Keynote Speakers

Thursday, November 6

David Howes, Ph.D.

Credit: Roger LeMoyne

Credit: Roger LeMoyne

David Howes is professor of anthropology and the director of the Concordia Centre for Sensory Studies at Concordia University, Montreal. He holds three degrees in anthropology and two degrees in law.  His research focuses on how senses are formed by culture and what the world is like to societies that emphasize touch or hearing rather than sight. Howes has conducted field research on the cultural life of the senses in the Papua New Guinea, Northwestern Argentina, and the Southwestern United States. He recently concluded an anthropological study of the sensory life of things in the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, and embarked on a new media art project entitled Mediations of Sensation in collaboration with colleague Christopher Salter. His latest book is Ways of Sensing: Understanding the Senses in Society (with Constance Classen).

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Magdalene Odundo

International ceramic artist Magdalene Odundo is known for her distinct hand-built anthropomorphic vessel forms. Odundo is an expert in the history of pottery and its meaning to societies through the ages, her own work being inspired by the creations of Nigerian and Kenyan potters of the past. In 2008 she was named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in recognition for her contribution to education and the arts. That same year, she was also the recipient of the African Art Recognition Award from the Detroit Institute of Art. In 2012 she was awarded the African Heritage outstanding achievement in the arts and in 2013 an honorary doctorate from the University of Florida, Gainesville, for her global contribution to education and research in the ceramics arts. Her work is included in national and international public and private collections.

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Friday, November 7

Joseph M. Rosen, M.D

Credit: John Sherman

Credit: John Sherman

Dartmouth Medical School plastic surgeon and professor Joseph Rosen, through his specialty in polytrauma (multiple devastating injuries), examines the role of the face as an essential part of the human identity. His reconstructive work on patients who’ve suffered devastating injuries from bullets, bombs, infection and disease has led him to his role as a defense department consultant on a team evaluating uses for regenerative medicine and transplantation for wounded soldiers. His diverse interests include biomedical engineering, international medical relief work and virtual reality simulators in education.

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Philip Yenawine

Philip Yenawine has been engaged in museum education for thirty years, ten of them spent as director of education at MoMA, NY. He writes about art with a focus on connecting people to it, especially children. He is co-founding director (with cognitive psychologist Abigail Housen) of Visual Understanding in Education, a non-profit educational research organization that develops and studies programs using art to teach thinking and communication skills. In 1993, Yenawine was awarded the National Art Education Association’s Award of Distinguished Service. His most recent book, published in October 2013, is entitled Visual Thinking Strategies: Using Art to Deepen Learning Across School Disciplines.

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Nick Sousanis

Nick Sousanis IVLA TMA

Nick Sousanis received his doctorate in education at Teachers College, Columbia University in 2014, where he wrote and drew his dissertation entirely in comic book form. Titled Unflattening, it argues the importance of visual thinking in teaching and learning. A book version will be published by Harvard University Press in March of 2015. Before coming to New York City, he was immersed in Detroit's thriving arts community, where he co-founded the arts and cultural site thedetroiter.com and became the biographer of legendary Detroit artist Charles McGee. He furthers his advocacy for the medium as a powerful tool for thought in the comics courses he developed and taught at Teachers College and at Parsons in New York City.

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Saturday, November 8

Stephen Apkon

Credit: Lynda Shenkman Curtis

Credit: Lynda Shenkman Curtis

In 1999, following a career in merchant banking, Stephen Apkon founded the Jacob Burns Film Center, with a vision of establishing a hub for independent, foreign and documentary films and education. The JBFC has grown to become a major cultural destination and a national leader in the field of visual literacy. Since 2001, the JBFC’s education programs, which incorporate film programming and production experiences into the curriculum, have reached 120,000 children, more than 50% of them from underserved communities throughout the tri-state area.  More recently, the social entrepreneur is the founder and CEO of Chakana Media, Inc., a newly formed documentary production company that is developing films that focus on critical societal issues. Apkon is the author of The Age of the Image: Redefining Literacy in a World of Screens.

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Lynell Burmark, Ph.D.

Winner of Stanford University’s prestigious Walter Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching, Lynell Burmark is a passionate advocate of using visuals to better educate students of all ages. Burmark’s extensive teaching experience spans kindergarten through graduate school, while her visually enhanced presentations inspire educators across the globe. Her latest book, They Snooze, You Lose, expands on Burmark’s previous work Visual Literacy: Learn to See, See to Learn with new research and more practical applications.

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Aminah Robinson

Photo courtesy of Capital Style, photographed by Will Shilling.

Photo courtesy of Capital Style, photographed by Will Shilling.

Combining traditional art materials with found objects and everyday materials such as buttons, cloth, leather, twigs, shells, and music box workings, Columbus, Ohio, artist Aminah Robinson creates two- and three-dimensional works of art, including books and rag paintings. Many of them are about her family, community and the stories she has been told by her elders. She also researches the lives of abolitionists, civil rights leaders, musicians, and writers and depicts them in her art. Robinson’s art is grounded in her belief in the African concept of Sankofa, learning from the past in order to move forward. She has taken extended journeys to various countries in Africa; New York City; Sapelo Island, Georgia; Israel; and Chile. Her work is in many private collections and in many museums including the Columbus Museum of Art, the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Tacoma Art Museum and the Newark Museum.

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