Dark Sky Retreat 2015

Dark Sky poster image-summer

UPDATE: We’ve decided to reschedule the retreat for July 12 – 16 (with travel on the 12th & 16th). Hopefully the summer schedule will make it easier for more people to attend.

Inspired by UNESCO’s International Year of Light in 2015, the SSRC is initiating programming for the year that deals with the concepts of light, broadly speaking. Programs will touch on light in both literal and abstract ways, engaging scholars from around the University.  As a part of this programming, the SSRC is working with the Headlands International Dark Sky Park in Emmet County, Michigan to host a retreat for DePaul scholars (faculty, staff, and students) to discuss and explore issues of light and darkness from the perspective of a variety of fields. The retreat will begin on the Spring Solstice–a time when light and darkness fill our day equally. Participants will share expertise and ideas, work on projects, and explore light and the darkness preserved at the park.

A select group of faculty members will form the core of the group. Each invited faculty member will offer a short presentation to the group over the course of the week–a talk, performance, lead an activity, etc. At the end of the retreat, the group will offer a public presentation developed over the course of the week at the Dark Sky park. Aside from these short daily events, the time at the retreat will be largely unstructured, leaving participants to make of it what they will.

We are extending an invitation to you to join this group to explore ideas in your field related to light and darkness, whether metaphorically (e.g., transparency in government) or concretely (e.g., light pollution). The retreat will take place from March 19 to the 26th, with the 19th and 26th as travel days. Transportation to and from the park will be provided, as well as food and lodging.

About the Location

The Headlands International Dark Sky Park is one of twenty such parks around the world, designed to meet standards put in place by the International Dark Sky Association. The park is designed to limit the amount of light pollution, preserving a clear view of the night sky. The Headlands is located in northern Michigan, near Mackinaw City, just across from the Upper Peninsula. The park offers programs on astronomy and ecology year-round.

If you are interested in participating in the Dark Sky Retreat, send an email to jspeer3@depaul.edu

Please spread the word to faculty, staff, and students who may be interested in participating!

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Mess Hall: Collaboration at DePaul

How well does DePaul support cross-disciplinary collaboration? While intra-college projects do happen, a model for accommodating partnerships across colleges seems more pipe dream than reality. Moving innovative collaborative projects from the individual “hero-driven” approach to a process supported and valued by the institution was the topic of the May 19 Mess Hall session by Robin Burke of the College of Computing and Digital Media. Within the frame of innovation and supporting collaboration, Robin also discussed CIRSCI, the Collaboratory for Interdisciplinary Research, Scholarship and Curricular Innovation that he and SSRC Director Greg Scott have proposed to DPU administration.

“If you want to work together, you’ve got to be together,” Robin declared. A good starting point, Robin suggested, might be locating informal meeting spaces and federating existing institutes or resources that could facilitate fledgling partnerships. We recorded Robin’s brief presentation, which you can watch here. You can access related documents the links below.

Slides: A Collaboratory to Support Interdisciplinary Projects

CIRSCI Proposal

Faculty Council Resolution: Support for Collaboration

Discussion following the presentation focused on communication and documentation of both new and existing projects. Where can potential collaborators find each other or meet to hatch ideas—temporary pop-up locations and events, perhaps? What examples are underway at DePaul and where can we learn about them—maybe document them through a website? What constitutes an acceptable collaborative end product and how do you demonstrate value?

Let’s continue the discussion and talk about collaboration. What do we need? How do we get there?

Mess Hall: November 8

Writing (Precarious) Lives: Victimhood and its Affirmations in Northern Uganda

Matthew Sebastian
MA Candidate, International Studies
Friday, November 8, 2 – 3 p.m.
990 Fullerton Ave, Suite 3100

Pabbo Memorial IDP Camp and Information Centre
Pabbo Memorial IDP Camp and Information Centre, photo courtesy Matthew Sebastian

Based on fieldwork conducted over the past four years with NGO, state, and community practitioners in northern Uganda, this project examines how the experiences of individuals living amidst violent conflict are narrated, documented, archived, and curated into public sites of memory with the expectation that more peaceful futures will result.

Sebastian invites a conversation about how life histories fit into peace-building schemas and reflection on the implications for ethnographic production and the limits of ethnographic representation when writing about deeply contentious, even violent, histories.

The Kitgum/National Memory Peace and Documentation Centre (K/NMPDC)
The Kitgum/National Memory Peace and Documentation Centre (K/NMPDC), photo courtesy of Matthew Sebastian

Mess Hall is a “brown bag” series (bring your lunch!) that lets DePaul researchers present their works in progress at any stage (mess & all). Mess Hall is a safe, fun, supportive and no-pressure environment for presenters to practice conference presentations, talk through data analysis problems, or untangle conceptual or framework issues. For those not presenting, Mess Hall offers an opportunity to learn what scholars in other departments and fields are working on and to become part of a supportive community of research at DePaul. Faculty, staff, graduate and advanced undergraduate students are welcome to attend.

Mess Hall: October 11

Mess Hall is a “brown bag” series (bring your lunch!) that lets DePaul researchers present their works in progress at any stage (mess & all). Mess Hall is a safe, fun, supportive and no-pressure environment for presenters to practice conference presentations, talk through data analysis problems, or untangle conceptual or framework issues. For those not presenting, Mess Hall offers an opportunity to learn what scholars in other departments and fields are working on and to become part of a supportive community of research at DePaul. Faculty, staff, graduate and advanced undergraduate students are welcome to attend. Please RSVP on Facebook.

This month’s offering:
Transmedia for Students & Emotional Health
Doris C. Rusch (CDM), Anu Rana (CDM), Mona Shattell (CHS)

The Transmedia Project on Students and Emotional Well-Being brings together documentary episodes and experiential games that aim to capture people’s lived experience of personal struggles and inner conflicts. The goal is to raise awareness about emotional health, destigmatize, and build empathy.

We are in the process of developing 4 interactive sequences and webisodes dealing with ADD, OCD, bipolar and eating disorders and collecting written and verbal stories of these experiences from a wide range of individuals.

We have some questions we’d like to open for discussion:
• How can we find a good balance between creating something that is appealing and compelling for a diverse audience of young adults suffering from various afflictions, their friends and families, a generally interested public, and health care practitioners?
• How can we make something aesthetically compelling that communicates to a broad audience, yet remains true to people’s lived experiences?
• What additional applications and research potential should we consider as we design the overall website?

NVivo 10: Upgrade!

NVivo 10 is here, and we’re really excited about its new capabilities for working with content from the web, social media, and Evernote.

This video gives a great overview of the new features in NVivo 10.


Come by the SSRC Lab to try it out for yourself or contact us to schedule a custom training.

Mess Hall: Julie Buchanan

shoes on steps as part of a demonstration for the rights of the disabled
Image (c) Arc of South Carolina

Mess Hall is a “brown bag” series (bring your lunch!) that’s more like a research support group, intended to allow DePaul researchers to present their works in progress at any stage (mess & all). Mess Hall is a safe, fun, supportive and no-pressure environment for presenters to talk through data analysis problems, untangle conceptual or framework issues, or practice conference presentations. For those not presenting, Mess Hall offers an opportunity to learn what scholars in other departments and fields are working on and to become part of a supportive community of research at DePaul. Students are welcome to attend, and we will host one graduate student session per quarter.

WHO: Julie Buchanan, Graduate Student-School of Public Service

WHEN: Friday, August 9, 1 – 2 p.m.

WHERE: SSRC Conference Room, 990 W. Fullerton Ave., Suite 3100

Taking a stand:

How do advocates participate in the policy process?

The disability rights movement, made up of people with disabilities, their families, policymakers, professionals, and academics, has been advocating for decades for the rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live, learn, and work in integrated, community settings where they have access to the same opportunities as their peers without disabilities.  Since the 1970s, public services have, to varying degrees, reflected a shift in ideology away from a segregated, custodial model toward community-integrated services that emphasize self-determination and inclusion.

Integrated employment programs offer people with intellectual and developmental disabilities the opportunity to obtain and maintain jobs with community-based employers where they earn competitive wages and work alongside people without disabilities.  The drastic variations in the provision of integrated employment programs from state to state prompted this exploratory study.  I’m examining disability advocacy movements and policy environments in three states with very different rates of serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in integrated employment programs:  Missouri, New Mexico, and Oklahoma.  I hope to discover what differentiates the advocacy movements in states with relatively high rates of integrated employment participation from those with lower rates.

I’m presenting an overview of my research design and findings to get feedback about theoretical frameworks to consider in interpreting and explaining my findings.  My literature review so far focuses on the policy making process and advocacy movements.  As a newcomer to the research process, I’d also welcome feedback on my methods and analysis.

Mess Hall: Doug Bruce

people eating together
Photo via the Cornell University Library on flickr

Mess Hall is a “brown bag” series (bring your lunch!) intended to allow DePaul researchers to present their works in progress at any stage (mess & all). Mess Hall is a safe, fun, supportive and no-pressure environment for presenters to practice conference presentations, talk through data analysis problems, or untangle conceptual or framework issues. For those not presenting, Mess Hall offers an opportunity to learn what scholars in other departments and fields are working on and to become part of a supportive community of research at DePaul.

Bring your lunch and your brains and support your colleagues’ scholarship.
If you’d like to present at Mess Hall, send an email to Jessica Speer.

WHO: Doug Bruce, Assistant Professor in Health Science and the Master of Public Health Program

WHEN: Friday, July 12, 1 – 2 p.m.

WHERE: SSRC Conference Room, 990 W. Fullerton Ave., Suite 3100

Utilizing Community-based Participatory Research (CBPR) Methods to
Study Resilience among Marginally Housed or Homeless
Young Men who have Sex with Men

Homeless and marginally housed young men who have sex with men (YMSM) face multiple adversities in their lives and exhibit significant health disparities compared to other persons their age, including stably housed lesbian gay and bisexual youth. In order to better understand how this population responds to the adversity in their lives, Bruce and colleagues are preparing to launch a study of resilience among homeless and marginally housed YMSM using community-based participatory research (CBPR) methods.

CBPR actively engages communities in the design, implementation, and analysis of research that is relevant to the lives of communities’ members, in order to develop programming that is not deficit-based but builds upon the strengths and resources present within such communities. The proposed study reflects a participatory collaboration between the Broadway Youth Center (BYC) and the Community Health Research and Evaluation Group (CHREG) at DePaul focusing on innovative methods to assess health among one of BYC’s target populations.

Particular focus in this discussion will be given to human subject considerations in actively engaging research participants in the design and implementation of CBPR as well as analysis and dissemination of findings.