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Thank you, UI community, for supporting Obermann activities this year! We've been energized by your attendance and inspired by your feedback. 

Best wishes for a calm, rewarding end-of-semester. 💜

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Our 2022–23 Annual Report: Celebrating 45 years of supporting research at the UI

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Witnessing the Gravedigger: Photography professor Thalassa Raasch captures the work of Everard Hall in new manuscript

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Upcoming Events

What She Said — A Workshop on Empowering Women’s Voices in Celebration of Women’s History Month promotional image

What She Said — A Workshop on Empowering Women’s Voices in Celebration of Women’s History Month

Saturday, March 30, 2024 9:00am to 12:00pm
111 Church Street
Our voices are an important indicator of who we are. Female-presenting speakers often learn self-undermining speaking habits from the people and society around them. How does the voice contribute to our sense of presence and how others perceive us? Tone, inflection, pace, and volume are some of the vocal elements that provide clues for the listener as to what we think and feel. In this workshop, UI Theatre Arts professor Mary Mayo will invite you to develop a greater awareness of your voice and...
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Application Deadline: Obermann Working Groups (2024–25)

Tuesday, April 9, 2024 5:00pm
Obermann Center Working Groups provide space, structure, and discretionary funding for groups led by faculty that may include advanced graduate students, staff members, and community members with a shared intellectual interest. Groups have used this opportunity to explore new work and to share their own research, to organize a symposium, and to develop grant proposals.  This program allows participants from across the campus and beyond to explore complex issues at a moment when cross...
Application Deadline: Obermann Faculty Fellows (Fall 2024) promotional image

Application Deadline: Obermann Faculty Fellows (Fall 2024)

Tuesday, May 7, 2024 5:00pm
Obermann Center Faculty Fellows (formerly Fellows-in-Residence) fully devote themselves to projects within an interdisciplinary community. The program supports artists, researchers, and scholars during periods when focus and feedback are crucial. The program is rooted in our mission: to support the work of individual scholars, while also providing Fellows with the opportunity to enrich an individual, discipline-specific project through interdisciplinary exchanges with a lively intellectual...
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photo of Everard Hall eating lunch in a cemetery (photo credit: Dessert, 2015, Thalassa Raasch)

Witnessing the Gravedigger

Monday, November 13, 2023
Who’s your local gravedigger? Do you know? Do you have one? The residents of Cherryfield, Maine, do—and it’s not the dirty, shadow-clad figure you’re picturing. It’s local resident Everard Hall, smiling and ball-capped in a plaid work shirt. There’s a harmonica in his pocket and dancing boots in his pickup. Everard (pronounced “EVer-ard”) is one of the few remaining gravediggers in the U.S. who dig by hand—and he does it year-round across northeastern Maine. Using picks, shovels, chains, and winches to haul out rocks, ice, hardpan, roots, clay, and sand, he insists on doing the job with care and precision. It’s not surprising that UI photography professor Thalassa Raasch feels the exact same way about documenting Everard’s work. Her in-progress collection of photos and essays, In Over My Head, documents the unexpected beauty of Everard’s work as a gravedigger and explores the profound thresholds between solitude and community, life and death.
Solange Saxby, Pamela Mulder, Christine Gill standing outside of the UI Obermann Center

Promoting Breastfeeding in Women with MS

Thursday, September 28, 2023
It’s tough to be a new mother, whoever you are, whatever your income, wherever you live. But for women with chronic health conditions, it’s exceptionally difficult. Even breastfeeding can feel like an insurmountable task, full of uncertainties about the transmission of medications in breastmilk and the physical demands of holding an infant for long periods of time.   This past summer, an Obermann Interdisciplinary Research Grant team, aided by Spelman Rockefeller funding, began studying breastfeeding in women with multiple sclerosis (MS), a chronic disease of the brain and spinal cord. “There’s a huge gap of knowledge in regards to breastfeeding for women with MS,” say the grant project’s co-directors Christine Gill (Clinical Assistant Professor, Neurology), Pamela Mulder (Clinical Assistant Professor, Nursing), and Solange Saxby (Postdoctoral Research Scholar, Internal Medicine)—largely because pregnant and lactating women tend not to volunteer for research trials. It’s a serious oversight, since MS is three times more common in women than in men and is more frequently diagnosed in women of childbearing age (between 20 and 40) than in any other group. Symptoms vary among patients but commonly include fatigue, muscle weakness, tingling, numbness, vertigo, and walking difficulties due to nerve fiber damage.

Featured Programs

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Obermann Writing Collective

We've launched a new program to support academic writers: the Obermann Writing Collective. These small, write-on-site groups meet in our new Writers' Attic at the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies at 111 Church St. This pilot program offers companionship and accountability to University of Iowa artists, scholars, and researchers working on any kind of academic writing project (ex. academic articles/essays, fellowship or grant applications, book projects, edited volumes, or nonfiction) who want dedicated time, a cozy space, and a community for the practice of writing.

Groups meet once a week for one and a half hours. Weekly writing sessions include brief check-ins, goal setting, and sustained writing time—along with warm appreciation and support for the demanding work of scholarly writing. We are currently hosting dedicated sessions for graduate students, as well as sessions open to anyone in the University of Iowa academic community.

Fall 2023 groups are full, but sign up below to get notified when we're ready to accept members for Spring 2024 groups!

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Wide Lens: Inspiration & exchange across the disciplines

For the last two years, many of us have deeply missed the good company of our colleagues. This new series—a joint initiative of the UI College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, the Office of the Vice President for Research, and the Stanley Museum of Art—aims to re-inspire and reconnect us.

For each gathering in the Wide Lens series, researchers, scholars, and artists from across the university will briefly present their work on a shared topic of interest. Then, we'll open the floor to questions and conviviality over hors d'oeuvres and drinks at the ever-inspiring Stanley Museum of Art.

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Book Ends: Obermann/OVPR Book Completion Workshop

This program supports University of Iowa faculty from disciplines in which publishing a monograph is required for tenure and promotion. The award is designed to assist faculty members turn promising manuscripts into important, field-changing, published books.

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