Art & Science of Sustainability

Stanford Residential Education and the Program in Writing and Rhetoric are proud to host a colloquium on April 6th and 7th that brings artists, writers, and scientists together whose work engages with sustainability. Featured participants include Wes Jackson (President of the Land Institute and author), Scott Sanders (fiction and non-fiction writer and author of over 20 books), Krista Detor (singer and songwriter), and Mark Feldman (Director of Stanford University Sustainability Scholars). The events will include a round table discussion, performances, as well as hands-on workshops in which Stanford students will have the opportunity to work on their own ideas with each of our guests.

Keep reading for more information about the events and participants and sign up for workshops.

Round table discussion:

Friday, April 6th in Cubberley Auditorium from 8-10pm will feature a conversation with Wes Jackson, Scott Sanders, Krista Detor, and Mark Feldman, moderated by Rod Taylor.


Saturday, April 7th there will be morning (10am – noon) and afternoon (2pm – 4pm) workshops led by our distinguished guests.  These workshops are designed to allow Stanford students to get feedback from our guests on the their own ideas and projects on sustainability.  After signing up for a workshop, participants will receive specific instructions on what to bring to their session. Each workshop is limited to only 10 participants. All participants are also invited to a special lunch that will focus on sustainability through our Dining services here at Stanford (details forthcoming).


Our closing event, Saturday, April 7th at 8pm in Roble Theatre is Krista Detor in concert.


Wes Jackson is Founder and President of the Land Institute, author of numerous books on sustainability, and a recognized leader in the international sustainable agriculture movement.  At the Land Institute he has pioneered research in Natural Systems Agriculture — including perennial grains, perennial polycultures, and intercropping — for over 30 years. He was a professor of biology at Kansas Wesleyan and later established the Environmental Studies program at California State University, Sacramento, where he became a tenured full professor. He is the author of several books including Becoming Native to This Place (1994), Altars of Unhewn Stone (1987), and New Roots for Agriculture (1980).  The work of the Land Institute has been featured extensively in the popular media, including The Atlantic Monthly, Audubon, The MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour, and All Things Considered. Life magazine predicted Wes Jackson will be among the 100 “most important Americans of the 20th century.” He is a recipient of the Pew Conservation Scholars award and a MacArthur (“genius”) Fellowship.

Scott Sanders is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Indiana University, where he  taught from 1971 to 2009, and author of over twenty books of fiction and nonfiction, including, most recently, A Private History of Awe and A Conservationist Manifesto. His Earth Works: Selected Essays will appear in spring 2012. Among his honors are the Lannan Literary Award, the John Burroughs Essay Award, the Mark Twain Award, the Cecil Woods Award for Nonfiction, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2010 he was named the National Winner of the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award.  He and his wife, Ruth, a biochemist, have reared two children in their hometown of Bloomington in the hardwood hill country of Indiana’s White River Valley.

Krista Detor is an internationally acclaimed singer / songwriter, based out of Bloomington, Indiana, whose songs invite audiences to consider issues of gender, race, and nature.  Her album Mudshow was released in 2006 to international critical acclaim, and reaching the #1 spot on the Euro-Americana Chart. Signed in Europe with Corazong Records, Detor’s follow-up album, Cover Their Eyes made similar waves in the European musical world having.  The 2010 release of Chocolate Paper Suites brought rave reviews, with The All Music Guide noting: “It’s rare to say that a CD is so good it deserves to make the artist famous, but that’s the case with this.” She defies genre, but the quality of her writing has been compared to Leonard Cohen, Laura Nyro, Tom Waits and Joni Mitchell, company she is more than happy to keep. Signed to Fleming Artists, U.S., she’s rapidly making a name for herself in the acoustic music world – touring the U.S. and Europe consistently and sharing stages with Suzanne Vega, Aaron Neville, Joan Armatrading, Loudon Wainwright, Colin Linden, Luka Bloom, Slaid Cleaves, Eliza Gilkyson, Carrie Newcomer, Pierce Pettis and John Gorka, among others and travels with her partner and producer, David Weber.

Mark Feldman  is a scholar of American culture and a lecturer in Stanford University’s  Program in Writing and Rhetoric, with interests in urban studies, environmental humanities, ecocriticism, and visual culture. In 2009-10 he was a fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center, where he worked on “Urban Ecology: New York City’s Visionary Urbanism.” “Urban Ecology” explores how artists, landscape architects, and educators are reimagining New York City, greening the streets and changing perceptions of nature. A native New Yorker, this project stems from his long-standing fascination with this city and environmentalism.  In 2010-11 Mark was selected to participate in the Arts Writing Workshop sponsored by the International Art Critics Association and the Creative Capital / Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant.  In 2010 Mark founded the Stanford University Sustainability Scholars, an initiative that aims to foster compelling and creative communication of sustainability-related issues.

Rod Taylor is a scholar of modernism, pedagogy, and music, teaches in the Program Writing and Rhetoric, and is a Stanford Resident Fellow. His modernist research focuses on the representation of students, teachers, administrators, classrooms, and educational institutions in a wide variety of modernist literature. Drawing on the works of Virginia Woolf, D. H. Lawrence, and Thomas Hardy, this project argues that these authors’ misgivings towards emergent forms of education significantly impacted their politics and aesthetic practices. Additionally, he is working on a book that concerns the effects of postmodernism on recording, live performance, and consumer listening in the world of popular music since the 1950s. In addition to his academic work, Rod is an active musician and authors a monthly series in Bass Player Magazine. He is also an avid outdoorsman and frequently teaches at Victor Wooten’s Music/Nature camps in Nashville, TN.



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