Imagining Geographies was a College of Mass Communication and Media Arts-led, university- & region-wide interdisciplinary initiative with two primary missions: the first of which is to advance investigations, knowledge creation and mobilization, discussion, and multiple forms of expression by faculty, staff, and students across SIU related to space, place, culture, and identity. The second is to share these efforts with the SIU community and residents of Southern Illinois.
Imagining Geographies began in spring 2012 with the Antarctica – Imagined Geographies Initiative. This became the Imagining Geographies in spring 2013, along with a shift in focus to the present project - Land, Lives, and Arts of Southern Illinois. Dr. Peter Lemish and his students have taken on this creative and exciting initiative.
A multidisciplinary collaboration took place at SIU Carbondale and throughout the region – the Antarctica: Imagined Geographies Initiative [AIGI] – from March – May 2012. Nearly 1000 persons participated in 30 events during the six weeks of the project, and thousands more enjoyed the colorful brochure, publicity, and newspaper reports.
The centerpiece and inspiration for AIGI was the Antarctica photographic-sound installation of Gary Kolb and Jay Needham displayed in the Morris Library rotunda on the SIU Carbondale campus. Radiating out, symbolically, from this space were the 22 on- and off-campus events (Carbondale, Marion, & Harrisburg), and another eight meetings with special audiences (children, various grad students groups, GLBT community). These events enabled members of the SIU community and greater Southern Illinois region to meet artists, authors, composers, filmmakers and photographers who shared their music, films, fiction, and non-fiction created in Antarctica; learn about polar research of climatologists, biologists, geologists, and geographers – much of which was related to climate change issues; consider the precedent of shared global Antarctica governance as a model for governing the world and outer space.