Chemistry of Place and Culture
During the Summer of 2015, Robert Bachman received grant funds to develop a new section in the Finding Your Place (FYP) program focused on chemistry, place, and culture.
Project Abstract: An important perspective on place can be gained by examining the created objects that define or reflect a place. These can be art/cultural objects, or everyday items and structures. In this project, I will be developing a new FYP section entitled “Chemistry: Creating Place” that will be offered in this fall (Advent 2015). This section will focus on how chemistry can be used as a lens to understand how nature and humankind transform materials in the environment to create and represent place.
The goal of my Collaborative supported work was to design a new section of the FYP: Finding Your Place program that integrated ideas of chemically-related processes, both associated with environmental changes in nature and human-made products. Both types of these processes shape and impact society and community, so I hoped that the students would gain insight into their surrounding place in a variety of ways. A few examples of the natural processes we explored are water flow across the landscape and cave formation. Examples of human-made products in the area include cast iron, whiskey, and cement. A significant outcome was the creation of this class for its first year, 2015; that initial work then led to an even more vibrant version of the course in its second year, 2016. That second version added a hands-on creation of art, cyanotype printing, that allowed the students to visualize the world around themselves in a variety of ways. Their work w as displayed in a gallery show at Stirling’s at the end of the Fall 2016 semester.