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Archive for November, 2010

Franz Bernstein, 2010 NCAA champ in the 20K Nordic skate race

Library archivist Sylvia Bugbee with an original letter by Ethan Allen

Doctoral student Derrick McVicker at work in Professor Chris Berger’s lab

In little more than an hour, separated by little more than a half-mile, I got a glimpse yesterday of an NCAA champion training, a letter from Ethan Allen communicating the capture of Fort Ticonderoga, and cutting edge research related to Alzheimer’s disease. Universe, of course, is at the root of the word university, and it’s no secret that the University of Vermont is an institution made up of many worlds.

Staff in University Communications fanned out across campus yesterday to create a collective picture of this vast diversity of endeavor that takes place, in a sense, under one roof.  “A Day in the Life of UVM” for November 9, 2010, a story that appears in our on-line publication UVM Today, is the result. While we could have done with a little bit of the sunshine that’s out there this afternoon, the day provided all we hoped it would in opportunities to show off the people, places, and work of the university.

Beyond the UVM staff who all pitched in on the story, thanks are also due to current students Holly Rudolph and Bobby Bruderle, who contributed photography, and alumnus Ian Thomas Jansen-Lonnquist, who roamed campus with a Flip camera and the question “What are you doing today?” Finally, kudos to UVM Today editor Amanda Waite for leading the way on the idea and making it happen by pulling a shift of about twenty hours yesterday.

Read the full story here.

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Standing in a line at the Fleming Museum last night to buy my ticket for the debut of PechaKucha in Burlington, I overheard a woman explaining to a friend what they were about to put $5 down to join. “This is a happening, right?”

Happening it was, and PechaKucha was simultaneously happening last evening in Finland, Sweden, and Slovenia. The global gatherings began in Tokyo in 2003. A pair of architects bored by endless presentations created PechaKucha (the Japanese word for chit chat) as a way for creative people to share ideas in a high-speed format.  Each presenter gets 20 slides to show and 20 seconds to talk about each slide. (I’ll do the math for you — that’s 400 seconds to get your point across.) The phenomenon is now in 364 cities worldwide and counting.

One of the PechaKucha by-laws requires just one organizer for each city, and the Fleming Museum is the center of Burlington’s new PechaKucha universe. Fleming staff transformed the Marble Court into a salon last night. Music from Guster and the Talking Heads filled the hall as people mingled before the show and at intermission. A long couch and cafe tables took a place on the floor by the marble sculpture of Penelope, and as the crowd grew and the central staircase was repurposed into bleacher seating, a beer or two might have been set down alongside Sir George’s shield.

A diverse line-up was on the card for volume 1 of Burlington PechaKucha: photographer, architect, artist, art student, guitar-maker, designer, among others stepped up and showed their work. I’d imagined the presentations might somehow have the potential seizure-inducing flash and speed of Japanese animation.  Paris-based artist Pippo Lionni’s amusing, antic delivery and provocative, pictogram-inpired work came the closest to feeling like a Red Bull rush, but mostly seizures were not a worry. Twenty seconds per slide and twenty slides actually seemed like a fine amount of time for each presentation. There wasn’t room for much rambling, but there was also room to communicate and get a conversation started — which is what PechaKucha is all about.

The conversation will continue with PechaKucha Volume 2, scheduled for Thursday, February 10. If you’re interested in presenting, check in with Chris Dissinger at the Fleming. 656-8582 or cdissing@uvm.edu.

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