History of Art and Architecture

Gretchen Bender and Mark Collins win Humanities Center Co-Teaching Fellowship

Working with the Humanities Center's AY2025 theme of "Method?," Bender and Collins will be developing a new course, "What to Do? Environmental Crisis and Reparative Artistic Practices." Generations of scientists, writers, artists, and activists have worked to bring about change, only to confront denial and complacency. What can one person do? This course addresses these global issues by focusing on the local (Pittsburgh and the tri-state region) and the personal, and by bridging disciplinary modes too often cast as opposites: science and art. Teaching Professors Bender and Collins will work from their respective disciplines, History of Art and Architecture and Environmental Studies, to focus on strategies for acting -- methods of thinking, observing, listening, making, and doing -- that respond to the particularities of context, the messiness of conflicting needs, and unforeseen and unintended consequences. They will bring scientific method and artistic practice into conversation to expand possibility, unsettle habit, and improve our questions. The course is intended for a launch in the 2025-2026 academic year.