Colby Students Reflect on the Lunder Institute Talks

The Lunder Institute’s interns and research assistants attended the Lunder Institute Talks, asking questions, making connections to their courses and research, and highlighting the relevance of the series to the present moment. These events featured Daisy Desrosiers with Naeem Mohaiemen on September 24; Tanya Sheehan with Hank Willis Thomas and Eric Gottesman on October 15; and Theaster Gates with Romi Crawford on November 12. Here are the students’ reflections on these events: 

John Shamgochian ’21

Daisy Desrosiers’s interview with Naeem Mohaiemen was very valuable to me. When I was given the opportunity to speak with Dr. Mohaiemen during the Q&A, I asked him for advice regarding my Anthropology honors thesis. His response has transformed my research, dramatically shifting my focus and informing my methodology. Above all else, his enthusiasm was just the encouragement that I needed to get through a challenging week of research. 

Sam Scott ’22

Naeem Mohaiemen spoke with the intentionality and clarity he’s brought so successfully to his project thus far. Working with him has been a privilege; he’s helped me to broaden my horizons and question things society so often takes for granted. He’s a role model as an academic and an artist, and the thoughts and discourse he presented during his conversation with the Lunder Institute have changed the way I’ve thought about the relationship between the arts, politics, and the public.

Alexis Kinney ’22

I really enjoyed listening to Hank Willis Thomas and Eric Gottesman talk about For Freedoms along with their personal experiences in life and the world of art. While talking about their own art, they talked about survival and persistence. Survival is a collaboration, and we all rely on each other to survive. One question that stuck with me after the talk was: is everything in life a performance? 

Marina Takagi ’21

Theaster Gates and Romi Crawford’s discussion was truly inspiring. In particular, Gates spoke of the importance of encouragement and support from professors to student artists of color and queer identities, in order to allow these marginalized students to have a space in the art world. That is so important, especially in today’s political climate. Gates and Crawford’s conversation made me relate to so many of my classes I have taken at Colby, from Art History to Anthropology classes on race and belonging.

Image (clockwise from top left): Naeem Mohaiemen, Romi Crawford, Hank Willis Thomas, Eric Gottesman.