Public Program

  • Alfred Caldwell and the Performance of Democracy: Archives and Events
    Illinois Institute of Technology-Graham Resource Center and Master of Landscape Architecture + Urbanism Program

Ron Henderson, honey locusts outside Crown Hall, 2016, Chicago. Courtesy of the artist.

Alfred Caldwell and the Performance of Democracy: Archives and Events excavates previously unavailable archival resources, including those at the Caldwell Farm and Illinois Institute of Technology, to inspire a series of public events between March and October 2018 including: two public lecturesthe first by Thomas Dyja, the second by Kim Sosson Caldwell's living histories; a musical performance by Tomeka Reid in Caldwell's Promontory Point Park in Chicago; a landscape workshop at the Caldwell Farm in Wisconsin; an oral history project; and a research workshop at Illinois Institute of Technology. These scattered-site sequential programs touch on a diverse range of geographies and constituencies to amplify access, interpretations, and scholarship on Caldwell.

Ron Henderson, FASLA, is professor and director of the graduate program in landscape architecture and urbanism at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. He is also founding principal of L+A Landscape Architecture, which has received many international, national, and regional awards, including nominations in 2013 and 2017 for the European Union Urban Prize. He is Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects, a Creative Artist Fellow at the US–Japan Friendship Commission, Senior Fellow of Garden and Landscape Studies at Dumbarton Oaks, and author of The Gardens of Suzhou, published by the University of Pennsylvania Press.

Kim Soss is head of the Graham Resource Center, IIT’s architecture library. She has also worked in film, drawing, and performance.

Richard Polansky is an orchardist, estate manager, and a long-time employee and friend of Alfred Caldwell. He has worked on Caldwell's estate in Bristol, WI, since 1982, carrying out building and maintenance projects to sustain Caldwell's ideas and building practices. Since Caldwell's death in 1998, Polansky has continued working with Caldwell's children and grandchildren to ensure lasting accessibility and preservation of The Farm.

Cellist Tomeka Reid performs and composes for a wide range of instrumentation, from big band to chamber ensemble. A member of the AACM Great Black Music Ensemble, she is integral to several Chicago ensembles, and leads and composes for her own trio. Reid often performs with other acclaimed jazz musicians, including Anthony Braxton, George Lewis, and Roscoe Mitchell. As an educator, Reid leads improvisation workshops internationally, and is former co-director of the University of Chicago's Laboratory School string program; she is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Illinois. The recipient of multiple composition commissions, Reid has also been awarded residencies with the Ragdale Foundation.

Rachel Spek earned her BSAS in architecture from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (2016), and is currently groundskeeper of the Alfred Caldwell estate. She began working there in 2011, and continues to plan projects for preservation and public programming.

Founded in 1940, the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) provides distinctive and relevant education in an environment of scientific, technological, and professional knowledge creation and innovation. The Graham Resource Center, founded in 1993, is located in historic S. R. Crown Hall and provides instruction and research resources for IIT’s College of Architecture.

Landscape Architecture + Urbanism at IIT is where the world comes to learn the skills to build the metropolis of tomorrow. The IIT master's degree in landscape architecture is based on the following imperatives. First, the continuing expansion of metropolitan areas worldwide has created a critical role for landscape in the structuring and transformation of urban environments. Second, the increasing complexity of the modern metropolis demands new forms of transdisciplinary thought and design. And third, the combination of landscape and urbanism over the past decade has proven potent, enabling an expansion of the field in both theory and practice. Thus, we understand that landscape architecture should be a fundamentally forward-looking, urban enterprise that engages and promotes the evolution of metropolitan conditions. We shall prepare technically skilled and intellectually versatile design professionals who share those ambitions.