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Micki McGee, Ph.D., MFA: Mapping a Creative Community: Notes from the Yaddo Archive Project

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Abstract

This presentation analyzes the challenges encountered in a digital social network mapping project that explores relationships between artists, writers, and composers supported at Yaddo. The mapping project was initiated as part of the exhibition Yaddo: Making American Culture. The key components of this project are an interactive online platform that

* charts the network of relationships that made Yaddo a formidable force in 20th century American arts and letters,

* map the relationships that were forged during Yaddo visits that later impacted American arts and letters,

* charts art works made before, during, and after Yaddo visits with an eye toward demonstrating effects of a Yaddo residency or residencies on subsequent artistic productivity, and

* an access-protected entry point where scholars and archivists familiar with Yaddo and its artists can contribute new information on the relationships between members of this community.

This presentation will outline the pleasures and pitfalls of the Yaddo Archive Project undertaking, focusing on lessons learned that will be of use to other scholars in the digital humanities, as well as pointing the direction we plan to pursue in the coming year.

Dr. Micki McGee is a sociologist and cultural critic. When McGee observed the number of self-help books nearly doubled relative to all books in the three decades since 1972—she had a hunch that there was a relationship between the increase in self-help reading and the declining economic circumstances and opportunities for working Americans. Self-Help, Inc: Makeover Culture in American Life (Oxford, 2005) shows how the rise of makeover culture has left Americans belabored by the need to work on themselves constantly, anxious to remain employed and employable.

McGee has taught at New York University, The New School for Social Research, the Maryland Institute College of Art, and Rutgers University. The recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, including awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts and residencies at the MacDowell Colony and Blue Mountain Center, she serves as a Visiting Scholar at New York University and has recently joined the sociology faculty at Fordham University.

McGee holds a PhD in sociology from the City University of New York and an MFA in visual arts from the University of California at San Diego. Her articles and essays have been published by The Nation, Afterimage, Art & Text, The Chronicle of Higher Education, High Performance, Social Text, as well as by the Centre Georges Pompidou and The New Museum of Contemporary Art.