The very first ARLIS SCIP SIG Newsletter! Say that three times fast...

Stimulating Creativity in Practice

In This Newsletter:


Greetings and welcome to the first SCIP Newsletter! Do you believe that we began our journey only this past January without a name and only a vague sense of what our SIG was about? What started as a suggestion from an attendee at last December’s “Librarianship and Creativity” webinar has now grown into our 36-member active SIG with many worthy accomplishments already under our collective belts.
Pasadena was our first chance to meet in person and show our stuff at the national conference. We had a wonderful first meeting and generated lots of great ideas. We also contributed a lovely basket for the Silent Auction full of handmade artwork, books, and creative supplies that raised a nice sum for future ARLIS/NA student travel awards.
Current projects we are pursuing include a SCIP logo. Thanks to Robert Lobe who has asked one of his former students to come up with a design. This logo will be used for our future newsletters and other online and written communication. For example we may use a the logo on a card to help distinguish SCIP member donations at next year’s annual silent auction. Thank you also to Angela Weaver and Elizabeth Hollenbeck who have volunteered to create an online Member’s art exhibition. More news about the online exhibit will be forthcoming. I am also very happy to announce that we have several members who will be involved in presentations at the 2014 conference which you can read about here in this newsletter.
There are a few things that we are still working on. Lynda Barry was interested in speaking at the 2014 conference, but she is teaching at this time and couldn’t fit us into her schedule. Perhaps we can suggest her or someone else to speak at a future conference. On a technical note, I recently asked TEI to add SCIP to the membership directory form on the ARLIS/NA website. I will keep you posted so you can update your profile when this form is ready.
I’d like to thank everyone who has contributed to our many discussions via email, Facebook and Google+. I also want to give a huge shout out to Leslie Vega for pulling this wonderful newsletter together and to everyone who contributed to it. I am anticipating another creative year ahead for our group. I encourage everyone to keep the conversations flowing. It’s still a ways away, but I am already full of anticipation and excitement about seeing everyone in Washington D.C. next year.
Best Wishes,
Annette Haines
SCIP facilitator
Please contact lvega [at] binghamton [dot] edu if any of this information is incorrect,
you would like to add something, or if you wish to be off this list.

In no particular order:
Krista Ivy                    Marta Chudolinska           Annette Haines                   
UC Riverside                OCAD                                  University of Michigan           

Jill Luedke                Shannon Robinson            Leslie Vega
Art Librarian                Denison University                Visual Arts + Music Librarian
Temple University                                                     Binghamton University

Ellen Petraits            Robert Lobe                       Elizabeth Hollenbeck
RISD                           School of Visual Arts             Graduate Assistant
                                                                                Texas Woman's University

Amanda Meeks         Peter Klubek                      Catherine May
Chicago, Illinois           Baton Rouge CC

Judy Donovan          Prashant Andrade              Amy Trendler
Barnes Foundation     Plymouth, Michigan              Ball State University

Gary Ginther             Leigh Gates                              Kasia Leousis
Ohio University           Director of Library Services         Auburn University
                                   Harrington College of Design
Stephanie Grimm        Shari Salisbury                Megan Christine Lotts
University of Michigan    UTexas at Austin                Rutgers University

Farah Chung                Sam Duncan                    Jenny Grasto
University of Toronto      Amon Carter Museum        NDSU

Katherine Cowan       Deirdre Donohue             Karen Lightner
MICA                             ICP                                     Head, Art & Literature Depts.
                                                                                Free Library of Philadelphia

Skye Lacerte              Julie Yamashita               Marianne Sade
Modern Graphic History Library Curator                 MICA
Washington University in St. Louis

Amgoune Oumraw     Katherine Cowan           Catherine MacArthur Falls
Université Hassan II      Senior Reference Librarian
Mohammedia                Maryland Institute College of Art

Shannon Van Kirk      Elissa Papendick            Chris Mannix
Director                                                                  Public Services Librarian
Blue Mountain Community College                        Columbus College of Art & Design

Jesi Bender               Angela E. Weaver           Sonja Staum
Instructional Design and Web Librarian                 Indiana University
Assistant Professor at Colgate University


Featured Member | Marta Chudolinska   

                                             Cycle, linocut,

To start off, tell us a little bit about yourself and your creative practice.
I am a multidisciplinary artist living in Toronto, Ontario. In my work there is a strong focus on visual narrative, expressed through drawings, prints (mostly linocut), books, zines and comics. Paper and ink are my most commonly used media, though I manipulate them in a variety of ways.
In my printed work I search for images and stories that evoke the most emotional power with the greatest simplification of form. I want to express the essence of a moment or experience and create an opportunity for other people to relate to that core feeling. The stories and images I create are often inspired by personal experience but I aim to abstract and transform that initial seed into something which reflects universal human existence.
To assist and enhance the emotional fervor of an image, I often choose subjects that evoke “peak” (high, intense, deep) emotions, such as interactions between people, between people and nature, and explorations of identity and individual existence. Sometimes I use abstracted, surreal figuration or rhythmic pattern and decoration to create a more vague, but still powerful emotional atmosphere. The surreal alteration and modification of reality in an image leads the mind of the viewer on a quest to rationalize and understand what they are seeing, to create some kind of meaning for the image, thereby becoming (the final) part of the creative process, an author to its varying, changeable story. Communication and connection to others are at the core of my desire to create physical objects
What keeps you motivated?
Ever since I was small I’ve been driven by a deep desire to create things with my hands and I think, more than anything else, that’s what keeps me going. I don’t see my work as a practice or a skill or a hobby, I see it as an integral part of my life. It’s a constant fact of my existence and it’s very hard to imagine my experience of life without the act of creation. Beyond that, I have a lot of ideas and, working as a librarian, never enough time to commit to make them happen so the pressure to use my off-library time wisely is a pretty big motivator. This year I started a drawing night at my house and I have a very small but very dedicated group of artist friends who come over and work on personal projects every Wednesday. It’s great to get feedback and generate ideas for your work and to have a group of people who you feel accountable to to demonstrate progress.
In what ways does your creative practice enhance your work as a librarian?
My position at the OCAD University Library is a very unique and creative one. I run the Learning Zone, an experimental, alternative library space with a mandate to provide a flexible, supportive environment for peer learning and student engagement in academic and creative pursuits. In addition to organizing and facilitating programming for the space, I also manage the Zine Library collection and curate exhibitions. I also get to express myself creatively in the branding and promotion of the space.
And how has your work as a librarian enhanced your creative practice?
Since I work for an Art & Design University, I get to engage with students and faculty about their ideas and research needs in art and design. This means that I am often exposed to new ideas and artists. It also helps just being in an environment where art and design is valued by most of the population. So many artists feel isolated once they complete their training and I’m lucky to be surrounded by creative folk every day. My work as a librarian has also taught me a lot about being organized and managing my time, budget and workflow. Sounds boring, but these are very important skills that most artists don’t get to learn even if they go to school for their craft.
Who or what inspires you?
Just about anything! I am constantly inspired by nature and the world around me; the very existence of life in this universe is really amazing and inspiring! I’m inspired by the people in my life, artists or not, who are so passionate about their lives and what they can offer to the world. I’m really compelled by myth and stories, particularly ones that transcend region and time. I also find lots of inspiration in the work of other artists, past and present, particularly female artists working in drawing, printmaking, bookmaking, installation art and textiles. My favourite contemporary artist is Shary Boyle. She has a multidisciplinary practice and it has been very encouraging to see someone who has a strong voice and expresses their vision successfully without being limited to or expected to produce work in one medium. I’m very much inspired by the work of feminist artists, which often include critiques of society while also exploring the personal. I recently read about a photomontage artist named Anita Steckel in the latest issue of Woman’s Art Journal who sounds amazing. Other artists that have had a strong effect on me are Kiki Smith, Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger, Kathe Kollowitz, Jose Posada, Frida Khalo, Frans Masereel, Eleanor Davis, Lilli Carre, Carson Ellis, Alex Katz and my mentor George Walker. I could probably keep going for a while. It’s so easy to find so many amazing artists online these days. Sometimes it becomes too overwhelming or intimidating so I need to step back, close the computer and rediscover my own inspiration and aesthetic outside of the work of others.
What advice do you have for librarians who are also practicing artists?
Decide how much of yourself you want to dedicate to your art practice and figure out a way of doing it! The biggest challenge of all is balance. I’ve only been working as a librarian for three years so I’m still trying to figure it out. I will often take on too much and have found on many occasions that it’s not possible to have two full-time careers and stay sane! But again, art is a constant in my life so I have had to find ways to adapt it to my library work. I try to consider upcoming projects and opportunities carefully and to choose only those things that mean a lot to me so that I am focusing on what’s important rather than trying to take part in everything available to me. I would also encourage the librarians out there to see how flexible their library job can be. I was able to negotiate a four-day work week after working full time for a year. I’m very lucky that the environment I work in understands and supports creative practice but even for those working in other situations, I encourage you to try. There are so many different schedules that people work in libraries (full-time, part-time, sessional, etc.) that it’s worth seeing what is possible for you.
Thank you Marta!!!


Featured Post | Shannon Robinson

A/r/tography: A Methodology for the Artist Librarian
by Shannon Marie Robinson
Before going back to school for my MLIS, I worked as an artist and professor. My studio practices informed what and how I taught art to college students. Likewise, time in the classroom affected what and how I created in the studio. My simultaneous roles as artist and teacher continuously influenced one another.
In my current position as an art librarian, I use my personal background as an artist, teacher, and librarian to inform the work I do in both my studio and in the library. However, crossing disciplines often makes me feel uncertain of my role in each of the fields. Irit Rogoff refers to this uncertainty that comes with interdisciplinarity as “without.” Without is not about lacking, “but rather an active, daily disassociation in the attempt to clear the ground for something else to emerge” (Phelan and Rogoff 34). A/r/tography embodies without.
An arts-based research method, a/r/tography was developed by Rita Irwin at the University of British Columbia. Arts-based research suggests that the studio practice is a mode of critical inquiry and that the results of that inquiry should be considered valuable contributions to scholarship. In a/r/tography, the focus is on the practitioner. A/r/t stands for artist, researcher, and teacher. The a/r/tographer moves freely between these roles, accepting the uncertainty and risk of interdisciplinarity.
What I find most attractive about a/r/tography is the acceptance of the unknown. In her introduction to A/r/tography: Rendering Self Through Arts-Based Living (edited with Alex de Cosson), Irwin states that the “hyphenated relationships” of the roles of the a/r/tographer may result in internal conflict (30). This is because “individuals attempt to carry the weight of disciplinary traditions and achievements while experimenting” with new methods of researching and presenting scholarship (30). In a 2005 article with Stephanie Springgay and Sylvia Wilson Kind, Irwin proposes six renderings, or “possibilities of engagement” with a/r/tography (899).
Contiguity is about juxtaposition. A/r/tography is a blend of the terms “art” and “graphy,” or writing. Thus, contiguity not only refers to the artist-researcher-teacher relationship but to the connection between art and text. Irwin uses the term text/ual to emphasize the relationship between the text and the visual. A key factor in dualities like these is tension. As much as contiguity is connection it can also be collision. 
Living inquiry is about action. Springgay, Irwin and Wilson call living inquiry “an embodied encounter” and “a living practice” (902, 903). The a/r/tographer does not separate the experience of research with the analysis and presentation of the research. This means there is little distinction between the private and professional self.
Metaphor and metonymy offer a means to make methodology “accessible to the senses” (904). They create ambiguity that results in multiple interpretations. Ambiguity highlights the different perceptions of an idea and generates conversation about those differences, allowing for easier transference of ideas across disciplines.
Openings is about opportunity. Springgay, Irwin and Wilson use the metaphor of fabric to describe openings. Cloth is made of threads woven together with spaces in between. This space is integral to fabric structure; it’s what makes the cloth flexible and strong. However, openings can become holes with frayed edges. A/r/tography views these holes as invitations to engage in conversations with others through “shared participation,” creating opportunities for understanding (906).
Reverberations is about the movement that forms openings. A reverberation is an echo. The a/r/tographer must listen to each of the embodied roles and tune in to repetitions that can inform the shared relationship of those roles. As with contiguity, there is tension. Reverberations can create music or noise.
Excess occurs when the other renderings are manifested. Contiguity creates tension. Living inquiry requires exposure. Metaphor and metonymy challenge clarity. Openings become holes. Reverberations are unsettling. These can be difficult conditions for the practitioner seeking new meanings between the acts of art-making, researching, and teaching, but “excess provides opportunities for complexity and deeper understanding” (908).
In Irwin and de Cosson’s book, Alison Pryer refers to the a/r/tographer as a nomad. She concludes that unlike other wanderers, “only the nomad consciously, and continuously, travels and lives on the margins of a culture, asking always: ‘To whom does the frontier belong?’” (204). Nomads must be adaptable, full of intellectual curiosity and willing to take risks. They force innovation by working on the borders of disciplines. The nomad accepts uncertainty, understanding that ambiguity leads to new and dynamic scholarship. A/r/tography is embodied by the nomad and it should be practiced by the twenty-first century librarian.

For works Cited and Further Reading, visit Shannon's blog.


2014 ARLIS/NA Conference Proposals

Lightning Round Proposal

"Of, By, and For the Artist: The Library as venue for student creativity"
Speakers: Gary Ginther, Judy Donovan, Jamie Lausch Vander Broek, Amanda H. Brown, Megan Lotts and Jill E. Luedke
Moderater: Annette Haines
One of our primary goals as librarians is to stimulate and engage people with our services and collections toward furthering creative and scholarly work. Traditionally we do this through library instruction, exhibits, and hosting events. One of the distinct challenges art librarians face is getting studio artists and designers through our doors. The work of an art history scholar seems more adapted to the scholarly atmosphere of quiet book stacks, but for many reasons the studio artist or designer, particularly the undergraduate student, is less inclined toward engaging with libraries.
One recent phenomena in the library world involves empowering users by giving them opportunities to shape their libraries collections through patron-driven acquisitions. This panel session will explore ways in which art librarians use similar strategies of engagement to empower artists. Lightning round speakers will present the innovative means they have used to interact and connect with studio artists by tapping into their creative nature and empowering them to contribute their energy and unique talents toward transforming library spaces. Librarians are not just opening up the library as exhibition areas, but getting students to engage with the collections and spaces by curating exhibits from library collections, displaying library materials in conjunction with their own art and design, and using their design talents to enliven library environments. Speakers will discuss their experiences working with students, the problems they may have encountered, and ways in which librarians can encourage creative student involvement with the library. Benefits to the library, to the students artists, and to library users in general will be highlighted.

Session Proposal
Maryanne Sade, Shannon Robinson, and Ellen Petraits, "Beyond the Library, Into the Studio and Out again: serving the research needs of the studio artist/designer."

Paper Proposals
Marta Chudolinska, "Supporting Student Agency and Advocacy in the Art & Design Library"

Leslie Vega, "The Lost Archives of Tilly Losch: Collaboration and Guardianship between Special Collections and the Visual Arts Librarian at Binghamton University Libraries"


Logo Update

From Robert Lobe:
A new SCIP logo is in the works. Bob Lobe has arranged for it to be designed by Joanna Kuczek, a recent graduate from the MFA Design program at the School of Visual Arts in New York. While at SVA, Joanna studied with Milton Glaser, Stefan Sagmeister and Steven Heller. You can see examples of her work at   Stay tuned!


Meeting Notes from Pasadena

Stimulating Creativity in Practice (SCIP) SIG Meeting Minutes

ARLIS/NA Annual Conference 2013, Pasadena, CA

Friday April 26, 2013 4:45pm - 5:45pm

Ballroom A (shared)

In attendance: Deirdre Donohue, Robert Lobe, Lanice Lurie, Leigh Gates, Shari Salisbury, Julie Yamashita, Skye Lacerte, Leslie Vega, Judy Donovan, Sonja Staum, Annette Haines

  • Welcome and introductions

    • The meeting convened at approximately 4:50 p.m. by Annette Haines who thanked members for attending. Attendees introduced themselves and told the group why they were interested in the SCIP SIG.


  • Review of SCIP SIG Description

    • We postponed reviewing the SCIP SIG description as Annette could not bring up the text on her computer.


  • Do we want/need a logo? Volunteers?

    • Judy Donovan reiterated the reasons why she thought a logo or some type of visual identification would be useful for the group. Robert Lobe agreed to find a student to come up with ideas for a logo.


  • Sharing ideas - We have the email list and a Facebook page. How can we encourage more idea sharing?

  • Many ideas were discussed including

    • Using Google+ instead of Facebook so we could use the Google Hangouts feature and it would be more separated from our personal Facebook community. Annette Haines has set up a Google+ page for the group and will invite everyone that is currently in the email list.

    • Using Mail Chimp to create a monthly newsletter. Leslie Vega agreed to look into this.

    • Create a fun member questionnaire/form for people to fill out as a way to get to know each other with questions like why are you interested in the SCIP SIG, favorite quotes, books, etc. This could be posted on Google+. Annette Haines will try to come up with something to float and see how it goes.

    • It was mentioned that we do not want to spread ourselves too thin with too many avenues for communication.

  • Plan for member art exhibition for ARLIS/NA 2014

  • Everyone seemed enthusiastic about hosting a member art exhibition at the 2014 conference. There was some discussion of previous member exhibitions. All agreed that it would be best if we could have the exhibition in a venue where other ARLIS/NA activities would take place such as the opening reception or during a gallery visit. Annette Haines will contact the local arrangements co-chairs for the Washington D.C. conference and see how we should pitch the idea (whether as a program proposal or something else).

  • Plan for workshop or presentation for ARLIS/NA 2014

  • We talked about proposing a panel for the 2014 conference. Some possible topics included:

    • Ideas to help generate student interest in libraries (e.g. zines, meditation, etc.) - Judy Donovan presented for Jill Luedeke (who couldn’t be at the meeting.

    • Ways to use art students to bring creativity into the library - Skye Lacerte.

    • Library as incubator, outreach and tapping into local communities - Robert Lobe.

    • We thought we should extend this discussion further with the rest of the group on the email list.

  • Annette Haines will contact Lynda Barry and see if she would be willing to either speak or do a workshop on creativity and what her fees would be. For more information about Lynda Barry see this article in the New York Times:

  • Long-range goals - brainstorming

  • Wanted to make it clear that this group is not limited to people interested in the visual arts, but also writing, improvisation, music and all other forms of creative work.

  • Meeting adjourned at approximately 5:45 p.m.