Overview: Imagining Geographies & Civic Soul
IMAGINING GEOGRAPHIES [IG] was a Southern Illinois University College of Mass Communication and Media Arts-led, university and region-wide initiative, advancing discussion of public issues related to the quality of life for all living beings in our civic spaces.
The initiative was active from 2012-2016, during which time in collaborated with tens of regional organizations, governmental institutions, and university departments, activists and engaged scholars, grade school and university students as well as residents of Southern Illinois.
Though the university cut off funding for IG activities and staffing in fall 2014, the College continued to support IG to the best of its ability until spring 2016. During this period, IG’s efforts shifted to emphasize media production, via the CIVIC SOUL media project, which produced 26 videos on a variety of topics. Our aims were document public meetings as well as to produce policy-focused materials that enabled residents of Southern Illinois, policymakers and researchers to share their knowledge and views about pressing social issues. Media efforts continued to be collaborations with civic society organizations, ad hoc groups, students and engaged scholars.
The project ended for a variety of reasons. In a uni-lateral action, taken by the College’s new leadership, IG’s rich website was deleted, resulting in a loss of much of the materials produced. Therefore, this IG blogsite is being revised to serve as an archive or materials we are working to retrieve.
Following initial Antarctica programming (2012), Imagining Geographies [IG] launched a multi-year focus on the land, lives, and arts of Southern Illinois. We do so through investigations and discussions of past histories and present issues that engage our imaginations in thinking about and expressing what our present-future lives might be like in this region, and we advance initiatives that seek to transform imagining into action. (SeeAbout Us for overviews of IG activities 2012 – 2015)
Most IG initiatives are organized through four domains: * Advancing Southern Illinois Arts * Experiencing Environs * Sustainability and Environmental Science, Communication, and Policy * Voices of Southern Illinois.
IG’s efforts enable scholars, artists, students, members of agencies and community organizations as well as residents to create and share knowledge, as well as advance transformative action initiatives. They do so through participating in IG events, such as: civic dialogues, lectures/panels, seminars, workshops, field trips, concerts, film screenings, visual installations, as well as contributing to our publication – Sharing Knowledge…
In 2015 we launched two new initiatives:
- Civic Dialogues are policy forums in which we work with community organizations to convene meetings with a variety of stakeholders to discuss issues of concern to civil society groups and residents of Southern Illinois, and actions that are or could be advanced to change or monitor public policies. Four issue groupings are currently being addressed in these multi-year initiatives: (1) civic justice concerns involving, at present, community-police relations and community rights; (2) poverty and homelessness, in partnership with the Sparrow Coalition; (3) quality of life issues for persons with disabilities living independently in Carbondale; (4) environmental justice – case of water: * how to revitalize the Cache River watershed? * fixing deteriorating levees in Southern Illinois, and * consequences of decision to permit solar array on Koppers’brownfield site in Carbondale.
- Civic Soul is a communication – media initiative that supports IG as well as citizen-basedpublic affairs efforts to understand and transform public policies. We do so by gathering and posting informative resources, vodcasts, recordings of Civic Dialogues – on this site, as well as our partners’ websites and social media.
We hope our events, action-initiatives, Sharing Knowledge… publications as well as this website enable audience members and readers to learn about, experience, reflect on, and reconnect with living in Southern Illinois and beyond; as well as enable us to imagine and to become engaged in transforming our lives here, individually and collectively.
NAVIGATING the WEBSITE
For more information about the Imagining Geographies Initiative & Civic Soul, contact: IG Facilitator: Peter Lemish, Ph.D. (Journalism). Email:firstname.lastname@example.org; telephone: (618) 534 – 3989