Program brief - University Honors Program

Future River
Program definition and notes
Program brief
In 50 years, the Mississippi River in the Twin Cities will likely be a significantly different place than it is
now. Currently an (apparently) stable water body is the location for recreational trails and high-end,
amenity-oriented housing, with only a few relic holdovers from the period when the river was the heart
of an industrial city. Parts of the river occasionally flood, and are an inconvenience to recreational users
for a week or two, but the river is by most accounts “the front door to the cities” and a destination
Conditions will undoubtedly change in the foreseeable future. Climate changes promise to alter the
region’s hydrology in ways we can’t fully anticipate. Invasive Asian carp may (or may not) have infested
the waters, making them virtually unusable by recreational boaters. Long term design/planning visions
such as Great River Passage (St. Paul) and RiverFirst (Minneapolis) will have been in place for a considerable length of time, and may
have spurred multifunctional landscape development combining water management and carbon
sequestration, for example, or urban agriculture in the floodplain. If the visions of some artists have
come closer to fruition, then the water/land connections will be inscribed in the corridor through art, as
will the concept that the whole region is “Dakota homeland,” the point of origin for Dakota people.
Competition Statement
Students at the University of Minnesota (limited to Honors students and students who have consulted
with the River Life Program ([email protected]) are invited to imagine the futures of the Mississippi River in
the Twin Cities and to create a work that responds to that imagined future. How will people gain access
to the water? What wildlife will inhabit this corridor in the city? How will the region’s long history be
evident? These are just examples of the questions you might ask yourself about this place. To learn
more about the Mississippi River in the Twin Cities, and get links to sources of information about trends
and patterns affecting the river, go to
Share your vision through a proposed research project, work of art, media, or other means of
expression. See “Competition Details” below to learn how to enter.
Opportunities include, but are not limited to:
Visual arts
Media development
Performance such as dance, theatrics, or reading of original work
Research (an entry in this category will be a research proposal with clearly defined goals, steps,
expected outcomes, and a listed, committed, faculty advisor)
October 2013
Call for entries is released and information sessions are held October 10 and 11
November 2013
Process consultation/workshop is held, first week in November; proposals (see
details below) are due November 25.
December 2013
selected projects are greenlighted for development; list is announced
December 9
March 2014
Selected projects are submitted for display/scheduling March 25
April 2014
Selected projects are posted, presented, displayed in gallery space in Northrop.
Competition Details
The competition asks for your proposal for a project; successful projects will be developed by the
proposer in consultation with U of M staff and community partners as appropriate.
Successful proposals will be developed during spring 2014 and then exhibited, performed, displayed
during the April 2014 opening of Northrop Auditorium on the East Bank campus. Additional
curation/display opportunities will be developed as the projects are defined.
Proposals must consist of the following components:
A statement telling us about yourself and your vision for the River’s Future.
A statement describing what you intend to do, make, or display. For a research proposal, the
results of which will be presented in either an oral or poster session as appropriate, the proposal
must include the name and contact information of a professor who has agreed to supervise the
project. For visual arts, work should include no more than three panels and take up no more
than 25 square feet (5’ by 5’ total space). Video should be under 10 minutes in length;
performances and recitals should be under 20 minutes in length.
A statement discussing how your proposed project communicates your vision of the River’s
Projects will be judged by a panel of University and community experts and evaluations based on the
following criteria:
Creativity: How imaginative is the project in its response to conditions that may be affecting the
river’s future?
Clarity: How well does the project convey the power and urgency of the creator’s vision?
Feasibility: Does the project appear to be doable within the expected constraints of time and
the space/time available for display and presentation?
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