Forum Showcases Research, Boosts Collaboration

Speaker series seeks to inform community and boost collaboration

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Speaker series seeks to inform community and boost collaboration

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Speaker series at the Architecture Branch of the Tech Library seeks to both inform the community and boost collaborative efforts.


The College of Architecture Research Forum, itself a joint effort between the college and the Tech Library, provides a stage for the varied research going on in the college. While its primary audience is the college's diverse programs and research centers, Tech's community is invited to listen and learn. The forums are held the last Thursday of the month during the academic year, from 11 a.m. to noon.

Leslie Sharp, director of Special Projects in the college, described the forums as the first opportunity for the Tech community, both inside and outside the College of Architecture, to see the rigorous and creative research and scholarship that also has practical applications.

"With the diversity within the College of Architecture, it is important that all of our faculty, students and staff are aware of the many points of collaboration within their own college," said Sharp. "It's [also] important to show that the research going on in the college is applicable to research throughout the Institute and showcases the strategic plan of interdisciplinarity." The College of Architecture is home to six academic programs and six research centers.

In selecting a location, the unique partnership that already exists between the college and the library came to the fore.

"We could have tried to hold it in a classroom, but we wanted to do something different," Sharp said. "Several people suggested a brown-bag format. [Architecture Interim Dean] Doug Allen is really big on people sharing ideas on an informal basis, outside the classroom or outside of committee meetings. We held it in the library to hold discussions and discourse."

She credits the forums as a joint effort between the Tech Library, Cathy Carpenter, head of the Architecture Library, and Allen.

Carpenter was part of the team of librarians who started Tuesday Talks at the Tech Library. The Talks, which started three years ago, are a forum for scientists and researchers to present their work in a way that is understandable to all. She was named head of the Architecture Library last fall, and has worked to expand it from a purely educational and study space into a more community-oriented space.

"This is part of the evolution of the academic library," Carpenter said. "Libraries are reexamining their physical space to better serve the university community of students and faculty. They are becoming a 'third' space, a needed bridge between classroom space and student residence halls.

"The mission of academic libraries is still the same: Connect library users with information, but the method of connecting is evolving and becoming more participatory," she said.

Gil Weinberg, director of the Music Technology Program in the Music Department, was the inaugural speaker. His presentation showcased his research in music technology and its applications, such as Haile, the robotic percussionist, and Beat Bugs, music-oriented toys.

In February, housing finance expert Dan Immergluck discussed the U.S. mortgage crisis and the implications expected on the housing market and communities. 

Russell Gentry led the most recent forum, where he presented lessons learned from the two-year Solar Decathlon project that culminated with a sixth place win in Washington D.C. late last year. Tours of the Solar Decathlon house followed the talk. 

The Research Forums have drawn 40-60 people on average. And for those who wish to see it later, the Tech Library is digitally archiving the presentations for viewing on SMARTech, the digital institutional repository

Although the forums are presented primarily for the College of Architecture, Sharp has hopes they can boost interdisciplinary projects around the campus. Weinberg's work, for example, crosses over into computing quite often.

"It's important to build community and interdisciplinary exploration," she said.

Article courtesy of Robert Nesmith, Whistle editor. College of Architecture Research Forums are open to the public, and no reservation is required. Mark your calendars for the next forum on April 24, "Assistive Technology Development: The Juggling of Stakeholders," by Dr. Stephen Sprigle, Associate Professor in Industrial Design and Applied Physiology; and Director, Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access (CATEA).

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College of Design

Architecture, Digital Media and Entertainment, Energy, Environment, Music and Music Technology, Research
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architecture library, Cathy Carpenter, College of Architecture, georgia tech college of architecture, Leslie Sharp, research forum
  • Created By: Teri Nagel
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Mar 25, 2008 - 8:00pm
  • Last Updated: Oct 7, 2016 - 11:09pm