News Release

UMN transdisciplinary collaboration receives a $12,000 grant to create spaces, events and activities to showcase indigenous culture and the environment

By Michelle Christopherson, Director of Outreach and Engagement on
Wednesday, April 28, 2021

CROOKSTON, Minn. - Four faculty, including UMN Crookston’s Katy Chapman Ph.D., Math, Science and Technology, and David Syring, PhD., Department of Anthropology, Sociology & Criminology, College of Liberal Arts, and Jennifer Liang, Ph.D, Department of Biology, Swenson College of Science and Engineering along with Peter Murdock, PhD., Levin Institute on the Environment all of UMN Duluth will launch a series of events, activities and discussions related to “Transdisciplinary Engagements with Contemporary Indigenous Thinkers”.

This research and creative collaborative, is funded by the University of Minnesota’s Institute for Advanced Study (IAS).  IAS is a resource for scholars, artists, professionals, and students who are engaged in a wide variety of study and practice. The IAS also serves as a bridge between the University and the wider community as a place where people meet and ideas are exchanged. The Institute for Advanced Study provides funding support for faculty research, interdisciplinary collaborative research, and public programming, as well as a range of other support for faculty, staff, students, the general public, and community partners.

“What's cool about this, is that you can take indigenous knowledge that has been passed down with a different way of knowing, that tells us the  same scientific process to storytelling, that includes science,” said Katy Chapman, UMN Crookston Associate Professor and Sustainability Coordinator. Chapman said the collaboration will aid in better communication of science.

“The title,Transdisciplinary Engagements with Contemporary Indigenous Thinkers, comes from (anthropology) my sense that the insights that come out of indigineous thinking are valuable across a number of disciplines. The kinds of insights that indigienous cultures have about the environments they live in, feels essential for us to respect and pay attention to and I want to try to create spaces, work with others to create spaces for indigenous writers,” Syring said. Syring says he is imagining and hopes that this Systemwide collaboration will facilitate opportunities from writers, thinkers and students.  “Anyone can be a scientist; it's the art, writing and creative ways of science that is embedded into outreach activities,’ said Chapman. Some events kicked off virtually at the Crookston campus earlier this month.

“This project highlights the power of faculty collaboration, connecting cross disciplinary work with Native American communities and scholars. The connections Dr. Chapman has made across the UMN System, along with this award, will further enable her and others, within the system, to build partnerships in biology, agronomy, and sustainability,” said John Hoffman, senior vice chancellor of academic affairs.

Katy Smith

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Shawn Smith

University Relations

218-281-8414

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