A Week of Engagement in the Land of 10,000 Lakes

As part of my research and engagement scholarship, I attended the 2018 Engagement Scholarship Consortium in Minneapolis, Minnesota this past semester. The conference supports a range of engagement research that focuses on university-community partnerships—partnerships that build and strengthen diverse communities for residents.

The types of projects represented at the conference cross many boundaries of specialties from conserving environmental and cultural landscapes, to fostering economic development and/or improving healthcare for citizens, to higher education reform and service design collaborations in the classroom. Academics and professionals from many disciplines, beyond design, including architecture, communications, social sciences, and humanities, participate in the conference.

The event was hosted by the University of Minnesota from Monday, Oct 1 — Wednesday, Oct 3.

This was also my first time visiting Minneapolis and Minnesota, so while I was not at the conference, I made an effort to explore the city. On Monday morning, before the new attendees “meet and greet,” I took a long walk from downtown to the uptown area. I walked along the Loring Greenway for a mile or so and then followed Hennepin Ave toward the Lake of the Isle and Bde Maka Ska Parks

I stopped for lunch at Lake & Irving Restaurant & Bar in the trendy uptown area to catch up on some work and eat lunch. I had my first Minnesota craft beer, an IPA, from the Surly Brewing Company.

I also spent a few hours of the trip visiting museums in the area. Tuesday evening, I visited the Walker Art Center, which was hosting the exhibition, Siah Armajani: Follow This Line, a collection of work by the Minneapolis-based artist Siah Armajani. The show spans six decades of work—”from Persian calligraphy to the manifesto, letter, and talisman; from poetry to mathematical equations and computer programming; from the Abstract Expressionist canvas to the vernacular architecture of rural America, Bauhaus design, and Russian Constructivism.”

On the last evening of the trip, I joined others at the Mill City Museum for the ESC conference reception. The museum, located on the Mississippi River front, tells the story of how Minneapolis became the flour milling capital of the world, a title it held from 1880 to 1930. A beautifully renovated historic building, the museum was the perfect location to celebrate a week of engagement. 

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