OU To Host Interdisciplinary Arts Conference March 21-22

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In celebration of its 50th anniversary, the Ohio University School of Interdisciplinary Arts will hold an international conference on the past, present, and future of interdisciplinary arts.

The conference, “Interdisciplinary Arts: Retrospectives & Future Visions,” will be held on Friday and Saturday, March 21-22 in Baker Center on the Athens Campus.

“The school was founded as Comparative Arts in 1964 and originally embraced music, theater, and the visual arts. We changed our name in 2003 to Interdisciplinary Arts, to maintain currency in academic studies, and now the school houses additional faculty in aesthetics, African arts and literatures, ethnomusicology, film studies, and performance studies,” said Interim Director Dr. Charles Buchanan.

The conference will bring together and encourage a dialogue among scholars, artists, and graduate students from various academic disciplines and creative venues in order to understand the nature of interdisciplinary arts.

It will also offer several sessions with moderator-led discussions for presenters and attendees. The entire conference is free and open university-wide and to the community.

“Some people respond quizzically to the concept of interdisciplinary arts, but in fact across both cultures and time periods how the arts interacted was more important than their separation into specific disciplines, which largely is a nineteenth-century idea,” stated Buchanan.

Asked whether individuals can participate in the conference if their focus isn’t in the fine arts, Buchanan responded that the school encourages its students to search out connections between the arts, humanities, sciences, mathematics, and engineering, to name a few.

The keynote speaker for the conference will be Dr. Esther da Costa Meyer, Professor of the History of Modern Architecture, Department of Art & Archaeology, Princeton University. Professor da Costa Meyer teaches modern architecture from the late eighteenth century to the present. Her published work has focused on issues of the interface between architecture and the other arts, and on the formal and theoretical issues informing architecture of the last decade.

Her lecture, “Object Lessons: Paris, 1920s-1930s,” concerns theories of the object, and cuts across painting, architecture, music, dance, film, literature, Africa, and the social sciences. The keynote address will be held on Friday, March 21 from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. in Alden Library, Room 319.

The conference will conclude with a closing reception on Saturday, March 22 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at the Kennedy Museum of Art. The reception is free and open to the public and will feature interdisciplinary arts entertainment provided by students, faculty, and alumni from both within and outside of the school. 

For more information about the conference and a complete schedule, visit