from 2014 to 2017. She is the author of A World Without Soil: The Past, Present, and Precarious Future of the Earth Beneath Our Feet (Yale University Press, 2021).

Local theater artist Erica Halverson has ideas for how to save the arts in education

Wisconsin State Journal

Performer, educator and author Erica Halverson has a lot to say about how the arts can be used in schools to transform education in a meaningful way in her book “How The Arts Can Save Education.” Halverson, who also is a professor of curriculum and instruction at UW-Madison, will discuss her book during an in-person event at the Wisconsin Book Festival later this month.

Education Needs the Arts

For her first show as the Tuesday host, Ali Muldrow turns her attention back to the vital need for arts programming in the classroom. Her guest is Erica Halverson, education professor and author of the new book How the Arts Can Save Education.
Erica Halverson is a professor of curriculum & instruction in the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She is the author of a new book, How the Arts Can Save Education: Transforming Teaching, Learning, and Instruction (Teachers College Press, 2021).

Who Is the Bad Art Friend?

New York Times

Larson’s path toward writing was more conventional than Dorland’s. She started earlier, after her first creative-writing class at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

A long-lost silent movie turned up in a storage closet and got its first screening in almost a century. Next stop: Turner Classic Movies

Chicago Tribune

“The First Degree” next screens Oct. 24 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Cinematheque, with live piano accompaniment by David Drazin. The film is scheduled to air on Turner Classic Movies, with the Chicago Film Archives-commissioned score written and performed by Quasar Wut-Wut, sometime before mid-2022.

UW-Madison alum and diverse group bring classical music back to Union Theater

Wisconsin State Journal

The group is preparing for a 7:30 p.m. performance Thursday in Shannon Hall at Memorial Union. It’s the first stop on Sphinx Virtuosi’s national fall tour, and also the first classical music concert with an in-person audience held in the UW-Madison theater since the pandemic halted operations in March 2020. The concert also will be streamed online.

Q&A: Jazz musician Arun Luthra taps into the universal language of rhythm

Capital Times

Luthra is the fall 2021 interdisciplinary artist-in-residence at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Division of the Arts. The program brings visiting artists to campus for a semester, where they teach a class intended for students of different disciplines, artists and not, as well as programming a series of live performances and lectures that the general public can enjoy.

Meet Joshua Richlen, the two-time UW-Madison marching band drum major and Greendale High School alum

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the University of Wisconsin Marching Band took the field before Wisconsin’s season opener against Penn State Sept. 4, it marked the band’s first performance at a home football game in nearly two years.

It also was the first time drum major Joshua Richlen of Greendale got to do his thing at Camp Randall Stadium.

From HBO/Showtime production to UW Health doctor; how witnessing 9/11 changed her life


Dr. Lisa Arkin, the Director of Pediatric Dermatology at UW School of Medicine, says working with children and their families is what she was put on this earth to do. A career she only discovered after the terrorist attacks in NYC on September 11, 2001.At the time of the attacks, Arkin was working as a story editor for HBO and Showtime. But on 9/11, she was called in for jury duty.

New Division of Arts Director Chris Walker, no stranger to UW, puts focus on arts & activism


New University of Wisconsin Division of Arts Director Chris Walker has been at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for many years now. He arrived as a visiting faculty member and worked in the Dance Department, the School of Education and as the founding artistic director of the First Wave Scholarship Program. While reflecting on where he began at UW, he talked about how his journey and work at the UW has come full circle.

New Division of Arts Director Chris Walker, no stranger to UW, puts focus on arts & activism

Madison 365

New University of Wisconsin Division of Arts Director Chris Walker has been at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for many years now. He arrived as a visiting faculty member and worked in the Dance Department, the School of Education and as the founding artistic director of the First Wave Scholarship Program. While reflecting on where he began at UW, he talked about how his journey and work at the UW has come full circle.

New book explores the unique opportunities and challenges facing Hmong American media

One day pre-pandemic, Lori Lopez, a UW-Madison associate professor of media and cultural studies, joined a Hmong teleconference call with more than 1,000 listeners.

The call was not a meeting or presentation, but a live call-in radio program where people could share their stories, listen to conversations or get news about their community.

She said it was a radio station — without being a radio station.

“I was like Hmong people are being really entrepreneurial and coming up with all sorts of really cool media solutions to the fact that they’re such a small community and they can’t really have a traditional media structure,” the director of the Asian American Studies Program told Madison365.

Now, seven years later, she released her book titled “Micro Media Industries: Hmong American Media Innovation in the Diaspora” on Aug. 13.

UW-Madison grad Sara Archambault’s new doc drops at MMoCA

The Capital Times

Sara Archambault is thrilled that the documentary she produced, “Truth or Consequences,” is playing Friday under the stars (weather permitting) as part of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art’s Rooftop Cinema series. And not just because she used to live in Madison as a graduate student in the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Communication Arts department.

The Best Of Experimental Radio: Favorite Pieces From The NPR Archive : NPR


The network featured content from NPR reporters, freelancers and member stations, such as the National Center for Audio Experimentation (NCAE) at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, which shared staff and resources with WHA (Wisconsin Public Radio). The NCAE produced radio dramas and other explorations of sound, including the All Things Considered theme, composed by Don Voegeli.

UW Prof. Jordan Ellenberg, “Shape: The Hidden Geometry Of Information, Biology, Strategy, Democracy And Everything Else.”


Stu Levitan welcomes one of the brightest stars in the firmament that is the University of Wisconsin faculty, Professor Jordan Ellenberg, here to talk about his New York Times best-seller, Shape: The Hidden Geometry of Information, Biology, Strategy, Democracy, and Everything Else.

Q&A: Jazz musician Johannes Wallmann pays tribute to a creature he’s never met

The Capital Times

Johannes Wallmann got the recording of his new jazz album “Elegy For An Undiscovered Species” in just under the wire. The director of jazz studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison brought 14 musicians, including a string section, together in the Hamel Music Center for a week in late February 2020 to record the tracks for the album. Two weeks later, the COVID-19 pandemic shut down everything.

Enwejig Works To Preserve Wisconsin’s Indigenous Languages


For hundreds of years, Wisconsin’s indigenous languages faced suppression and extermination. Concerted efforts to wipe out native tongues played out in a variety of arenas — from schools to government policies.

Enwejig hopes to address some of those past injustices. The group, which formed last year on the UW-Madison campus, works to bring visibility and recognition to Wisconsin’s native languages.

For more on the group’s mission, our producer Jonah Chester spoke with Brian McInnes, an associate professor of civil society and community studies/American Indian studies at UW-Madison.

14 Excerpts from Commencement Speeches Without the Word C*vid

New York Times

André De Shields

Mr. De Shields is an actor, director and choreographer. He was the keynote speaker at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Why is today different from any other day?

Because you are about to use the many years you have prepared to go out into the world and find employment.

But not just any employment. Here is my charge to you: Don’t look for just a job. Look for that horizon that if you do not discover it, it will forever remain a secret. Look for that treasure, that if you do not uncover it, it will forever remain just X marks the spot. Look for that mystery that if you don’t unravel it, it will forever remain a mystery.