Oct 27, 2014

MACS presents first Rory Turner Prize in Cultural Sustainability


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)

Michele and Rory

Photo of Michele and Rory at 2014 Commencement ceremony


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Goucher's MA in Cultural Sustainability provides students with the training to identify, protect, enhance and work effectively with communities around what makes them unique: their traditions, ways of life, cherished spaces, and vital relationships to each other and the world. Read More

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