Tanya R. Saunders
Dean, Division of Interdisciplinary and International Studies
OPEN SPACE is an invitation to you from the Division of Interdisciplinary and International Studies (DIIS) at Ithaca College. OPEN SPACE invites movement away and towards, innovation in bringing together a variety of perspectives to create an integrated whole, and possibilities for freedom in intellectual, creative, and ethical expression. This year, the DIIS invites each participant to make what she or he will of the possibility to exercise freedom, to contribute to an international dialogue, to pursue a number of trajectories in a movement towards the unknown, and to create new knowledge, new relationships, and new ways of understanding. OPEN SPACE is an invitation to take a leap of faith in ourselves and others.
The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival (FLEFF) continues to use the UNESCO definition of sustainability to encourage interdisciplinary and international ways of thinking about the challenges before us whether in the personal, economic, or aesthetic realm. OPEN SPACE offers a worldwide virtual space in which to engage transnational, borderless discussions of global issues of concern to global citizens, that is, to all of us. The recent global recession has taught us that we are part of an ever tightening global network where borders are meaningless in spite of the allegiances we may hold. Therefore, we need ways to communicate, listen for understanding, create, and to reconsider in light of the global predicaments in which we find ourselves.
The sabbaticals of our FLEFF co-directors, Professors Thomas Shevory and Patricia Zimmermann, allow us to open up the idea of OPEN SPACE and to explore its virtual possibilities. We have mounted a plethora of blogs involving Ithaca College faculty members, the FLEFF International Advisory Board, and Ithaca College alumni. We are offering two FLEFF labs, one for first-year Ithaca College students and the other for upperclassmen, to ensure the involvement of our undergraduate students in experiential learning. We are inviting active contributions - from across campus, from across the United States, and from across the world - to creating and giving meaning to OPEN SPACE and to building on the Ithaca College mission to integrate intellect, creativity, and character in service to the global community.
FLEFF ‘s OPEN SPACE foregrounds both the integration of digital art and music, for which we have become internationally well regarded, and engagement with the larger world. Now part of the OPEN CINEMA CONSORTIUM, FLEFF collaborates with similar initiatives in India, Mexico and Spain. Girish Karnad, a world renowned Indian playwright, will be on the Ithaca College campus during the week of October 26 as part of FLEFF’s international focus.
FLEFF is both different and the same; that is, it is both interdisciplinary and international, as always, but also daring in its leap into the open space of communities connected by virtual expression in a global context. The Division of Interdisciplinary and International Studies invites you to leap with us into a consideration of environmental and human rights, to listen to the rest of the world, and to link ideas with technology and international perspectives. So speak up (or write, I should say), listen, read, and learn. Feel free in your appreciation of the wonders and possibilities of OPEN SPACE.