I am enjoying my time at Cornell and am very keen to continue contributing to the intellectual life of the community. My relationships within and across the departments have been fruitful ones, where I have been exposed to a diverse range of people from many different disciplines and already I feel as though I am part of a team. Working in an interdisciplinary way has suited my sensibility and I am anxious to exploit my own flexibility to help build bridges and projects between departments. In my short time at Cornell, I have also been able to get a good sense of how the departments operate within the context of the larger Cornell community and I am becoming more aware of our strengths and weaknesses. With this in mind, I am keen to make my own contribution to the teaching programs here and to support the efforts towards teamwork and excellence currently underway. Although my discipline is Art History, as a black scholar I am aware of the changes taking place in the area of Africana Studies and I believe that I have both the qualifications, knowledge and social skills to contribute to the building of a strong study and research program.
More recently, I have become increasingly involved with the School of Continuing Education (SCE) and the great work it is doing related to online learning. In the future, I hope to build on the scholarly pursuits outlined above and create new courses that I consider relevant to departmental needs. In particular, I am very keen to establish a course that will mirror my black diaspora interests allowing students to take a more critical approach to the representation of the black image within western art history. Additionally, I am keen to build on the dialogs projects initiated in 2006, engaging more artists in a wider global conversation that can benefit students. Increasingly, I am wanting to get more of my teaching and research material on-line and to use the resources of the web especially with diaspora studies and my future curatorial projects.
My courses are currently seminars that attract upper level and graduate students. I am very comfortable teaching at this level and hope that if invited to stay, I will be able to support the graduate programs in both departments, giving guidance to doctoral students who may be working in my area of research. I am also keen to encourage students currently working with me to move into areas of advanced study such as Caribbean Art and Diaspora Studies and continue to support the acquisition of resources for the library etc such as books, periodicals and visual materials such as digital images, slides, film and video that will support new areas of research.
As a trained art historian, curator, teacher and artist, I believe I am perfectly suited for the role of online facilitator in all of these capacities. I have spent my life and professional career mediating between the artistic spaces of London, Kingston and New York publishing and creating events and exhibitions that speak to diverse audiences. My interest in the Internet currently allows me to connect with communities faster and to provide the cultural insight and knowledge base necessary for better understanding differing cultural identities. Knowledge migration to digital platforms has the potential to marginalize under-resourced and under-privileged students yet again, creating spaces where they are disadvantaged by their disproportionate lack of representation. Diaspora professionals must ensure that the Web does not become a space of exclusion because of neglect. We must create digital learning environments that welcome and nurture the human spirit in all its cultural manifestations. I hope I can continue to be a part of these developments.
Petrine Archer 2009