Past Events

Family Craft Day: Hats
Sunday, February 11; 2 to 3:30 p.m.
To celebrate the exhibit “Heads and Tales,” families can learn the art of hat making. Free and fun for all.

Under the Influence: The Role of Headcoverings in North American Identity Creation - Thursday, February 1, 2018
When a Pakistani immigrant woman, Zunera Ishaq, took the Canadian federal government to court over her right to wear her niqab (face veil) during her citizenship ceremony, it sparked a heated national debate about North American identity and values that fundamentally shifted the Canadian federal election of 2015. This case shared many overtones with Baltej Singh Dhillon’s struggle to wear a turban as part of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police uniform in 1990. Laura Morlock,a PhD candidate in human rights and religious diversity in North America at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, notes that "when minorities bring overtly religious headcoverings into public spaces they challenge cultural norms and majority discourses of the 'other.' They prompt dialogue around reasonable accommodation and multiculturalism. They push the dominant society to examine the truths they unquestioningly accept as universal, leading nations to ask, 'who gets to be ‘us’?” Morlock explored this dialogue during a talk in conjunction with "Heads and Tales," an exhibit produced in partnership with the Elizabeth Sage Historic Costume Collection. The exhibit examines headwear and accessories worn around the world. The event, co-sponsored by the Elizabeth Sage Historic Costume Collection, will be free and open to the public.

Roundtable on Syria - Friday, January 19, 2018
IU professors and researchers presented a roundtable discussion about  political and social issues in Syria and the ramifications for refugees and host communities.The featured participants include Asaad Alsaleh, an Assistant Professor of Arabic Literature, Comparative and Cultural Studies; Iman Alramadan, a lecturer in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Culture; Lydia Lahey, a graduate student in the Department of Geography whose studies focus on the refugee settlement process in the Midwest through the analysis of the humanitarian practices by nongovernmental organizations and community organizations; and Elizabeth Dunn, an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and International Studies who has spent more a decade researching refugee issues, including living in a camp for internally displaced people for 16 months. The event will be free and open to the public.

Stitching Syria; Crafting National Identities Through the Hands of Women - Thursday, January 18, 2018
Maggie Slaughter, curator of "A Different Take on Syria," presented a talk on how the textiles and adornment of Syria offer an intimate perspective into national, confessional, and local identities of a country currently framed by international media strictly in the context of its devastating conflict.


  • Past Events 2017
    Winterfest: Storytelling - December 3, 2017
    Winter is the perfect time to tell some stories or hear some stories. Come make puppets, storybooks, and other crafts that tell a story. Storytelling by Bloomington Storytelling Guild. Winterfest will be free and open to the public.
    La Gran Milonga: A Winter Tango Ball with live music by Tamango - December 1, 2017
    Celebrate the season with dance and music! The event is free and open to all ages and all levels of experience.
    From Infrapolitical Expression to Gentrified Beautification: Graffiti in the Hip Hop Tradition - November 16, 2017
    Graffiti is an unauthorized inscription or drawing on a public surface, and it is meant to be confronted by a viewing public and elicit a reaction or perhaps a response, notes Fernando Orejuela. He also notes that graffiti born from the hip hop subculture of the 1970s can be understood as resistance through adornment. This talk, by Orejuela, aims to address a cultural phenomenon when the act of vandalism is transforms into a highly - stylized art form recognized and adopted all over the globe. A Senior Lecturer and the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology at IU, Orejuela teaches courses on hip hop culture, subcultures, and youth music scenes; critical race theory and music; children's folklore and service learning; and play, gaming, and sports. His is the author of Rap Music and Hip Hop Culture published with Oxford University Press and currently co-editing a volume with fellow ethnomusicologist, Stephanie Shonekan on Black Lives Matter Movement and Music to be published by Indiana University Press. He is also a music consultant for the National Music of African American Music in Nashville, Tennessee and a member of the advisory team for Carnegie Hall's A History of African American Music. The lecture will be free and open to the public.
    Folk Art Residency: Katrina Mitten (Bead work) - November 16, 2017
    A member of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, Katrina Mitten was born and raised in Indiana. Although most of the Miami were removed from their ancestral lands, Katrina's family remained in Huntington County. She learned traditional beadwork by studying family heirlooms and museum artifacts. Her work combines the geometric designs found in Miami ribbon work with the floral patterns of Great Lakes tribes' beadwork, as she incorporates personal experiences and family stories into her art. Taking inspiration from family and community narratives, Katrina's artwork continues a storytelling tradition that predates statehood. Through her work, Katrina demonstrates that Miami history and culture is "not something from the past, it is still going on today in the present." The events will be free and open to the public.
    Community Jam Session - November 12, 2017
    Bring your fiddle, banjo, flute, tabla, or other instrument out of the closet and play with other musicians in this informal setting. Participants will take turns picking songs and perhaps even teaching a few traditional melodies.
    Chinese Calligraphy Club presents the Silk Road - November 3, 2017
    IU's Chinese Calligraphy Club will present activities and crafts for exploring the Silk Road -- an ancient network of trade routes that were for centuries central to cultural interaction originally connecting the East and West. Try your hand at calligraphy, printmaking, or cross - stitching, or attend a Pipa or Chinese Traditional Dance performance.
    First Thursdays - November 2, 2017
    More games from around the world with the Mathers Museum. The event will be free and open to the public.
    Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead Altar Lighting and Reception - November 1, 2017
    Join us to light the Día de los Muertos Community Altar during a closing ceremony and reception to celebrate and honor the memories of deceased loved ones. The event will be free and open to the public.
    Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead Community Altar - October 3 to November 1, 2017
    You're invited to add gifts to a community altar in honor of those who've passed, as it's customary to leave small offerings of items they would have enjoyed. The altar nurtures the memory of their lives, and each year it's built upon the foundation of the previous years offerings.
    Family Craft Day: Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead - October 29, 2017
    Come learn more about Día de los Muertos as we make sugar skulls, paper flowers, and more. The Latin American Music Center is sponsoring a musical performance as part of our free and fun celebration.
    Otherness and Identity : Connectedness in Diversity - October 26, 2017
    In considering notions of 'diversity, difference, and otherness" visual identity is key, says Deb Christiansen, Senior Lecturer in Fashion Design and Director of Undergraduate Studies in IU's School of Art and Design. She notes that we have much in common cross - culturally in both identity development and self - concept formation. Self-conception is influenced by our actions and interactions in the world, and appearance is one important outward manifestation and form of communication. This presentation by Christiansen will tie together thoughts about appearance and identity with visual details from the varied cultures being explored by the Mathers Museum of World Cultures this year. From Osage wedding traditions to the material culture of Syria, and from an urban arts colony in China to everyday objects from Pakistan, the elements that define us also connect us, and they tell us what is important, where we come from, and how we are more alike than different. The lecture was free and open to the public.
    Jennifer Miller Performs Her Signature Sideshow Acts! - October 20, 2017
    Those stigmatized as "other" have a range of options for managing their stigma, and have historically been expected to try to cover and minimize their otherness. However, these demands -- and categorization itself -- can be resisted by choosing to present and perform publicly. Performing artist Jennifer Miller has used circus and sideshow platforms, and her own gender-bending bearded-ness, to challenge norms of self-presentation in society. As a bearded woman, Miller confronts gender confusion on a daily basis. As a skilled circus director and performer, she has used her personal experience of being "othered" to create performances that help audiences see into an experience of gender fluidity that can be liberating and joyous. This was a free public event that was co-sponsored by Themester: Diversity, Difference, Otherness.
    "Dark Water" Artist's Talk and Reception - October 17, 2017
    Jakkai Siributr, an internationally-recognized artist and IU alumnus, discussed his work and his exploration of the lives of migrant workers from Myanmar working in Thailand. The talk was free and open to the public, and was sponsored by IU's School of Education.
    Celebration of New African Collections Thursday - October 12, 2017
    Mathers Museum staff and students explored new collections of African artifacts (the Kane Collection and the El-Shamy Collection) recently acquired by the museum. The event was free and open to the public.
    First Thursdays - October 5, 2017
    The Mathers Museum of World Cultures hosted more yard games during October's First Thursday. The event was free and open to the public.
    Lotus in the Park - September 30, 2017
    Lotus in the Park featured music and hands-on activities from around the world--free and fun for all ages. As always, Mathers Museum staff was on hand for crafts, including Osage ribbon work, a graffiti wall, and Pakistani tile-inspired coloring activities.
    Putting Your Whole Self In: Queer Scholars Discuss Experiences in the Field - September 20, 2017
    Representatives from the fields of Anthropology, Folklore, Gender Studies, and Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance will discuss their personal experiences conducting fieldwork as queer scholars. Speakers addressed some of the challenges queer scholars may face when conducting ethnographic research in the field, whether "the field" is a nearby or far away community, an archaeological site, or an archive. There was a time for discussion afterward, and attendees were encouraged to raise their own questions. All were welcome, including undergraduate and graduate students who may face similar situations and faculty who wish to learn how to better support their queer students and colleagues. The event was free and open to the public and was sponsored by IU's Institute for Advanced Study.
    Tango Before Dark: An Afternoon Milonga with Live Music from Tamango - September 17, 2017
    Introductory Talk by Prof. Jennie Gubner: "Argentine Tango and Folklore as Social Life",  Mini Chacarera /Argentine Folklore Dance Class, Open Milonga for dancing Tango and Folklore with live music by Tamango. Come dancing on a Sunday afternoon! Learn what a milonga is and take a tango lesson--the event was free and open to all ages and all levels of experience.
    Dressing the Bride Demonstration/Discussion - September 16, 2017
    Renee Harris and Leah Big Horse, of the Osage Nation, demonstrated dressing the bride and discussed the meaning behind each of the items in her regalia. The program was sponsored by IU's American Indian Studies Research Institute; Committee on Native American and Indigenous Studies; Department of Apparel Merchandising and Design; and Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology. The program was free and open to the public.
    "A Giving Heritage: Wedding Clothes and the Osage Community" Curator's Talk and Reception - September 15, 2017
    Dan Swan, Curator of Ethnology, Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, and curator of "A Giving Heritage: Wedding Clothes and the Osage Community" discussed his work with the Osage Community in developing the exhibit, as well as the history, importance, and meaning of wedding coats in Osage culture. A reception will follow the talk. The program was sponsored by IU's American Indian Studies Research Institute; Committee on Native American and Indigenous Studies; Department of Apparel Merchandising and Design; and Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology. The event was free and open to the public.
    Painting Politics: A Panel Discussion on Macedonia's "Colorful Revolution" - September 8, 2017
    Several years ago, the government of the small Balkan country, the Republic of Macedonia, embarked on a "beautification" of its capital, Skopje. For the most part, this project consisted of hastily erected monuments to various historical figures and new, quasi-classical facades applied over old buildings. In addition to its divisive nationalist agenda, this project was hugely expensive. Growing evidence suggests that this project was not just an attempt at social re-engineering of Macedonian identity, but also a lucrative money-laundering scheme devised to benefit leading government officials.  In 2016, these monuments and buildings came under attack as various groups of citizens rose together in street protests against the wide-spread perception of the government's corruption and disregard for the rule of law. Using paint as their ammunition, protesters defaced these buildings and monuments in an expression of their revolt. The government and its supporters dismissed them as hooligans that should be prosecuted within the highly partisan judicial system. Those opposing the government policies saw them as art activists and heroes of a grass-roots movement, which has become known as the "Colorful Revolution." This panel (Marina Antic, Justin Otten, and Aneta Georgievska-Shine) explored the movement. The program was sponsored by IU's Russian and East European Institute; School of Global and International Studies; and the Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures. The panel discussion was free and open to the public.
    First Thursdays -  September 7, 2017
    The Mathers Museum of World Cultures celebrated September's First Thursday with fun ways to move and learn through dancing and games. Students from IU's Filipino-American Association demonstrated and taught "tinikling," a traditional Filipino folk dance that involves two people beating, tapping, and sliding bamboo poles on the ground and against each other as dancers step over and in between the poles. After the dance visitors tried their hand (literally) at washer pitching, a popular American outdoor game and cousin to cornhole. The event was free and open to the public.