Sunday, November 11, 2012

Project update: And here's to the writers!

Fiction, autobiography, and poetry; musings on nation, culture, creativity, art, gender, race, sexuality, language, domestic violence, alcoholism, childhood, recovery, survival, and love; writing, making, creating, and performing as survival, ladder, escape, breath, glue, mortar, framework, and resistance to the mundane; the changing faces and expressions of nicotine, growing up in the postwar Southern US, flying birds reflected in the tops of shiny shoes, and children reading for shelter as a storm draws near ....

This is merely a glimpse of the work and the 10 writers who have have been invited to be part of the Identity Sculptures Project. As the artist who will have the privilege and honor of working with these Vanderbilt writers, I couldn't be more thrilled or excited about the weeks and months ahead. The conversations with the writers have only just begun and I am already moved by the beautiful words, the candor, the bravery, and the willingness to share that I have witnessed.

Myself included, project participants include 4 faculty members, 3 students, and 4 staff members. We hail from the university and the medical center sides, and are 8 women and 3 men strong.

And together, we are moving into the next phase of the project now, as my formal interviews with the writers will start this week and continue through the next few months with the goal of completing all the interviews by the end of 2012.

Stay tuned. I suspect the blogging will pick up now that the in-the-trenches work is beginning.

For now, I simply wanted to post this update. And also to sincerely thank the writers again for their willingness to share the work they have and their willingness to be part of this project. Writers, I only hope to do your words justice as we set off on this creative adventure together!

And once again, many, many thanks to the Curb Creative Campus for making this even possible.

-- lap-d

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Submission Deadline Extended

The submission deadline for the Identity Sculptures Project has been extended through November 30, 2012. Writing will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

Submit now before all the spots fill up!

The full call for submissions is here.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Introducing the Identity Sculptures Project: Week 1

Week 1 of the Identity Sculptures Project has begun and marks the beginnings of the project's first phase: 1) the call for submissions soliciting writing from Vanderbilt faculty, staff, and students and 2) the creation of a web presence for the project. In addition to this blog, the project now has facebook and twitter pages (naturally). Eventually, there will be the official project page where major parts of the project's "product" will live. But that part will happen later, after ideas, words, conversations, and interactions have manifested themselves into forms both written and sculptural. For now, the project's virtual life will be predominantly rooted in this blog, where updates will be posted and then fed to its various satellites (the aforementioned facebook and twitter). 

I plan to use this forum to document the project as it unfolds. I welcome comments and audience participation and hope the blog will open itself up in that way. If there is one word I would use to describe the way I am thinking about the project, it would be "fluid"; much of the joy of being part of a project like this is the opportunity to be open to any and all developments. To say yes more than no and to allow myself (and hopefully the other participants) to dive headfirst (to allow ourselves to be led) without knowing where I (we) might land.

The project is one of this year's Creative Campus Innovation Grants at Vanderbilt University. Funded and supported by the Curb Creative Campus, the project will evolve, develop, and morph throughout the 2012-2013 academic year. I am really excited to be a part of it and to have the opportunity to work with the Curb and my fellow-"Vandyans" as both an artist and Vanderbilt staff member. I can't begin to say enough about how fantastic Curb Creative Campus is to encourage the ideas and visions of the Vanderbilt community. At the risk of sounding sentimental, how wonderful to simply have a place that is committed to the uncommon, the spontaneous, the possibility of unexpected campus moments. What a rarity!

For those of you who don't know what the Curb Creative Campus is about, their website is here. Vanderbilt and Nashville are lucky to have this initiative, which "places creativity and innovation at the center of a 21st-century higher education" making its home in the city.

Stay tuned .... (and, of course, be sure to like the project on facebook:!

-- LAP-D

Monday, August 27, 2012

Call for Writing from Vanderbilt Faculty, Staff, and Students


Call for Submissions: The Identity Sculptures Project

Extended Deadline: November 30, 2012
(accepted on a rolling basis)

The Identity Sculptures Project, a Curb Creative Campus Initiative exploring the relationship between creativity and human identity, invites Vanderbilt faculty, staff, and students to submit poetry, creative prose, and experimental reflections of all styles that respond to the topic: “Creative Identities.”

Selected writers will be part of a unique campus-based sculpture and writing project designed to evoke questions and foster dialogue through language and visual art. Artist Lori Anne Parker-Danley (an editor in the Patient Education department at VUMC), is spearheading the project, which was born out of her interest in the relationship between writing and art and the ways language and storytelling shape (and are shaped by) our bodies and identities. Lori Anne will be creating sculptures that respond to and engage with the writings of the community. One of the goals of the project is to create occasions for unexpected and spontaneous encounters and conversations (with art, writing, and each other) on the Vanderbilt campus.

For selected writers, participation in the Identity Sculptures Project includes: collaborating with the artist by allowing her to interview you about your writing (so she can get to know more about you, your writing, your thoughts about how you would interpret it visually, etc.); giving the artist permission to incorporate your writing into the sculptures she crafts in response to your work and your conversations; and being part of an online writing/art exhibition, which will include the publication of your piece on the web, as well as a video or audio file of you (or someone you choose) reading your work. 

The identity sculptures will be displayed at various locations on Vanderbilt’s University and Medical Center campuses in Spring 2013. Images of the sculptures with the writing will be posted on the web. At the end of the project year, the sculptures will be given to the writers in gratitude for their participation.
Creative Identities

Creative: able to make; to bring into existence; to invest with new form
Identities: the distinguishing qualities, characters, or personalities of an individual

The Identity Sculptures Project, a art and writing project, invites Vanderbilt faculty, staff, and students to submit writing on the theme: “Creative Identities.” The project seeks writing that explores the dynamic, complicated, and nuanced relationships between identity (in every sense of the word) and the myriad ways identities are expressed. Writers are encouraged to interpret the term “Creative Identities” freely—considering what it means to them and how it relates to their lives.

To help you refine your ideas, possible topics include, but are not in any way limited to:

  • The relationship between identities and the ways they are spoken, written, created, shared
  • The relationship between your origins, what and how you create, and why you create at all
  • The ways expression shapes (and is shaped by) the personal, the familial, the social, the political, the national, the global
  • Autobiographical expressions of place, country, travel, location, and all types of relocation (both chosen and forced); The geographical wanderings of selves and bodies and the stories told of these
  • Being human and the necessity of making: What happens when expressions are silenced? What happens when people are given the space to speak, create, and make?
  • Identities of loss, trauma, illness, damage; Creating as a way of remaking the self and the body
  • The possibility or impossibility of translating yourself into words
  • The challenges of writing identity—including self, body, family, community and in terms of common “identifiers,” like race, gender, sexuality, class, nationality, age, occupation, the existence or lack of religious belief, immigration status, education level, bodily ability or “disability,” etc.
  • The relationship between expression and flesh, including how your specific body and its history affects the ways you create; how changes in the body lead to new forms of expression
  • The challenge of expressing multiple (often conflicting) identities; The ways context changes how you express who you are
  • Identity as creative response—to institutions, jobs, expectations, places, other people, the time in which you live
  • Ø  Identity and expression as two sides of the same coin … 

Submission Guidelines:

·       Submit up to 3 poems, short creative fiction or reflective non-fiction pieces (each piece should be no longer than 1,000 words) by October 15 to

·       Submit as a Word Document or PDF attachment. If you submit more than one piece, please combine them into a single document/attachment. Include your name, contact email, and your relationship with the university (student, faculty, or staff) on your submission.

Learn more:

Curb Creative Campus:
Lori Anne Parker-Danley:
The Identity Sculptures Project: