University of Houston Libraries, in collaboration with area partners in the arts, hosted the Art of Death and Dying Symposium in 2012. Now, the symposium proceedings have been published to an open access journal via the Texas Digital Library.
Over 60 regional, national and international scholars and artists gathered at UH to explore concepts of death, dying and commemoration in literary, visual and performing arts.
“It was a truly unique gathering that featured both established authorities and new voices in their field,” said Catherine Essinger, coordinator of the William R. Jenkins Architecture and Art Library.
UH humanities librarians Essinger, Katie Buehner, Kerry Creelman and Andrea Malone organized the three-day event, partnering with the Blaffer Art Museum, the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts, UH department of Hispanic Studies, The Honors College, the National Museum of Funeral History and Preservation Houston.
In addition to paper presentations, the symposium featured unconventional performances that explored the themes of death and dying in the arts, including Dario Robleto’s blend of storytelling, imagery and sound on the connection between creativity and loss; and a voice lecture recital of Brahms’ Vier Ernste Gesange (Four Serious Songs) op. 121 no.3 by Jeremy Blackwood of Southeastern Oklahoma State University.
A collection of thought-provoking papers from the symposium were recently published to the UH institutional repository hosted by the Texas Digital Library. Katie Buehner, coordinator of the UH Music Library, noted that sharing the symposium proceedings online is exciting for the UH Libraries because “it’s a wonderful way to make what happened in those three days available to the public at large.”
“The fact that the UH Libraries has helped to make the proceedings freely available to researchers reflects our libraries’ commitment to furthering research and promoting access to information,” Essinger said. “I am particularly pleased that the proceedings include papers by two members of the UH community – one a respected professor and the other a student pursuing her M.A. in art history.”
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