December 1, 2015

Themester Interns Final Projects: Interviews with Jessica Tym and Jordan Campi

The Themester photography interns for 2015, Jessica Tym and Jordan Campi, are tasked with creating final projects that showcase the work they have been accomplishing all semester.

Jessica Tym
senior Telecommunications major
What is your final Themester project about?
I am creating a slideshow of everything that Jordan and I have taken photos of for the Themester throughout the semester. Then I will choose the ones that are the most aesthetically pleasing and have a lot of student involvement. I will try to get a variety of photos from throughout the Themester.
How does your project differ from Jordan’s?
My project is more focused on the photography aspect, which I really enjoy, while Jordan took more of the videography path with her project.
Where can people find this slideshow?
It will be posted on the Themester website. This project is done every Themester by the interns so if you click on past Themesters there will be a slideshow like what I will be compiling. You can go back and see what events have occurred in past years and how this year's will be formatted.
Will this be difficult to create?
It is technically simple, but going through all of the photos is pretty time intensive.
How has it been to be the photography intern?
It has been really interesting to get involved more with campus and go to a lot of the events. The challenge is to get a variety of photos when many of the events are the same set up. My favorite event was in the theater department titled "Women at Work on the Musical", it was about the history of women in choreography. 

Jordan Campi
senior Telecommunications major
What is your final Themester project?
My final project is going to be a video titled something like “what is Themester” and the video will introduce the idea of Themester and prompt people to investigate more into the different opportunities it offers. It will encompass a lot of slow motion imagery with a background narration. I will try and incorporate all that Themester is and try to recruit a narrator to explain all of the different aspects.
Have you used video editing skills before in Themester?
No this is the first time but I am excited because I have taken a lot of classes on it. Also, I enjoy editing videos more than editing photos.
How is the photography internship through the Themester?
I liked it a lot actually, I love that it takes me to events that I might not have thought about going before. I have a lot of fun at the events and taking photos at them is just an extra bonus. My favorite event was the limestone carvers because it was really interactive. With this internship you get to practice your photography skills and it is really good practice to take pictures during an event. It is good practice to interact with your subjects as well. Plus, there are many opportunities work with different types of lighting.
Where will this video be available?
I hope that it will be available on the website, that is what I have been envisioning for the content to be sort of an entrance into the site and the program in general.

By: Allison Larmann, Themester Promotions Intern 2015

November 18, 2015

Interview with Sidney Harris, member of IU's Black Student Union

Sidney Harris is a Sociology Major and a member of IU’s chapter of Black Student Union. 

How did you get involved with this year’s Themester theme?

I was recommended and asked to apply to be a themester committee advisor by Professor Alex Lichenstein. So I applied and was chosen!

How did you come to select Barber and Trumka/what was your process for organizing the event?

The program was essentially the dream child of Ben Robinson and I took a special interest in the topic as I have a heart for social justice issues in particular racial equality and justice issues. Selecting Barber and Trumka was the easiest tasks required of the event, because they are two of the most influential men currently in the labor and racial equality and justice arenas, from there it was just a matter of getting everything logistically set up and organized.

What do you hope students will take away from the event?

I hope that students took away from the event that the issues of labor and race are not mutually exclusive but are intrinsically intertwined. I hope that they were able to see the urgency and relevance of these issues as national moral issues that demand our attention and action. finally I hope that they were able to see the ways in which they could affect change or at least become more knowledgeable about these issues that directly effect each and every one of us.

What does labor mean to you? 

Labor translates directly to opportunity and power. The ways in which we as individuals as well as the collective are able to have agency and control over our bodies and labor is the key to democratic freedom, and so to me labor equates to the measure of freedom in a nation. The opportunity for fair, equal, and just labor is something that in my opinion is spiritually and biblically necessary and required at all times, and to give anything less than that is an injustice against humanity. So labor has major implications that manifest in all of our daily lives, therefore something to be taken extremely seriously.

You can watch the Barber / Trumka discussion "Labor and Civil Rights: Bold Legacies and New Directions" here

Alexander Zorn 
2015 Intern

November 9, 2015

Drug War Capitalism and Nicholas Greven

Nicholas Greven, a undergraduate student coordinated the "Drug War Capitalism" videoconference that brought people from around the world to debate issues of labor 
within the illegal drug trade. 

What interested you in making the "Drug War Capitalism" event in connection with the Themester? 
The event was made in connection with Themester because it dealt with how labor is
controlled and coerced through the war on drugs.

How do you think your Themester event went? 
It went well, there was lots of good discussion and connections made.

What was the audiences reactions to the panels? 
The audience found the panels very poignant and informative.

What are the direct connections to the issue of labor and work? 
It dealt a lot with undocumented immigration, and such immigrants make up a lot 
of the labor force. It also dealt a lot with prisons and police, which often function 
as mechanisms of labor coercion or incapacitation.

By: Allison Larmann, 2015 Themester Intern

November 8, 2015

Global Problem, Local Solution

Stepanka Korytova was interviewed about her I300 class's upcoming presentation on their research and projects on fair labor.

How are you envisioning this panel to go? 

I think it will be somewhat of a reaction to earlier projects that my earlier I300 classes have done, before interacted with the managers with the Bloomington Human Rights Commission but they have taken a new direction. So the students are doing group projects, some are talking to employees of the restaurants, so that the project is credible. One group is setting up a Facebook page to raise awareness for the Fair Labor Initiative. Some students did independent projects, one is a journalism major who wrote an op-ed piece on the project. Global problem, local solution is sort of the theme of the class so that … There are students who are showing a documentary to different student groups and then giving them a survey on how much was known before and how much was learned. There was a lot of fieldwork done by the students. There will also be an explanation in the beginning of what human trafficking and labor rights are.

How many people do you have in your class?
We have 30 people. People have been taking notice there has been three articles in Bloom Magazine on fair labor since my students have started these projects.

Jessica Rodriguez, a sophomore International Studies student in I300 was asked about her role in the project.
I interviewed restaurant workers it was pretty interesting. Half of them had no issues but the other half had experienced a variety of things, almost all of them under the radar. They were asked what their idea of fair labor was and then how they were treated specifically. The worst instance was that one of the interviewees was told to stay and scrub the floor and then never paid for it. There was nothing specific that has not been publicized before.

Alexa Blanton, an I300 student was also asked about her role.
My group created community outreach flyers with information about fair labor standards initiative they include coupons with three member restaurants the Bloomington Sandwich Company, Baked and the Runcible Spoon.

"A Global Problem, a Local Solution," a student panel discussion on fair trade
Join students from Dr. Stepanka Korytova's International Studies course, INTL-I 300 Global Human Trafficking, in a discussion on fair labor in Bloomington, IN .
Start: Monday November 09, 2015 04:00 PM
End: Monday November 09, 2015 05:30 PM
Location: Wylie 015

By: Allison Larmann, 2015 Themester Intern

October 19, 2015

IU Art Museum Student Docents @ Work to Display Pieces Surrounding Labor.

For this post Themester interviewed Hanwen Fan a sophomore Hutton Honors College Student Docent who gives tours on the Themester show “@ Work” at the IU Art Museum going on this semester. 
That is your role as a Hutton Honors College Student Docent?
My main project is to give a tour to the guests of the IU Art Museum’s show “@ Work” and to provide them more knowledge and information about works of art that were chosen to go along with the main theme of labor.  We relate different paintings to this one topic from all of the art museum’s areas different areas; especially the Chinese, Pacific, African, Egyptian and Western pieces of art.
There are 20-30 Student Docents that work throughout the year.  Docents mainly work together, I am the first shift and give information in the 4 or 5 on the Western level with my partner. I work the IUAM Coffeehouse Night and it focuses mainly on the first floor exhibit. Some docents give a tour of the entire exhibit that is spread out throughout the entire museum. In training we learn about all of the paintings that pertain to the exhibit.  We also show the paintings to art classes and hold the discussion section about the works.

How are people's reactions?
Yeah I think people really like the show “@Work” when I tell them the information on the background of the paintings they are very surprised. Sometimes the things I point out they have said that they would have never thought about. My friends have even said that they would never have known any of the information about the works of art if I had not shared it. I think it is very interesting tour, my econ professor even came to see the event.

Are there a wide variety of people that come to the IU Coffeehouse?
Yeah lots of different people come; my friends, professors and many other people
I am a History and Economics major I really like this topic and that they care about the different sections of the labor force. I am currently in a class about the 1940s-1970s and I can relate this information to that class which is really cool.

Allison Larmann 
2015 Intern 

October 18, 2015

Interview with Ryann Seifers, Themester's Discussion Host

Ryann Seifers is a Senior in the College of Arts and Sciences with a Major in Anthropology and Themester's Discussion Host.

How did you get involved in this year’s Themester?
After attending Themester events last year, I was inspired to be more involved with the unique program. I love that Themester reaches across a broad range of interests and tosses them all together to share their perspectives on one topic.

What exactly is Dessert and Discussion?
Dessert and Discussion is a place where undergraduates and faculty interact to discuss the Themester topic. The informal conversation coupled with the wonderful dessert creates an environment where attendees can ask questions and express their opinions.

What is your process in picking (faculty) guests for Dessert and Discussion?
I look for faculty who are teaching Themester classes, because I know they are interested in the topic, then start crafting emails in an attempt to express how appealing Dessert and Discussion is.

What do you hope students will take away from Dessert and Discussion?
Every Dessert and Discussion presents the opportunity to make a new connection, whether it is to a peer or a faculty member, as well as exposing attendees to the perspectives of others during an interactive conversation.

What does labor mean to you?
The word labor has a negative connotation, and it tends to be something that people see as separate from their personal life. To me, labor signifies 'things' which need to be done, from household chores to going to a shift to writing a research paper, because all of this work is necessary for me to get from one week to the next. As I age, my idea of work and labor will change, but for now it is something I do as I aspire to reach a point where leisure and labor are one in a career which is entertaining for me.

What was your first job?

My first 'real' job was working at IU's SRSC as an Informal Sports Supervisor.

Alexander Zorn
2015 Intern

October 12, 2015

Interview with Justin Hill, Themester's Special Event Manager

Justin Hill is a Senior in the Kelley School of Business majoring in Finance and Business Analytics and Themester's Special Event Manager.

How did you get involved in this year’s Themester?
I received an email advertising the position at a time when I was doing a research project about labor in China. I found the project interesting and I thought the internship would be a good opportunity to explore labor in more depth from the vantage point of an event organizer. 

What was your process in organizing the event?
I conceived the idea over the summer and did some preliminary research to determine if it was feasible to create an entire event based on labor in the fashion industry. I met with our internship supervisor in the beginning of the semester to discuss it in more depth and she provided some guidance on possible panelists and venues. I reached out to the Hutton Honors College and the Apparel Merchandising school, both of which were extremely helpful in planning this event, to find panelists and a moderator. Finally, I promoted the event through different channels such as social media, classroom pitches, and posters around campus.

What do you hope students will take away from your event?
I think fair trade is still a niche interest and not all consumers will be interested in supporting the cause. I hope the event promotions were able to reach students interested in learning more about the topic and make an educated decision as to whether they would be an advocate. When thinking about small producers, every sale matters and ripples across the producing community in a different way than most Americans think about. So while the event was intended to provide education about fair trade, hopefully that converts into some sales for producers in developing economies.

What does labor mean to you?
I'm still developing my definition of labor, although being a part of Themester has certainly evolved my ideas. I came across a quote from Brunello Cucinelli, an Italian fashion designer, talking about tailors. "We need to give moral and economic dignity back to this kind of craft. Say you are a tailor. If you earn $1,200 a month, you are sort of ashamed to say that that’s your trade, because that’s the culture. We have to do the opposite. It should be that if someone sees you are a tailor, they say, 'Oh, you are plying a very great trade, the tailor.' That’s the moral dignity I’m talking about."

I think people should apply that concept to every job, from McDonalds to hedge fund managers and everything in between. We're a long way from that, but that's my current mindset. 

What was your first job?

I started washing dishes on Saturdays and Sundays in a breakfast restaurant when I was a Sophomore in high school. I was really proud of the job when I started, but after one weekend, it quickly lost its luster. I stuck with it and eventually was promoted to the kitchen. I cooked breakfast for two years at that restaurant and I still make a damn good omelette today.

You can find more Themester events at

Alexander Zorn 
2015 Intern

September 27, 2015

Archaeology @ Work

Dr. Meghan Buchanan is a research scientist at Indiana University’s Glenn A Black Laboratory of Archaeology and has curated the exhibit “Archaeology @ Work” on display at the Glenn A Black Laboratory of Archaeology.

Talking with Dr. Buchanan she was very passionate about her exhibit when we met up at the opening of “Archaeology  @ Work”.

  What were the methods behind the creation of this exhibit?

Originally I wanted the exhibit to be based solely on the work of WPA, the Works Programs Administration part of the New Deal, programs at Angel Mounds in Evansville, and the tools utilized. The goal was to have it show the WPA workers excavating the various sites. This turned out to be a lot more challenging than I had originally expected. The records and data were very easy to come by since it was a federal project, but there were not many photos of the workers actually doing the work. One of the best resources that was available were Glenn A Black’s notebooks that he kept while excavating the site. The system utilized was also very complicated because the workers dug in 10x10 plots so it was complicated to decipher where anything was specifically. Also there was not a lot of equipment that had survived to today.
It then became more about archaeology in general, encompassing all past Indiana University field schools along with other WPA excavation sites. Indiana University has a very impressive history with field schools such as during the 1940s to early 1950s they held field schools entirely for women. The exhibit itself is very relatable to students because the exhibit encompasses many of the basics in archaeology. Angel Mounds has a sister site in Illinois, Kincaid mounds. This was actually the site that I started my career researching and now it has come full circle with the installation of this exhibit.
In the future we are planning to reestablish field schools at Angel Mounds and are currently working on a site management plan. In the meantime we are digitizing old films and film clips about Angel Mounds that go all the way back to the 1930s.
Southern Indiana has actually had quite a few excavations which are depicted in the digital picture frame included in the exhibit. This will actually continue after the exhibit is taken down and be displayed at the desk of the Glenn A Black Archaeology Lab. 

The exhibit “Archaeology @ Work” depicts the WPA at Angel Mounds in Southern Indiana and the history of IU field schools at Angel Mounds as well but also all around Indiana.

September 15, 2015

Interview with Claire Repsholdt curator of "The Nature of Labor on a Changing Campus" exhibit

Claire Repsholdt is an English and History Major in the College of Arts and Sciences with a Minor in Communications in Culture and the curator of the Labor On Campus exhibit in the Herman B. Wells Library.

How did you get involved in this year’s Themester theme?
I was in a history class with professor Alex Lichtenstein and he was on the board for Themester so he was looking for interns who would be around for the summer who wanted to do an exhibit. He was vague but I wanted to work on an exhibit so I talked to him about it [and] got the internship. He hooked me up with the Indiana University archives and I started from there.

How did you select pieces to include in your exhibit / what was your process?
I was just looking – first I could have done anything with labor, but because I was working with the Indiana University archive I had a lot of information about like campus things, campus labor so I really wanted to focus on that because we had the best materials for that. I talked to Dina and Carrie, the librarians at the archive and kind of asked them about what I was thinking, that I wanted to do IU labor and they pointed me specifically to the Ruckle House archive materials because that’s the baseball team that went to Japan and that’s something they’re very proud of and it happened to be about athletic, physical labor and I thought that was an interesting angle. Then I started, after I knew that I had that, I was thinking about other things that I saw on campus today like that we are always under construction and I was really interested in the way campus grew to what it is. So I went on the limestone tour that they offer just to see what people were saying about it and tried to focus on buildings, so I picked the sample gates because there’s a lot of correspondence materials and information. So then I just tried to go from there on the campus side of things and I wanted to look at comparison to the physical workers so I looked at office workers. They had great office photos. And that was sort of the compliment to the physical labor and that led me into looking at the unionized labor, and it really all started with that baseball collection.

What do you hope students will take away from your exhibit?
I would love for students to – I have this image of people, since it’s so kind of map focused, if they are walking through campus to start putting the pieces together, calling attention to the labor as you’re seeing in the physical plant trucks who are usually – [we’re] like “oh we’re trying to be pedestrians why are you driving through here right now” but seeing that they’re doing a lot of work to maintain what’s going on and seeing the way that academic labor and all these things we complain about having to do are built on these really concrete things, like buildings, or like the athletes that are making money through advertisements, or the sewing students who are putting together clothes and office workers who are sending all of our stuff everywhere even though they have computers – just to call attention to the fact you are built on so many other people’s work.  

What does labor mean to you?
The funny thing about doing an exhibit on labor is that I was laboring, so whenever I’m telling someone about my labor exhibit I have this urge to do puns like “an exhibit about labor that’s the fruit of my labor.” My labor made labor. I was very aware of all the work that I was doing weirdly. Labor to me is actually an underrated word, it’s huge in our lives and I think we don’t talk about it. We talk about hope, and what dreams do you have? And you talk about what inspires you but so little do we ever talk about what do you consider labor? What is work for you? I think what labor means is a challenge; I have to figure that out. I’m on a “journey” to figure out what it means. I think everyone should be.

What was your first job?
I worked at a shoe company: Rogan’s shoes. It was a family owned shoe business. They always run a buy one pair get the other half off sale, so if you ever come across a Rogan’s take advantage!

You can find Claire’s exhibit in the East Tower of the Herman B. Wells library to the left of the book returns desk.

Alexander Zorn
2015 Intern