Ways of Knowing Water — Cohort & Co-Convener Bios
Described as a “Change Agent” and community activist, Jewell Arcoren is an enrolled member of the Sisseton Whapeton Nation. She is currently serving as a program director for Wicoie Nandagikendan and is committed to language revitalization and early childhood education. Jewell has a strong interest in behavioral health as it relates to recovering our spirits and transcending intergenerational historical trauma in the American Indian community as well as in the non-Native communities she is looking more closely at parallel trauma © and manifestations of shame, fear and guilt.
William Arnold is a Distinguished McKnight University Professor and the Joseph T. and Rose S. Ling Professor and Associate Head of the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geo- Engineering at the Unoiversity of Minnesota. His research focuses on the fate of organic chemicals in natural and engineered aquatic systems. He received his S.B. in Chemical Engineering from MIT (1994), M.S. in Chemical Engineering from Yale (1995), and Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University (1999). He then joined the U of MN faculty.
Vicente M. Diaz is Pohnpeian (East Carolinian, Micronesian) and Filipino born and raised in Guam. He is Associate Professor of American Indian Studies at UMN-TC. Diaz specializes in traditional seafaring in Oceania, and in indigenous theory and historiography. He is a leader in the emergence of Native Pacific Cultural and Historical Studies, Global and Comparative Indigenous Studies, and has published widely in the areas of indigenous voyaging, indigenous masculinities, and historiography. Among his major work are Repositioning the MIssionary: Rewriting the Histories of Colonialism, Native Catholicism, and Indigeneity in Guam (University of Hawaii, 2010), the producer of Sacred Vessels: Navigating Culture and Identity in MIcronesia (29 min video; 1997). Diaz heads the Native Canoe program at UMN’s American Indian Studies Department, which uses indigenous water craft and traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) for community engaged research and teaching. His latest project involves combining traditional TEK and Virtual Reality.
Aaron Dysart is a sculptor who is interested in using visual language and spectacle to bring a broader audience to hidden stories and systems. His environmental interventions showcase his love of light shows, fog machines, and data, while his objects showcase his love of material’s ability to carry content. He has received awards from Franconia Sculpture Park, Forecast Public Art, The Knight Foundation, and The Minnesota State Arts Board and his work has been in Art in America, Hyperallergic, Berlin Art Link along with other publications. He has shown nationally and partnered with local and national organizations including the National Park Service, Army Corp of Engineers, Northernlight.mn and the Mississippi Park connection. Aaron is currently a City Artist through Public Art Saint Paul, embedded in the city of St. Paul and adjunct instructor at Anoka Ramsey Community College.
Beth Fisher, Ph.D., is a Research Associate at the University of Minnesota applying her background in geology, soil science, and biogeochemistry to study landscape effects on water quality and carbon sequestration. Beth’s current research explores how different personalities of iron minerals explain mixed results in iron-enhanced filtration systems, which are intended to remove excess phosphorus from stormwater. Beth is an avid user of open source environmental monitoring tools. She believes observations and data are critical for knowing the status of the environment, and this has motivated her to seek ways to make data collection more affordable. Beth has thus become a frequent teacher and contributor for the EnviroDIY community for do-it-yourself environmental science and monitoring. Beth also enjoyed several years as a graphic designer, and she continues to use her visual communication skills in her scientific communication.
Artist and community elder Amoke Kubat facilitates YO MAMA’S Watering (W)hole, a space for serving local water to inform guests about the connections between water, care, community, and wellness in Minnesota, by focusing on water issues facing low-income mothers and women of color.
Amanda Lovelee is a visual artist currently working as the Parks Ambassador for the Met Council based in the Twin Cities. Lovelee acts as translator between government and community with the goal of creating spaces where everyone belongs. Lovelee focuses on integrating civic engagement into public decision making in meaningful ways. She is interested in how public spaces help people connect within contemporary society in ways that build strong communities. She has an MFA in Visual Studies from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and BFA in Photography from University of Hartford.
Richa Nagar is Professor of the College in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota, and currently holds a Russell M. and Elizabeth M. Bennett Chair in Excellence and a Beverly and Richard Fink Professorship in Liberal Arts. Her multi-lingual and multi-genre research and teaching blends scholarship, creative writing, political theatre, and community activism to build alliances with people’s struggles and to engage questions of ethics, responsibility, and justice in and through knowledge making. Richa’s co/authored or co/edited books in Hindi and English include: Sangtin Yatra: Saat Zindgiyon Mein Lipta Nari Vimarsh (2004), Playing with Fire: Feminist Thought and Activism through Seven Lives in India (2006), A World of Difference: Encountering and Contesting Development (2009), Critical Transnational Feminist Praxis (2010), Ek Aur Neemsaar: Sangtin Atmamanthan Aur Andolan (2012), Muddying the Waters: Coauthoring Feminisms Across Scholarship and Activism (2014), and Main aur Mera Man: Sharad Nagar (2016). Her new book, Hungry Translations: Relearning the World Through Radical Vulnerability, is forthcoming with the University of Illinois Press in 2019.
Her work has been translated into Bahasa Indonesia, German, Italian, Mandarin, Marathi, and Turkish.
Daniela Sandler is Assistant Professor of architectural and urban history at the School of Architecture at the University of Minnesota. Her work focuses on social justice and equity in the built environment, including buildings, cities, urban planning, and the everyday use and transformation of spaces. She is particularly interested in participatory planning and grassroots urban activism. She has published on public space and cultural projects in São Paulo; squatting and alternative cultural centers in Berlin; and the memorialization of World War II in Germany. Her book, Counterpreservation: Architectural Decay in Berlin since 1989 (Cornell University Press, 2016), focuses on the intentional appropriation of decay to express the memory of a difficult history and to resist gentrification. She is starting a new research project on St Anthony Falls as a site of layered and hidden histories, including pre-colonial and pre-human periods, considering how these histories are represented or elided in the current configuration of the Falls, including the built waterfront on St Anthony Main Street and the West River Parkway.
Ethan Neerdaels Bdewákhaŋthuŋwaŋ Dakota Ikčé Wičhášta, is a graduate of the University of Minnesota – American Indian Studies/Dakota Language programs. He currently teaches the Dakota language at Augsburg University, and co-directs the Indian Education program at Osseo Area Schools. He also serves as the Executive Director of Dakhóta Iápi Okhódakičhiye, a 501c3 dedicated to reversing the trend of language loss and raising future generations of Dakota speakers.
Bonnie Keeler, PhD, is assistant professor in the Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy (STEP) area. Keeler joined the Humphrey School after serving as the director and lead scientist for the Natural Capital Project, a collaborative partnership among the University of Minnesota, Stanford University, the Nature Conservancy, and World Wildlife Fund.
At the Humphrey School, Keeler’s team partners with state and federal agencies, environmental and community-based organizations, and other stakeholders to co-develop solutions to environmental management and policy challenges. Keeler is also the co-director of the CREATE Initiative, a Grand Challenges research project and graduate fellowship program that aims to resource community-engaged scholarship at the intersection of water and equity.
Keeler’s background is in sustainability science and environmental economics, particularly around the valuation of clean water. Current projects include estimating the return on investment in public environmental funding in Minnesota, evaluating the costs and benefits of urban green infrastructure deployment in cities in the United States and globally, and investigating the cultural, social, and relational values of fresh water. Keeler is particularly interested in projects and collaborations that integrate the humanities and the social sciences in ways that elevate environmental justice and equity considerations in ecosystem services research.
Kate Brauman is the Lead Scientist for the Global Water Initiative at the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment. She also leads IonE’s impact goal on achieving safe water. Kate’s research integrates hydrology and land use with economics and policy to better understand how water use by people affects the environment and our ability to live well in it. Through projects as diverse as payments for watershed services, global variation in “crop per drop”, and worldwide trends in water consumption and availability, Kate works with the Global Water Initiative to find sustainable solutions to pressing water issues. Kate received her doctorate from Stanford University and her undergraduate degree from Columbia University. She is currently a Coordinating Lead Author for the global assessment of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.
Keegan Xavi is a visual artist (collage, watercolor, scrapbooking, photography, film), passionate about history with an insatiable desire for research and learning, a sci-fi/fantasy buff and also at one point, an environmental engineer. Her life is a synergistic blend of creating, learning, archiving, teaching and healing through the arts.
Mankwe Ndosi is a Song Maker, Culture Worker and Wild Plant Woman – working in live sound, performance and embodied social practice to nurture our connection to each other, our ancestors, and our earth. She uses texture, rhythm, utterance and harmony to make music with
artists of all genres, and living beings human, animal and elemental – expressing emotion, story and spirit – personal, social, and terrastrial. She performs nationally and internationally and is a member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Music, a historic African Diasporic collaborative of creative musicians and composers dedicated to nurturing, performing and composing serious original music. Ms. Ndosi’s 20 years of creative community work has included program development, design, facilitation, teaching, hosting festivals and non-profit leadership. She uses creativity as both product and process/method – building relationship from essence, imagination, challenge and compassion.
Shanai Matteson is a writer, public artist, and cultural organizer. She is co-founder and collaborative director of Water Bar & Public Studio, an artist-led benefit corporation that serves water to build relationships and transform culture. Shanai was one of the designers and conveners of the City Art Collaboratory program of Public Art Saint Paul, a fellowship and think tank for public artists and scientists immersed in systems thinking and paradigm work. Shanai loves working with others on collaborative projects that are rooted in ecological and systems thinking, and which grow cultures of reciprocity and care. She’s most interested in emergent work at the margins of established fields and practices, and believes edges and intersections provide fertile ground for artists and others to learn and create, with and in their communities.
Boris Oicherman was born in 1973 in St. Petersburg (Leningrad at the time) and currently lives in Minneapolis. A scientist turned artist turned museum curator, Boris’s prime interest is in extremely location- and context-specific collaborative art practices where decisions on subject matter, means and media are direct products of the context.
After defending his doctoral dissertation in the area of colour science at the University of Leeds, Boris worked as a senior research scientist in Hewlett Packard Laboratories in Israel. In 2009, Boris left the technological research to pursue a career in art. He participated in exhibitions in Israel, US, Spain, Bulgaria, South Korea, Poland, and Croatia. Boris is the recipient of the Asia Pacific Fellowship of the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul, South Korea (2012); the Artport Residency by the Ted Arison Family Foundation (2013-2014); the Artist in Residence of fellowship at the Faculty of Life Sciences in The Hebrew University in Jerusalem (2013-2014); and of a number of the Israeli Lottery production and research art grants.
Currently Boris is a Cindy and Jay Ihlenfeld Curator for Creative Collaborations at the Weisman Art Museum of the University of Minnesota, where he establishes a new program of artistic engagement with the academic research across disciplines. Boris is a recent recipient of the Curatorial Research Fellowship of the Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.
Jessica Hellmann is an ecologist, professor and director of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota. The Institute is an interdisciplinary place of learning and teaching, committed to helping build a future where people and planet prosper together. We advance three things needed to bring that future about: translational research that moves the needle on sustainability, the development of human capital among students, faculty, decision-makers, and other people that bring sustainability about, and journalism that tells sustainability stories to advance public understanding and commitment to sustainability. Jessica also teaches, including a recent course on “living the good life at the end of the world” that explores drivers of environmental change and individual and collective responsibility to sustainability, while also seeking a life of personal meaning. Jessica publishes leading research on climate change impacts and ways of managing human and natural systems in the face of climate change. And she works with the National Park Service, National Climate Assessment, City of Chicago and others to assess climate impacts and design strategies to mitigate those risks. You can read her blog—a mix of science, academic leadership and provocative thinking about sustainability—at http://www.jessicahellmann.org.