Editor’s Note: This is the first installment of a four-part series focused on the third annual Arts & Sciences Week, a celebration of the talents of the WPI community.
Part 1: Global healing and hope starts at home – WPI
The world has always been a complicated place, but 2020 has posed almost unimaginable challenges on nearly every front. In response, WPI’s third edition of Arts & Sciences Week, which kicks off today, will shine a light on how members of the arts and sciences community—artists, humanists, social scientists, and others—work together to pull through times like these, says Jean King, Peterson Family Dean of Arts & Sciences. But most important, its discussions and events intend to put people on a hopeful trajectory.
“At WPI, we’re always asking the question, ‘Why the arts, why humanities?’” King says. “The goal of Arts & Sciences Week is to highlight things that are important to all people, which include hope and healing. Even in the time of COVID-19, people are using art to heal.”
Arts & Sciences Week: Imagine, Innovate, and Impact: Hope and Healing will host numerous events that discuss the broader issues the world is currently facing, including calls for social justice, navigating the “new normal” of life during the COVID-19 pandemic, and addressing concerns about mental health. The events, running October 5–10, include the unveiling of a virtual gallery displaying COVID-19–inspired art, a reading and gender, sexuality, and women's studies forum, a Critical Conversation panel discussing how the study and application of public interest technology can advance social justice, and a one-person play about finding things that make life worth living amid hard times.
King says the events will allow participants to experience the continuous narrative of how the WPI community is composed of thoughtful educators, creators, and scholars, and how art and critical dialogue makes a positive difference.
“This week is about us—as humanists, artists, and scientists—and how we are helping the world heal,” she says. “It shows how we use our respective gifts to affect the next person. This is how we heal.”
The Arts & Sciences Week schedule is available here.