The Committee on Imagination & Place originated in 1999 as a collaboration among the Lawrence Arts Center, Cottonwood literary review (at the time published by the Arts Center in collaboration with the University of Kansas Department of English), and the Kansas Land Trust. Its founding was inspired by a proposal put forth by New York poet Robert Kelly in his essay, “Hypnogeography,” from his 1988 book, Doctor of Silence. Kelly suggested that if dreams of place were collected, compared, and overlaid, a truer geography would appear.
Kelly’s proposal was taken seriously by I&P founders. They called for accounts of dreams about place and, approximately a year later, compiled the results into a volume they called the Dream Archive. They sent copies of the archive to a group of invited scholars nationwide, including Kelly himself, who would soon participate in the first Kansas Conference on Imagination & Place: Hypnogeography, October 19 – 21, 2001, at the Lawrence Arts Center. Among the memorable workshops associated with the conference was one that called for participants to create cognitive maps of downtown Lawrence, Kansas. Proceeds of the conference were published in 2002. Click for Text 1 and Text 2 to download Cottonwood 59/60 (PDF).
Looking to the future, the Committee expanded its membership with the purpose of planning a second interdisciplinary conference, the Kansas Conference on Imagination & Place: The Power of Place, presented October 17 – 19, 2003.
The individuals on the Committee–artists, writers, scholars, environmentalists, community activists, and professionals–were named officially to an Exhibition Program Advisory Committee of the Lawrence Arts Center. They expanded Imagination & Place activities by establishing a regular public lecture series, producing events, publishing books and materials, conducting salons, and sponsoring related presentations.
Independent Incorporation and the Founding of the Imagination & Place Press
In 2008, the Committee on Imagination & Place incorporated independently as Imagination & Place, Inc., a non-profit educational organization. At the same time the Committee founded the Imagination & Place Press, dedicated to publishing in Kansas creative writing related to concepts of place.
The Committee meets for discussions related to Place and oversees the Imagination & Place Press. With educational and social objectives, I&P aims to foster intellectual inquiry that results in meaningful investigations of ideas of place. To support these objectives, I&P provides materials and undertakes projects that educate, stimulate, challenge, and motivate individuals and organizations for the purpose of increasing understanding and knowledge in the world.
On November, 1, 2015, the Committee on Imagination & Place was awarded a City of Lawrence, Kansas, Lawrence Cultural Arts Commission Phoenix Award for Creative Spaces.
Committee on Imagination & Place Members, 1999 through Present
Porter Arneill, Lawrence, Kansas, M.F.A., arts and culture director
Colette Bangert, Lawrence, Kansas, M.F.A., artist
Kelly Barth, Lawrence, Kansas, M.F.A., writer
Carol Ann Carter, Indianapolis, Indiana, M.F.A., artist/professor
Steve Clark, Lawrence, Kansas, B. ARCH, architect
Lisa Grossman, Lawrence, Kansas, B.F.A., artist
Saralyn Reece Hardy, Lawrence, Kansas, M.A., museum director
Maril Hazlett, McLouth, Kansas, Ph.D., writer
Paul Hotvedt, Silver City, New Mexico, M.F.A., artist
Ernest E. Jenkins, Lancaster, South Carolina. Ph.D, professor
J. Theodore Johnson, Lawrence, Kansas, Ph.D, professor
Becky Lyn Kasenberg, Lawrence, Kansas, M.B.A., teacher
Denise Low, Healdsburg, California, Ph.D., writer/professor
Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Lawrence, Kansas, Ph.D, writer
Rick Mitchell, Lawrence, Kansas, M.F.A., artist/photographer
Bobbi Rahder, Carson City, Nevada, M.A., museum director
Richard J. Schoeck, Lawrence, Kansas, Ph.D., professor
Elizabeth Avery Schultz, Lawrence, Kansas, Ph.D., writer/professor
Diane Worthington Simpson, Lawrence, Kansas, J.D., attorney
Joan Stone, Lawrence, Kansas, M.Mus., dancer/choreographer
Laurie Turrell Ward, Lawrence, Kansas, B.S., editor/director
Beverley J. Worster, Corvallis, Oregon, M.A., educator
The Committee on Imagination & Place lost its dear friend and long-time associate Richard Schoeck on January 29, 2008. He was a remarkable man, a consummate scholar, who led a good life of learning, teaching, reading, writing, communicating—all done with discernment, passion and rigor.
He was born in New York in 1920. In 1949, he graduated with a Masters and Doctorate in literature from Princeton University. After service as a paratrooper in the U.S. Army Signal Corp during World War II he started his teaching career at Cornell University. He subsequently taught at Notre Dame University, St. Michael’s College, the University of Toronto, and served as chairman of the English Department at the University of Colorado and the University of Trier in Germany. In addition, he was Director of Research at the Folger Shakespeare Library and editor of the Shakespeare Quarterly in Washington, D.C. He also served as a lecturer or scholar at Yale, Princeton, the University of Dallas, College of St. Thomas and Corpus Christi College at Oxford University. He was the recipient of four Fulbright scholarships, a Guggenheim scholarship and a Ford scholarship as well as several Canada Council Fellowships. His many publications include “Erasmus of Europe,” hundreds of scholarly articles and a number of volumes of literary criticism including a two-volume work with Marshall McLuhan.
Richard Schoeck began his association with the Committee on Imagination & Place in 2000. He was a presenter at the Committee’s first national conference, “Hypnogeography,” in October of 2001. He was the keynote speaker two years later at the second conference, “The Power of Place.” Since that time he has been an important contributor to Imagination & Place monthly meetings and public events. His knowledge, experience, wisdom, high standards of scholarship, enthusiasm for good conversation and warm friendship have inspired us and endeared him to us. He is irreplaceable and will be missed.
-Rick Mitchell, for the Committee on Imagination & Place of the Lawrence Arts Center