Scholarship and the humanities

College of Liberal Arts hosts Scholarship and Creativity Fair

On May 30, the College of Liberal arts will be holding its inaugural Scholarship and Creativity Fair in the Club level of Reser Stadium, from 5 to 8 p.m. The fair will showcase the rich diversity of faculty research and achievement from each of the college’s six schools. On the docket are exhibits, readings, live performances and discussions, all of which contribute to the breadth of what CLA has to offer. 

“The fair is an unprecedented opportunity to showcase our faculty’s world-changing research and creative activity. I’m confident that anyone who attends will come away understanding why the liberal arts have never mattered more,” said Larry Rodgers, CLA’s Dean. 

The fair is also free and open to students and the public. Refreshments will be served.

Peter Betjamann

Peter Betjemann

Associate professor of English Peter Betjemanna member of CLA’s faculty council and one of the event’s major organizers, talked about why a Scholarship and Creativity fair is a draw for many attendees.

How did the idea for the fair come about?

The CLA Faculty Council talked about it, and everybody agreed that this is the kind of visibility that can really work not to just wave the CLA flag, but to announce the way our work we do connects to the kind of work being done in the university as a whole and by intellectuals and researchers internationally and nationally.

For instance, some of the work Kevin Patton in music is doing with digital laser displays points to how some of what’s being done in art with digital media correlates with what students and faculty are doing in engineering. I would love for engineers to see some of the artistic applications of the kinds of technologies that they think about all the time. o

What does CLA have to offer in terms of research?

The first thing I’d say is that we can offer a really high contextual understanding of certain human problems. For instance, some of the problems that are most familiar to the general public, like climate change, could be understood scientifically. But they could also be understood in rich ways in terms of the history of the problem, the literary representation of the problem, the human and social economics of the problem. It can be understood through what it means for various groups, various sectors of society, for people of a different class or race. It’s how the challenge confronts us all in different ways.

What is especially attractive about the fair is the idea of bringing all the units and schools together to show off what makes our college so interesting as a research center. In the past we might have shown it off in individualized ways. When Joyce Carol Oates came, it showed where we’re at in creative writing. But to be able to showcase all of the research in one forum with a large audience—it isn’t just an opportunistic endeavor, it’s the heart of what makes research in CLA so interesting.

What exhibits are you personally looking forward to seeing?

I’m interested in what seems incredibly different from the kind of research I do as a literature professor. So the psychology stuff for sure, with the brain function exhibit. And then the live performances. We’ll a wide diversity of things in a short period of time. There’s something about the spontaneity that I think will be really exciting.

What do you hope attendees get out of the experience?

My hope is that it’s first and foremost fun. The format we’ve designed. It’ll permit attendees to take in the totality of the research we’re doing in the college in whatever order they want. They can stop in for a live performance, and then go to a book exhibit and dive into that for as long as they want— all set against the backdrop of refreshments. That seems really exciting.

We could hold a series of formal lectures, but I think the appeal is the inherently high-context nature of it, but most compellingly, the fun, interactive part of it.

The second thing is a really comprehensive sense of how such disparate disciplines are housed in the same college. What’s being done in psychology verses what’s being done in economics and creative writing.

These are disciplines talk to each other in a lot of ways, but are methodologically really different.

Who do you hope will attend?

I hope that everyone who attends will be people who are interested in the breadth and scale of what’s happening in CLA, and particularly in learning about these kinds of connections I’ve described. I hope CLA faculty attend, students from across the university, administrators and donors attend. I hope arts administrators and enthusiasts from Corvallis attend.

I think the most exciting thing is the opportunity it offers all attendees of a certain mindset to think about the diversity of projects that are going on, but most particularly how those projects relate to one another in a humanistic sphere.

Is there anything you’d like to add?

Most simply, that as the inaugural CLA research fair, I think we’re on the threshold of a new set of possibilities for conversations both among the schools in our college, but also between our college and the rest of the university. And so this seems to be a signal event in the history of CLA.

~ Celene Carillo









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