We are excited to announce that MACS graduate student Jenna Winton ’17 has received the Graduate-level Julia Rogers Research Prize for her paper entitled “The Impact of the ‘Vanishing’ Image on Indigenous Communities,” written for Introduction to Cultural Sustainability. Continue reading »
By M.A. in Cultural Sustainability Director Amy Skillman
The MACS program is excited to announce that author and activist Arlene Goldbard will serve as the 2016 Final Judge for the Rory Turner Prize in Cultural Sustainability. Arlene Goldbard is a writer, speaker, consultant and cultural activist whose focus is the intersection of culture, politics and spirituality. Find her blog, talks, and writings at www.arlenegoldbard.com. Continue reading »
Once again the M.A. program in Cultural Sustainability has received an anonymous donation to support the MACS Travel Stipend, and just in time. We recently approved the last application for this year’s pool, bringing the number of students and alumni who were able to take advantage of a range of professional development experiences during the 2015-16 academic year to six.
Here are the award recipients from this past year:
Dalen Butler ’14 used the funds to attend the Gypsy Lore Society conference in Moldova. This is the premier international academic organization for anyone interested in Romani studies. He presented a portion of his Capstone Thesis on the International Decade of Roma Inclusion. Among others, he met a faculty member there who teaches in a PhD program at the University of Michigan; he has subsequently been accepted into that program.
Heather Gerhart ’16 attended the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association in Denver where she participated in two assessment skills building workshops on social network analysis and mixed-method evaluation – both will be essential to her Capstone research on digital storytelling.
Shannon Smith ’15 attended the annual meeting of the Small Museums Association in Ocean City, MD where she co-presented a session with MACS faculty member Robert Forloney on Innovating with Tradition: Engaging Communities Through Festivals, Exhibits, and Programs. She also made great professional connections to organizations in the mid-Atlantic area, where she moved in the fall to pursue career opportunities.
Michelle Banks ’13 was invited to present her emergent dissertation research for her PhD in Sustainability Education at the EcoJustice & Education Conference in Yipsilanti, MI. Her presentation, Reviving the Y’uuq K’ixkab’: Violence, Sustainability & the Mayan Poqomchi’es, builds on work she began in Guatemala in 2003 and continued during her studies in the MACS program.
Marilee Gloe ’16 will be using her travel stipend to return to Grenada for her Capstone research to evaluate trainings she conducted in 2013 and 2015. Her research will determine if those trainings resulted in changes in knowledge, fishing practices, and local policies related to sustainable aqua-culture.
Carol Brooks ’16 will be attending the “Future of the African American Past” at the National Museum of African American Culture and History in Washington, D.C. This event directly relates to her Capstone research and professional pursuits to capture and document the voices and stories of elders in the African-American community, and to create opportunities for interactive intergenerational dialogue to promote healing and restore African-American heritage.
I hope you agree this is a pretty powerful group of experiences. In each case, our students and alumni have made a significant contribution to the continued conversations around cultural sustainability and cultural equity.
We look forward to seeing what our students will be able to achieve next year!
Written by Shannon M. Smith
The best graduate program experience does not end upon graduation. The role of a good graduate program is to deepen your professional work and strengthen your professional networks. While other factors certainly have contributed, the growing relationships with faculty were a significant factor in my recent decision to permanently relocate to the Baltimore area from Nashville, TN–after graduation. Suddenly, it seemed the obvious next move as my most promising invitations to collaborate and move my existing work forward in tangible ways were coming out of my M.A. in Cultural Sustainability association.
Just as I was wondering exactly where I was going to redirect all the energy, thinking, and research resulting from my capstone work, one of my Graduate Committee faculty members, Robert Forloney, asked if I would like to present with him at the 2016 Small Museums Association Conference… Continue reading »
Rory Turner and 2015 Rory Turner Prize in Cultural Sustainability recipient Heidi Thomas.
The recipient of the 2015 Rory Turner Prize in Cultural Sustainability is Heidi Thomas for her Capstone entitled Urban Agriculture & the Co-Development of Environment, Culture, & Community.
Three finalists were selected and forwarded to Jon Hawkes, one of Australia’s leading commentators on cultural policy and author of the groundbreaking “Fourth Pillar of Sustainability.”
In his assessment, Hawkes wrote: Continue reading »
I am really excited to announce confirmation of Marga Fripp as a guest speaker during the upcoming residency. She will share her
inspiring story about empowering women through the arts and promoting social justice in Romania and in Maryland. Read on to learn more.
Marga Fripp, the Founder and President of Empowered Women International, is an award-winning social entrepreneur and international consultant in women’s leadership and empowerment. With over 20 years of experience in solving social problems through the arts, innovation and entrepreneurship, Marga is passionate about empowering women to pursue their dreams. She has worked with thousands of women in the US and internationally to start or grow their micro-businesses. A former journalist and a native of Romania, Marga produced programs that focused on women’s equality, human rights and integration solutions for orphans and street children during the difficult first years of Romania’s transition from communism. She was banned from broadcasting in Romania in 1996 due to her critical portrayal of social policy of the post-communist Iliescu government.
This TEDx talk says it all – Finding Purpose.
In 1998, at the age of 23, Marga founded and developed a successful women’s service and advocacy organization – The Association for the Promotion of Women in Romania (APoWeR) – to counteract violence against women and provide economic opportunities for women in Romania. As part of her strategy of development, Marga formed and led a multidisciplinary team of lawyers, judges and prosecutors to draft a domestic violence bill (2001). She then mobilized citizens, politicians and non-profit activists to advocate for it. In 2000, Marga also produced and hosted a TV talk show to address women’s human rights in Romania. The talk show’s popular debate format for discussions of discriminatory practices towards women, combined with APoWeR’s three years of legislative advocacy efforts, led to a national Domestic Violence Bill signed into law by the Romanian Parliament in May 2003.
With her American husband, Marga left her life in Romania behind in 2001 to bring their newborn son to the US for treatment after suffering a brain stroke two days after he was born. It was during this most stressful time in her life, as she struggled to find her own way in the US, learn the language, care for her baby and eight year old daughter, and with a husband whose work frequently took him out of the country, that Marga began to find other immigrant women with the same struggles with belonging and integration. Hearing their stories and similar plight, Marga began to envision a community of women for women, who could help one another succeed and support each other; where others can hear and see their culturally rich and vibrant stories. Read Marga’s Story here.
In May 2002, Marga created Empowered Women International (EWI) to give voice and create entrepreneurial opportunities for immigrant, refugee and other marginalized women. Over the past decade, Marga’s effective and passionate leadership turned EWI from a volunteer-run program to an award-winning organization with more than 3,500 supporters, over 3,000 women beneficiaries, and more than 1 million dollars generated in donated services. Marga has completed a graduate certification in Business Administration at the Open University, U.K., and holds a BA in Communication/Journalism from the University of Maryland University College. She is married to Jesse Fripp, a former Peace Corps volunteer in Romania and currently an executive with ShoreBank International Ltd. They have two children and live in Bowie, Maryland.
Marga will speak to the Welch Center community on Thursday, January 15th at 7:00 PM. Be inspired by Marga’s passionate talk on what sparked her imagination and vision for Empowered Women International and what drives her purpose for social change.
The recipient of the first Rory Turner Prize in Cultural Sustainability is Michele Anderson for Imaginative Fields: A Companion to Action. According to the prize committee, this Capstone is, “A remarkable work that illuminates creative place-making, personal health and community transition, along with the tension between art and economic development in one rural town… It is a landmark work in cultural sustainability studies, masterfully written and structured, employing creative nonfiction and public narrative filtered through a solid academic foundation of cultural sustainability leadership theory. Imaginative Fields incisively explores how personal and family experience shaped Michele’s involvement to repurpose Kirkbride, a historic abandoned mental hospital in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, as a community arts center. It chronicles the distinctive characteristics and promise of rural arts, eloquently making the case that rural arts offer ‘wild possibilities’ for experimentation with artistic creation and community engagement. Cultural workers engaged in community art mobilization will be inspired by this work.”
Her project recently won a major ArtPlace America grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
The prize is named in honor of Dr. Rory Turner, Goucher faculty and founder of the Master of Arts program in Cultural Sustainability. Dr. Turner is nationally known for his innovative work with creative expression in cultural contexts. His legacy has fostered a professional graduate program that engages students in critical reflection and promotes community vitality and social justice.
The award recognizes leadership and vision demonstrated through a student’s final capstone work. The award is granted on the basis of the quality of the research, professional application of the findings, and the writing, as well as courage, integrity and creativity in their work. The award will be given annually to a graduate of the MACS program whose Capstone best exemplifies the ideas and principals of the program and of Dr. Turner’s work.
Prize Committee Members
- Harold Anderson – MACS Faculty
- Judy Cohen – MACS Alumnae
- Amy Skillman – MACS Director
- Robert Leopold – Director of the Consortium for World Cultures, Smithsonian Institution (now Deputy Director for the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage)
Photo of Michele and Rory at 2014 Commencement ceremony
Curious about the MACS program? Join an upcoming virtual info sessions for prospective MACS students!
The MA in Cultural Sustainability program at Goucher College has announced its upcoming virtual information sessions for prospective students.
The limited-residency MACS program empowers today’s changemakers with the tools to support, advocate for, and lead during these complex and challenging times. Whether your passion is for protecting and enriching communities or developing innovative solutions to address our most pressing social and environmental issues, this may be the program for you.
You are invited to learn more about this innovative degree program by attending a virtual information session.
Virtual Information Sessions via Skype
(Connect to us at: cultureatgoucher)
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
3:00 – 4:00 p.m. E.S.T.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
6:00 – 7:00 p.m. E.S.T.
If you are unable to make one of the above sessions, a representative of the MACS program would be happy to talk to you one on one. Please RSVP or set up a time to chat one-on-one by sending an email to
email@example.com or call 800-697-4646
It happens every year! After the wrapping paper is recycled and the thank-you notes are written, I find myself reflecting back on the whole gift-giving experience with friends and family. It is a tradition I approach annually with both anticipation and trepidation. Do people need more stuff? Have I been thoughtful in my choices or simply pressured into an activity ingrained in my seasonal rhythms over the years?
How did this tradition come to us? Some faithfully attribute gift-giving to the reverence of the Three Kings who brought gifts to a baby Jesus. Others connect the tradition to the earlier Roman celebration of Saturnalia held in December to honor abundance and the return of light. Still others see the blossoming of gift-giving as a way to shift the attention of the holiday to children, especially with the appearance of the gift-giving Santa Claus in the early 1800s. Regardless, gift-giving has found its way into many fall/winter holiday traditions, including Eid al-Fitr, Chanukah and Kwanzaa.
Certainly, when I was a child, it was the pile of gifts that marked Christmas for us. And, with five children, my parents had their work cut out for them. Our Christmas mornings were a cacophony of ripping paper, mechanical toys chased by barking dogs, music on the stereo, and squeals of excitement and gratitude yelled across the room. But at some point I transitioned from gift-receiver to gift-giver. We all do, continuing a cycle of values modeled by those who first gave to us; whether for Christmas, a birthday or some other celebration that involves the giving of gifts. As we grow into our own gift-giving philosophy, we may change some of those values (i.e. handmade vs store bought; time together vs an object; one big gift vs lots of little gifts), but the tradition of giving remains. And each year I try to be wiser, or at least more thoughtful about the act of giving. What is it that we accomplish by the act of giving gifts?
Lewis Hyde, in his seminal work The Gift (a foundational reading for the MACS program) explores the concept of the gift economy as a critical element in nurturing the values and traditions that sustain communities. He despairs that our culture is defined by money and an economy shaped by the power to buy and sell commodities. While he is especially interested in the artist’s gift of creative talent with its boundless and reverberant nature, his ideas resonate with any form of gift-giving or receiving. He suggests that “we suffer gratitude” when a gift is received and that suffering “enlivens us.” Gratitude compels a sense of reciprocity. We might give a gift in return, offer a kindness, or draw the giver more deeply into our confidences. Such reciprocity weaves the strands of our community more closely together, thus extending the power of the gift, the kindness, the connection “around the corner” and sometimes out of sight. Gifts, or perhaps more accurately the act of giving/receiving, reinforces the flow and vitality of connections within families, circles of friends and communities. We are talking about pretty big stakes, when you think about gift-giving in this light.
But there are greater stakes. If we expand the idea of the gift beyond the handmade or store bought item, beyond the artistic talents of creative people, we arrive at the deeper, ancient gifts of culture. These gifts embody and transfer the knowledge, values and traditions so precious to us that we are driven to pass them on from one generation to the next. These gifts have crossed oceans, survived atrocities, dodged bullets and found their way into the very essence of who we are; a lullaby echoing the voice of your grandfather, a baking lesson with your mother, a gardening pattern that cultivates your sense of place, a ritual that connects you to the divine, a story diverting you from danger. These are the gifts that, if treasured, just might allow us to live peaceably on this planet.
There is clearly a continuum of gift-giving. Birthday or holiday gifts are given with intention; with our hands, if you will. Artistic talents and cultural gifts are more innate, given with heart. But each is an act of generosity and in the giving or transferring has the capacity to enact kindnesses and reciprocity. Imagine if each gift given or received could foster peace and interconnectedness?
As we ramp up to another residency, I look forward to digging more deeply into the soil/soul of the MACS program to discover together the gifts that the students and faculty bring to our community of practice. The time we share during the residency is its own gift – one that allows us to imagine what is precious in our communities and how we might work to sustain that which we treasure.
Hyde, Lewis. 2007. The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World. New York: Vintage Books.
In a brief article on iOL Travel, Claire Allison, the marketing manager of Open Africa, insists that travelers must go beyond booking an eco-lodge or enviro-tour if they are truly concerned with sustainable travel. While there is certainly a strong argument that travel in itself goes against the goals of sustainability, if we (as travelers) are aiming to make the least amount of negative impact and, better still, looking to find ways to positively support the places we visit, we must consider the environment and the local people, economy, and cultures. “Sustainable travel,” Allison states, “is about environmental, economic and socio-cultural sustainability and tourism needs to be sustainable in these three areas to be considered ‘sustainable tourism.'” I tend to agree with this overall sentiment, but what I find problematic with the article is that it is still written from a tourist-centric perspective. Allison writes that, “Socio-cultural sustainability is about including the local people in a tourist venture by employing them and minimising the negative impacts of increased tourist traffic. It’s also about preserving the local traditions, which offers travelers an authentic experience.” Rather than suggesting that local people be included by being employed by a tourist venture, how about suggesting that local people be in control of the tourist venture, or at minimum, that they are consulted? And perhaps better than “preserving local traditions” with the goal of offering “travelers an authentic experience,” shouldn’t the goal again be less about the traveler and more about leaving decisions – regarding what and how traditions are preserved – in the hands of the practitioners?
In the article, Allison offers a few tips many of us are familiar with, including purchasing items from local artists and eating foods sourced locally. How do you define “sustainable travel?” What tips do you have for other travelers, as well as those engaged in the business of sustainable tourism, and/or communities that are frequented by travelers interested in environmental and cultural tourism?
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Goucher's Master of Arts in Cultural Sustainability is a completely unique new program. We teach our students how to work closely with individuals and communities to identify, protect, and enhance their important traditions, their ways of life, their cherished spaces, and their vital relationships to each other and the world.