UMaine event features pandemic research projects and creative endeavors of humanities scholars

Over the course of the last year, UMaine scholars across academic fields have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, rising to meet the challenges it has presented. Three notable projects led by UMaine humanities scholars have stood out, receiving press and media attention noting their public service. These three projects all speak to the essential relevance of the humanities and humanistic inquiry during the pandemic.

Moderated by Michael Socolow, associate professor of communication and journalism and director of the McGillicuddy Humanities Center, UMaine scholars present recent research projects and creative endeavors relating to the COVID-19 pandemic during a virtual event to be held on June 17, 2021 from 3:30 to 4:30 pm. The event titled, “The Stories We’ll Tell Tomorrow: University of Maine Humanities Scholars and the Covid-19 Pandemic” features thoughts, concerns, coping, and hopes connecting Maine communities throughout this historical time.

Socolow will also present on the McGillicuddy Humanities Center’s “Maine Remembers the Coronavirus” project, which collects oral history interviews about the pandemic’s impact in different sectors of Maine’s society and economy. The project seeks to capture this current idiosyncratic moment for future historians and scholars. Funded in part with a gift to the center by Doug Baston ‘69, the project expanded in 2021 as new subjects, partners, collaborators, and funders are located.

Kreg T. Ettenger, associate professor of anthropology and director of the Maine Folklife Center and Maine Studies Program, presents “The Jack Pine Project“, a community arts project organized by the Maine Folklife Center, Maine Studies Program, and the UMaine Hutchinson Center, a series of free, virtual, open-to-the-public workshops designed to help Mainers tell their coronavirus stories through the arts. The project responded to the covid-19 crisis by “connecting artists, art educators, and art therapists with residents from around Maine. Through a series of individual workshops, Maine artists, musicians, writers, and others worked with different groups to help them express their thoughts, feelings, concerns, and hopes for the future.”

Kathryn Swacha, assistant professor of english developed “Coping with COVID: A Public Story-Teling Project ” to provide a space for people to share how they are dealing with COVID in their everyday routines. The project “aims to provide a space for people to share how they are ‘coping with COVID’ throughout their everyday routines and to improve our understanding of how we are all interpreting social distancing and other public health guidelines on a daily basis.”

The event is co-sponsored by the UMaine Office of the Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School and the McGillicuddy Humanities Center, and is free and open to the public. Visit the UMaine calendar event listing for more information and Zoom link.