Obermann Reaches Out to the World

The Obermann Center welcomes the opportunity to support events that further our mission—promoting research and creative work, facilitating publicly engaged art and scholarship, and building intellectual community. University of Iowa faculty members may request small, discretionary grants to fund opportunities such as visiting speakers and conferences. 

The Obermann Center supported more than 30 events this year, including visiting scholars’ talks, student-led conferences, and performances by faculty. We forged a new relationship with Riverside Theatre, sponsoring a series of “talkbacks” that featured UI scholars and staff speaking to issues raised by plays about policing and race and politics and gender. We also served as eastern Iowa’s host and hub for a continuing National Humanities Alliance mapping project.

A few highlighted events and guests that we shepherded in 2016–17:

  • Michael Rohd’s workshop and lecture on community-centered arts, April 5: In collaboration with the UI Office of the Vice President for Research & Economic Development and Hancher, the Obermann Center brought to campus Michael Rohd, founder of Sojourn Theatre and the Center for Performance and Civic Practice and a faculty member at Arizona State University. Rohd led a workshop in engaged theater practices for a group of 40 faculty, students, staff, and community partners, including organizers from the Englert Theatre and United Action for Youth. He met with the Hancher team regarding a yearlong public engagement program they are organizing, and he gave a Creative Matters lecture.
  • In April, we offered support to former Obermann scholar John Rapson’s (Music, CLAS) dynamic performance, Hot Tamale Louie. The ensemble piece featured Rapson’s jazz compositions, spoken word performance by former Obermann scholar Paul Kalina (Theatre Arts, CLAS), and a group of alumni and community musicians. Read more.
  • Riverside Theatre director Sean Lewis asked the Obermann Center to help create dynamic talkbacks featuring experts in areas related to Riverside’s programming. We brought faculty, students, staff, and community leaders together to converse about topics ranging from police violence to women in politics.
  • Former Obermann Graduate Fellow James Lambert visited campus in September to share his experience of teaching English in Kuwait, including his efforts to adapt Shakespeare for Middle Eastern audiences.

Complete list of co-sponsored events:


About Obermann Center

The University of Iowa’s Obermann Center for Advanced Studies in Iowa City, Iowa.