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 http://themester.indiana.edu

Alexander Zorn 
2015 Intern