Thursday, September 27, 2018

SLCC Hosts Visiting Faculty During Prestigious NEH Summer Institute

A book from the NEH Summer Institute final exhibit.

Salt Lake Community College rose to the top in a highly competitive grant application process this year to host a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Institute. Each Institute is an opportunity to explore topics relevant to undergraduate education in the humanities, and SLCC was one of only two community colleges in the country this year to receive an NEH grant to host a Summer Institute.

The SLCC-hosted institute was led by faculty members Lisa Bickmore, Melissa Helquist and Charlotte Howe. The three writing professors worked with SLCC Office of Sponsored Projects director Nicole Omer to apply for the grant, and then they designed the curriculum, planned the projects and secured visiting faculty.

“It was a big project, and we’re really proud of the work we did,” Bickmore said. “This is the first time SLCC hosted such an institute, and community colleges are not often awarded these grants.”

Melissa Helquist (l-r), Lisa Bickmore and Charlotte Howe.

The Institute at SLCC began by asking several questions including: What is a book? Where do people find books? What is the history of human interaction with books and what can history teach us about emerging modes of the book? Who is invited to read? Who is inhibited, or even prohibited, from reading books in their various forms?

Each scholar at the Institute, considering those questions, then designed, prototyped and produced “experimental” books for an exhibit that was displayed at the Salt Lake City Library.

“Because our overall institute focused on the embodied book, we decided a scholarly-inflected act of making would be a fitting conclusion,” Bickmore said.

Participants in the Summer Institute.