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Curriculum and Instruction News

UW-Madison’s Weeth Feinstein part of unique art/science climate change project

January 20, 2017

UW-Madison’s Noah Weeth Feinstein, with collaborators from the University of Illinois at Chicago and Chicago-based artist Jenny Kendler, will develop and evaluate “Garden for a Changing Climate,” a mobile public art project and interactive event series.

Comprised of a series of moveable planters of native Midwestern species, “Garden for a Changing Climate” directly embodies the otherwise largely invisible, slow and dispersed threat of climate change. This work will be supported by a $140,000 grant from the Humanities Without Walls consortium administered by the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities. 

Noah Feinstein
Weeth Feinstein
“This project is right smack at the intersection of the two things I am most interested in right now: out-of-school science and climate change adaptation,” says Weeth Feinstein, an associate professor with the School of Education’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction. “I’m also very excited to work with artists and humanists. The impacts of climate change on our lives and the world around us can’t be measured or described in purely scientific terms, and I think art projects like this one provide truly important opportunities for public reflection and learning.” 

Working with a graduate research assistant, Weeth Feinstein will develop the framework for enlisting and guiding Chicago-based communities through the co-creation of interpretive media about the artwork, focusing on the lived experience of the impact of ecozone shifts and climate change more generally. Weeth Feinstein and the research assistant will also develop evaluation methods for the co-creation effort, as well as for the Garden’s other interpretive strategies and programs.

Beginning in April 2018, Gallery 400 at the University of Illinois at Chicago will present Garden for a Changing Climate in six community sites throughout Chicago. This interdisciplinary project will bring together experts across art, science, education and the social sciences to create effective education about the changing climate, its impact on their lives, and how they can join mitigation efforts.

In addition to Feinstein and Kendler, key collaborators for this project also include University of Illinois at Chicago faculty member Hannah Higgins and Gallery 400 director Lorelei Stewart.

The grant supporting this project is part of the Humanities Without Walls research challenge, “The Work of the Humanities in a Changing Climate." Humanities Without Walls aims to create new avenues for collaborative research, teaching, and the production of scholarship in the humanities, forging and sustaining areas of inquiry that cannot be created or maintained without cross-institutional cooperation. To learn more, visit www.humanitieswithoutwalls.illinois.edu.

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