READING THE ARTS 'GLOCALLY' IN OUR BACKYARD
Just a few days after commencement, a dozen Trinity professors and several students continued their studies outside the classroom. They attended the Reading the World: Developing a Christian Perspective for Our Times conference convened by Dr. Brad Breems, sociology department chair at Trinity, and Dr. Clinton Stockwell, Chicago Semester director.
The four-day event provided 70 U.S. and Canadian professors, students, and other scholars with a variety of lectures, workshops, and urban activities. Distinguished presenters covered a range of topics dealing with the effect of worldview on global social and cultural developments and its implications for Chicago.
Toward the end of this array of fascinating presentations and cultural excursions, Dr. Calvin Seerveld presented Friday afternoon’s session on urban aesthetics. Now Professor Emeritus in Aesthetics at the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto, Seerveld taught at Trinity from 1959 to 1972 and remains among Trinity alumni’s most beloved professors.
In his lecture, “Reading the Arts ‘Glocally’ in our own backyard,” the always eloquent Dr. Seerveld carefully explained how globalization impacts local life. He defined “glocal” as “a committed world-and-life vision that is ‘globally’ (cosmically and historically) aware, but [that] acts first-of-all locally from the place you call home.”
Using photographs from his extensive collection—including shots of major Chicago public art and the murals of Pilsen—Seerveld explained how cities like Chicago could implement aesthetic urban initiatives to improve the quality of life, civic pride and hospitality.
After Seerveld’s lecture, conferees hit Chicago Loop streets for one of two tours: Seerveld and prominent architect Richard Smits guided the tour “Public Artwork in the City”; Chicago Semester’s Clinton Stockwell and David Frenchak, president of SCUPE (Seeing the City with Prophetic Imagination) led “The City as Sacred Space.”
The conference’s other presenters included: Queen’s University’s David Lyon; Govert Buijs, Free University of Amsterdam; Jim Skillen of Center for Public Justice; UIUC’s Jan Nederveen Pieterse; and a panel of distinguished Chicago business and cultural leaders.
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